Janet Curtiss is a recent graduate of The School of Library and Information Science at Wayne State University where she obtained her MLIS and specialized in Reference Services. This paper was produced for the course: History of Printing and Publishing (LIS 7790) — taught by Dr. Gordon Neavill. Curtiss lives in Port Huron, Michigan with her family.

The historical record of the role of women in book production is limited for a few reasons. Extant copies of manuscripts and printed books do not always give credit to their creators. Countless copies of books created by women are no longer in existence due to fires, wars, and pillaging. Printed books often credited the name of the late husband of a widow who managed a print shop. Some books simply remain unknown or have not been studied. However, there is enough evidence to claim that women took an important role in both scribal and printing endeavors. In the pre-printing era, most scribal activity by women, including rubrication and illumination, was linked to participation in religious communities, namely dual monasteries, convents, or beguine houses. After the invention of printing, women were primarily involved in book production through male family members who were printers, often inheriting a print shop when their father or husband died. While women played an important role as scribes and printers, there is an undercurrent of male control over these activities, especially during the Medieval period. Whether by legal or religious decree or by social norms, it was rare for a woman to be involved in book production completely free of male dominance. The exceptions to this seem to be in the beguine communities and in the colonies of North America, although there were a few individual women elsewhere who persisted in establishing their own identities. Despite the gender restrictions, women produced books, helped to create libraries, and made their own contribution to the world of books.

When book production consisted of scribal creation of manuscripts, women’s roles in this activity centered on religious communities in Europe. Monastic reforms in the eleventh century led to an increase in the religious activity of women. There were several options for joining a religious community. Dual monasteries had houses for both men and women[1]; convents housed women only; and beguine houses were lay communities which sometimes had connections to a particular order, monastery, or convent, or could be completely independent; they were not under the rule of any order. Monastic women[2] were categorized as choir nuns, sister nuns, canonesses, and beguines, depending on the vows they took and their role within the community.

The books produced in a monastic scriptorium or kept in a monastery’s library depended on the order with which a house was affiliated. There were several different monastic orders, some of which include Augustinians, Cistercians, Benedictines, Dominicans, Franciscans, Clarissans, and Premonstratensians. This affiliation changed from time to time, requiring updated or replaced texts. Also, if the order experienced its own reform, or if a new abbess took over and called for spiritual renewal, new resources for the liturgy and for personal study were required. At times of reform, some monastics who disagreed with the changes would leave, taking their books with them. These books, if part of the monastery library, would need to be replaced (Cyrus, 2009, pp. 26-27). Monastic life focused on the Daily Office and Mass, as well as other prayers to aid in living a life of piety and devotion. In the late Middle Ages, this involved the study of written texts of the liturgy, Psalters, and personal prayer books. Many manuscripts were written in this period; over 4000 from women’s convents in late medieval Germany alone (Cyrus, 2009, pp. 28). Many times the female scribes were supervised, or their work proofread, by men.

Admont, a Benedictine monastery in Bavaria, was active from around 1120-1570. It was a dual community, with two libraries, one for men and one for women. They would lend to and borrow from each other, so they were aware of the contents of both libraries. When the last nun at Admont was dying, the monks gathered near the women’s area. When she died, they immediately took ownership of the books and integrated them into their own library. This shows how highly they regarded the women’s library collection (Beach, 2004, p. 84). One can question if these spiritual, godly men had studied the tenth commandment: “Thou shalt not covet” (your neighbor’s library.)

Another monastic community, Schäftlarn, was originally Benedictine but became Premonstratensian under Bishop Otto of Freising’s reform activities in 1140. At this time a scriptorium was set up. In the colophons in the manuscripts from 1164-1200, scribes were identified as canons or canonesses. About 20% of the manuscripts identify a scribe by name, including two women: Sophia and Irmingart. Another female scribe, Adelheid, is identified in the monastic necrology. Premonstratensians, however, did not believe in educating women. Women were not even allowed to read, other than a few biblical passages and a few prayers. Eventually, women were forbidden to enter Premonstratensian communities, although this rule was not adhered to by many houses, including Schäftlarn (Beach, 2004, pp. 104-110). Education was, however, important for men; women were allowed to copy books for the men to use, women were just not allowed to actually read them. This is another example of men having control of women’s intellectual lives and scribal activity that in today’s view seems drastically unfair. While this “no reading for women” rule was established, it is possible that, like the “no women allowed” rule, it was not strictly reinforced at individual monasteries. Also, what was stopping women from reading while they copied text? It seems a rule not well thought out. Obviously if the women were copying books, they had some form to access to them.

