Books & Articles

Government Use of Print. Official Publications in the Holy Roman Empire, 1500–1600
Studien zur europäischen Rechtsgeschichte 326, 2021


Presenting the most comprehensive account of official print in the Holy Roman Empire during the sixteenth century, this study investigates the use of the printing press as an increasingly important instrument in the expansion of authority. By comparing and contrasting publications printed in the Duchy of Württemberg and in the Free Imperial City of Cologne, the author traces the tentative beginnings of collaboration between rulers and printers. Making use of hitherto unexplored legal and business records, the study offers a sophisticated analysis of the early modern print trade which allows us to ascertain the business and market conditions that shaped the production of administrative and legal documents, such as police ordinances and announcements.

Awarded the Academy Prize in Humanities 2022 by the Göttingen Academy of Sciences and Humanities

Read the first 30 pages here:

And a review in Sehepunkte here:

„Darzu mancher Mann sich viel zu schwach unnd zu wenig Befinden wu‍[e]‌rde“. Buchdruckerinnen und ihre Tätigkeiten im Alten Reich, ca. 1550–1700
Zeitschrift für Historische Forschung, 2022


“For which some men would have been considered far too weak and too meagre”. Women Printers and Their Activities in the Holy Roman Empire, ca. 1550-1700

Between 1550 and 1700 no less than 170 women ran a print shop on their own. Almost all of them were widows who had inherited a business and who continued it without ever remarrying. This study traces their activities by investigating women’s roles within print workshops as well as their legal status, their production, and their reputation. The study finds that the complex nature of the print business enabled women to play key roles in the trade already from an early age onwards. They could, for instance, help with the correction of texts, oversee the finances of the shop and make extensive business journeys. Once in charge of the whole shop, women could also build strong relationships to powerful institutions, like local governments, universities or the church, which valued a reliable print shop. In addition, women printers could acquire privileges for certain publications to defend their market shares. As funeral sermons and other publications suggest, the activities of these women were wide-ranging and also much appreciated by contemporaries.

Möglichkeiten und Grenzen konfessioneller Koexistenz. Briefwechsel, Studien- und Druckorte Oberlausitzer Geistlicher in der zweiten Hälfte des 16. Jahrhunderts
Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte, 2022


This essay explores connections of clerics in Upper Lusatia focusing on three factors: their correspondence, which universities they attended, and where they published their works. On the one hand, the network of correspondence reflects the region's character as a center of confessional coexistence. Confessional divisions, on the other hand, are clearly visible with regard to the places the clerics chose for their studies and those they chose for their publications. This posed particular challenges for Catholic authors, who had to find a suitable printer to reproduce their texts in distant territories.

Gedruckte Rechtsordnungen im Köln des 16. Jahrhunderts. Neue Kommunikationsformen für die städtische Obrigkeit
Geschichte in Köln, 2022


Die Geschichtswissenschaft beschäftigt sich seit geraumer Zeit mit der äußerst komplexen Interaktion zwischen Herrschenden und Beherrschten in der Frühen Neuzeit. Dabei wird neben vielen anderen Aspekten auch der Ausbau der Staatlichkeit tiefgreifend untersucht. Dieser manifestierte sich vor allem in der verstärkten Verabschiedung der sogenannten Policeyordnungen, also Rechtsordnungen, die im Namen des Gemeinwohls viele wirtschaftliche, politische und rechtliche Aspekte des frühneuzeitlichen Lebens reglementierten. Für die sich immer weiter intensivierenden Verwaltungstätigkeiten war eine effektive Kommunikation neuer Gesetze eine wichtige Voraussetzung. Nach Gutenbergs Erfindung verwendete man den Buchdruck vermehrt für die Publikation von Verordnungen beziehungsweise Edikten, sodass im Laufe der Zeit Druckoffizine eine wachsende Bedeutung für frühneuzeitliche Regierungen erlangten.

Lässt sich diese allgemeine Tendenz auch für das Kommunikationszentrum, das die Reichsstadt Köln im 16. Jahrhundert war, nachweisen? Und wie gestaltete sich die Verbindung zwischen Rat und Buchdruckern? Um diese Fragen zu beantworten, wird zunächst die Art und Intensität der obrigkeitlichen Nutzung des Buchdrucks untersucht. Wann wurde das neue Medium zur Herstellung von Verordnungen im städtischen Auftrag benutzt und wozu genau? Welche anderen Kommunikationskanäle standen der Obrigkeit zur Verfügung? Und wer waren die Drucker, die für den Rat arbeiteten? Zunächst soll auf die Quellenlage eingegangen werden, vor allem da die Forschung zu Drucken aus dem 16. Jahrhundert in Bezug auf Kölner Verordnungen einige Schwierigkeiten birgt.

‘‘Let it be known’. New perspectives on broadsheets and political communication at the time of Maximilian I
troJa Trossinger Jahrbuch für Renaissancemusik, 2021


As a patron of the arts, Maximilian I was fond of printing – the so-called “black art”. His ambitious projects, such as the Triumphal Arch made entirely out of paper, attracted much attention in the past. The emperor also instructed a printer to create a new, majestic font which would present a stark difference to Roman fonts. Later this font would become the well-known Fraktur, which was from then on used for German text and survived well into the twentieth century. Maximilian’s ambitions regarding print stretched beyond illustrated works as he also supported the production of books. He and his court gave many privileges to printers for certain publications. Often only the privilege itself reminds us that even after centuries of scholarship we still do not know the full extent of Maximilian’s
involvement with the print business.

Despite Maximilian’s frequent use of the press, scholars have paid little attention to the many official documents, especially those published in the later years of his reign. Analysing the production and distribution of these intriguing documents, however, provides us with great insights into political communication around 1500. On the following pages, I will present interesting findings for official print, focussing in particular on broadsheets (broadsides). A close examination of these documents as well as other contemporary sources shows, for instance, how long it took to inform subjects about Maximilian’s orders. It also reveals that Maximilian, his court and his chancellery had sometimes little to do with the print production of these documents. This study will therefore shed more light on those illusive figures in the background that were actually involved in the production of the documents. Similarly, it is a mistake to assume that all documents were printed immediately after they had been issued. In some cases, years or even decades could pass until a document under Maximilian’s name actually appeared in print.

Life and Production of Magdalena Morhart. A Successful Business Woman in Sixteenth-Century Germany
Gutenberg-Jahrbuch, 2019


In early modern Europe many widows continued the print shops of their deceased husbands. Yet, little is known about these women: who were they? How were they able to run a business despite many restrictions on women’s work? And were they successful as business owners? This study addresses these questions by focussing on one woman printer: Magdalena Morhart. When she inherited her husband’s press in Tübingen in 1554, she turned the print shop into a thriving business and ran it for almost two decades on her own. During these years she printed for two high-end clients – the university and the ducal administration – and completed numerous complex orders. This study will reveal unknown details about Magdalena Morhart’s background and examine the obstacles she faced when assuming control of the print shop, especially at the beginning of her career. Then the study will take a closer look at her production, with a particular emphasis on the books she sold to the local government. Thanks to a meticulously-kept government account that details the number of sheets, the payment and delivery dates as well as the money she received in return, it becomes clear just how valuable Magdalena Morhart’s work was for the Duke of Württemberg.