The Dominicans also attempted to control the intellectual and commercial activities of female monastics by forbidding them to own pens in the thirteenth century (Broomhall, 2002, p. 49). However, in the fourteenth century, Catherine of Siena names three female scribes in her Dominican lay community: Alessa Saracini, Francesca Gori, and Giovanna Pazza, all members of the Mantellate in Siena (Benedict, 2004, p. 58). Again it would appear that established rules either were not followed or had changed over time.

Despite what the church hierarchy thought, to the surrounding communities, women monastics were generally considered an “intellectual elite” and a resource for educating girls in the area, including their production of books for educational purposes (Cyrus, 2009, p. 23). In this way, they encouraged literacy for young females who lived near the monasteries. Some orders did view education as an important part of monastic women’s lives. Hirsau monasteries, among others, allowed women to access the library collection and to become educated. These monasteries allowed scribes to copy manuscripts for their own use, or to give as gifts, when regular scribal activities were caught up.

Producing books also helped the economic well-being of the monastery. It was less expensive to produce a book than to buy it, and selling books outside the monastery helped provide income. Sometimes, these profits were deemed too good, meaning the church hierarchy did not want women’s monasteries to gain too much independence. At Le Murate, a convent in Florence, in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, the book sales of female monastics caused their male superiors to rage “against the very idea of productive and profitable work for religious women…Instead, nuns were to revert to their long-standing passive role as recipients of charity rather than generators of income” (Lowe, 1997, p. 143). These men believed that female monastics should follow the vow of poverty, and the Premonstratensians later outlawed scribal activity for profit by nuns during the Counter-Reformation. In other words, they wanted to keep the women dependent on men. It seems a shame that Le Murate had to cease sharing their gift with the community at large since the scribes there were said to fashion “the most beautiful letters imaginable” though they “never raised their eyes from their work” (Lowe, 1997, p.136).

Le Murate was a Benedictine house, and the Benedictines were noted for their careful record keeping. Suora Giustina Niccolini wrote a complete chronicle of the convent in 1597 that was based on written records, documents, and oral-based memories of the older nuns. Another noted work from this house was Suora Battista Carducci’s Roman missal of 1509[3] which contained the texts of the Divine Office in a gothic rotunda script, with the text in Latin. According to the colophon, it was completed 12 October 1509. It was one of the main liturgy books of the church and contained prayers for Mass, the choirbook, and readings from the New Testament. Suora Battista presented this book to Pope Leo X[4] on his visit to Le Murate, possibly to show gratitude to the Medici family for their patronage. Le Murate did not originally have a scriptorium. A fire at the convent in 1471 allowed an opportunity to rebuild and include space for one. It was designed to provide the best light, on the upper floor overlooking the courtyard with western-facing door and windows. The scriptorium was used for over 100 years (Lowe, 1997).

One exception to the male control of female book production in medieval Europe was beguine communities. Beguines were lay women who lived together uncloistered, embracing mystical piety, mostly in towns of northern Europe. Made up generally of middle class, urban women, they were informal communities independent from male authority: they were not married, nor were they under control of the church as they had taken no vows. Some had loose connections with individual monasteries, but the church did not like that which it could not control, so attempts to suppress them happened more than once, the first time during the fourteenth century, and again during the French Revolution (1789). However, beguines remained in Europe, numbering more than 1700 women in Belgium alone by 1825. Beguines continued to do scribal and other work in their surrounding communities (Neel, 1989). One such beguine was Mechthild of Magdeburg. In 1270, she came to the Helfta convent in Saxony, Germany, where education was a valued part of women’s lives. With her writing of original texts at Helfta, other women followed her example, as her “confidence to write down her experience built confidence in the others” (Smith, 1997, p. 26) including Mechthild of Hackeborn, and so Helfta became known for the production of original literature. With strongly educated women, it was possible to rise above social and religious constraints to produce a body of literature for the spiritual lives of women.

Another exception to the norm for women as book producers during the medieval period was Christine de Pizan, a well-known writer and publisher born in Venice, Italy around 1365. She moved to Paris with her family at the young age of three and received a classical education, uncommon for girls at that time. She first wrote poetry and then moved on to memoirs, treatises, and narratives. Pizan dictated some of her work to scribes, but did copy some herself. She presented many of her works to noble patrons early in her career, mostly to French royals such as the Duke of Orleans. She oversaw the production of many of her books, including the formatting, design, and artwork (Laidlaw, 1987 & Ockerbloom, 2012). In this role she acted as publisher of her own work. As a widow, she had to support her family, and made good use of her education to create a career for herself.

The most famous medieval female author and scribe was Hildegard of Bingen. The tenth child of a noble family, she was treated as a tithe to the church (Lerman, 1995). Despite her limited experience of the outside world, Hildegard received a full education by Jutta, an anchoress[5]. This seclusion may have been to Hildegard’s benefit, as “women whose lives had been confined to the cloister had absorbed fewer of the outside world’s expectations that women should adopt the attitudes and behavior of inferiors” (Smith, 1997, p. 25). Hildegard later became abbess of her community at St. Rupert’s, and founded a second monastery at Rüdesheim, Eibingen. She wrote major works on science and nature, including the use of medicinal plants. She had visions[6] that allowed her to write works of theology for the enlightenment of her nuns. In this sense, she was similar to Herrad of Landsberg, a twelfth century abbess of Hohenbourg in Alsace, who wrote and illuminated manuscripts used to heighten the education of the women in her house. Hildegard’s major works were Scivias (Know the Ways of the Lord), Liber vitae meritorium (Book of a Meritorious Life), and Liber divinorum operum (Book of Divine Works). Scivias contained illuminations by Dame Josepha Knips, a nun at the Rüdesheim monastery. The original manuscript was lost during World War II; fortunately, copies were made before this happened. Of both Herrad and Hildegard, it is said that “in later years their works served to inspire and to teach beyond the confines of their individual monasteries” (McGuire, 1997, p. 97). Perhaps Herrad and Hildegard’s ignorance of societal expectations of what women should be and do was not in the least a hindrance to their contribution to female-created literature.

Despite the many efforts to control or suppress female scribal activity, reading, and education in medieval Europe, book copying in female monastic communities was the norm during this time period. Even if a monastery did not have a dedicated space for a scriptorium, it could be incorporated into general work areas or libraries. When women copied books, they sometimes had a choice of what to copy, preserving texts that may have been neglected in a male monastery and influencing the intellectual legacy of the convent. These were texts that appealed specifically to women. When they copied books to give as gifts to their monastic sisters, it fostered a sense of community, friendship, and self-reliance (Cyrus, 2009, pp. 46, 62).

Outside religious communities, women also took part in commercial book production through the pecia system at universities. Women worked as scribes, booksellers, and stationers, but only as a wife, widow, or family member of a man involved in the trade. There were also women working as artists in manuscript production. Christine de Pizan was known to speak highly of at least one illuminator who worked on her publications, an artist named Anastaise (Broomhall, 2002, p. 47).

Even after the invention of the printing press by Gutenberg in the fifteenth century, scribal activities of monastic women continued, though it became more of a pastime than a commercial venture. The focus in religious communities became building up monastic libraries rather than producing books to sell outside the monastery. Updating books continued to be an integral part of spreading and enforcing monastic and religious reforms. At least one convent jumped rather quickly on the printing bandwagon. The nuns of San Jacopo di Ripoli in Florence, Italy, provided the “first documented instance of women actually employed in printing” at a religious community, and were said to be “skillful and accurate—although not artful” (Davidson, 2003). It is likely that the nuns were supervised by men from the monastery.

As printing spread through Europe, it opened up opportunities for women to gain literacy skills. Often printers would engage their wives, daughters, and other female relatives in assisting with the printing business. From the male printer’s point of view, it was advantageous to involve his daughter in the print trade: it made the daughter an attractive marriage prospect for single male printers; if such a marriage occurred, this could form an important business network. While the fathers may have had ulterior motives for teaching their daughters a trade, it ultimately benefitted the daughters who often learned to read, or increased their literacy skills, by working in the print shop.

Because of social restraints, women in early modern Europe were usually prevented from opening a printing business. They could, however, be members of printing guilds (during the early years of printing, at least) if they inherited a business from a male relative. Most often women printers were self-identified as a widow who had inherited her husband’s print shop. It gave a sort of justification for their role as the head of a printing business. While it may have “reinforced the idea that the female business role was only possible through her relationship with her husband” (Broomhall, 2002, p. 63), it was also a way for women to work around social restraints and ideas of what was proper and fitting for a woman to do, as printing was not generally seen as women’s work.

It is interesting to note the differences in how women presented their names on imprints. Often a title page would list the printer as “Widow Smith” or “Widow of John Smith” to link her to her late husband’s business. If a woman printed as an heir to an established business, her maiden name linked her to her family’s business. Sometimes a married woman would use her maiden name if her husband was in a different line of work. For example, Nicole Vostre inherited her brother Simon’s business, which had a good reputation. For this reason, she used her maiden name to build on the reputation and not confuse customers or clients by using her husband’s name as he was a shoemaker (Broomhall, 2002, p. 63). In this sense, women printers showed an awareness and wisdom of business concepts, including marketing. Again, they work within the confines of their society in order to support themselves and their families.

Other women succeeded as printers in Europe during the sixteenth century. There were at least 25 women printers and publishers in Paris alone during this time. One example is Charlotte Guillard (b. late 1480’s). She was married to Berthold Rembolt, an associate of Ulrich Gering, owner of Soleil d’Or, a prestigious printing house in Paris. Rembolt died around 1518, leaving his printing business to Guillard. She remarried in 1521, but in the meantime produced imprints in her own name, and still associating herself with Berthold Rembolt’s name. After her marriage to Claude Chevallon, her name disappeared from the imprints, but she remained active in the publishing business. Chevallon died in 1537, and it is then that Guillard’s name again appears on titles published in her shop. From 1537 until her death in 1557, Guillard published 158 titles, an average of eight per year, including an 11-volume set of Corpus Juris Civilis. She collaborated with a few other printers, including her niece’s husband Guillaume Desboys. She concentrated on theological, religious, and legal works, mostly in Latin, because her customers were lawyers, students, and faculty of the nearby Sorbonne. She published no romances or poetry, but included works of the Greek fathers. She managed a book shop and four or five presses, as well as a hotel which housed family members and at least some of her employees (Beech, 1983 & Broomhall, 2002). She was an associate of Yolande Bonhomme[7], another well-known publisher in Paris. Bonhomme also ran four or five presses. Together, Guillard and Bonhomme were the “foremost women printers of the French Renaissance” (Davidson, 2003).

Guillard knew her market, being close to the Sorbonne, and focused her business toward that market. She was aware of political, religious, and ideological issues of her time, producing work that would keep her from any conflict with anti-Protestants or inquisitors. She was successful enough that she owned several properties in Paris and nearby areas, provided dowries for her nieces, and loaned money to relatives on a regular basis. Despite the evidence that women could, and did, successfully manage printing establishments, these examples were seen as the exception. Beatrice Beech (1983) quotes Guillard’s proofreader Jean Huchier: “ ‘Charlotte Guillard, of a noble spirit beyond that of her sex, offered herself as the tailor, no matter what the sacrifice, and took over the business after the deaths of her husbands’ ” (p. 353). Women were centuries away from being seen as even remotely equal to men in competence regarding business matters.

As Europeans migrated westward across the Atlantic Ocean and established colonies, printing soon followed. The first printing in the new world took place in Mexico City under Spanish colonization. Bishop Juan du Zumárraga hired Juan Cromberger, an established printer in Seville, to set up a printing house in order to produce materials to aid in converting the native people to Catholicism, therefore, much of the printing done in the Spanish colonies was religious material. Cromberger sent Giovanni Paoli, later known as Juan Pablos, to Mexico in 1539 to open a print shop in Cromberger’s name. Pablos brought three people with him: his wife Gerónima Gutierres[8]; Gil Barbero, a pressman; and a slave called Pedro. According to the contract between Cromberger and Pablos, Pablos was to produce an astounding 3000 pages per day, and Gutierres was “responsible for managing and serving the shop in every necessary detail” (Thompson, 1970, p. 35). Gutierres would necessarily have been an integral part of the actual printing to reach this quota since there were only four of them working in the shop. Although her name appears on no imprints, she helped to produce several important titles during her lifetime.

Another female printer in Mexico also proved to be indispensible to her husband’s printing business. While many women took over after the death of a husband, some also filled in during a husband’s imprisonment. Such was the case for Maria de Sansoric, wife of Pedro Ocharte, the successor to Juan Pablos. Sansoric kept Ocharte’s business running for six years while he was imprisoned under the Spanish Inquisition (Woodbridge & Thompson, 1976). It is doubtful Ocharte would have had a business to return to had Sansoric not managed it in his absence.

Those involved in the printing business in Mexico City also seemed to form a network in both their work and family life. Ocharte had first been married to Pablos’s daughter, Maria de Figueroa, but she died less than ten years after their marriage. Antonio de Espinosa, one of Pablos’s former employees, embarked on his own business; when he died, the business was bequeathed to his daughter María de Espinosa. She rented some of the equipment to Pedro Balli, another printer. When he died in 1601, the equipment went back to María de Espinosa, but Balli’s widow, Caterina de Valle, continued operating his business on what remained of his own equipment for two years before she sold the entire business to María de Espinosa. By that time, Espinosa was married to another printer, Diego López Dávalos. Despite her marital status, she continued her activities in the printing business as she acquired the equipment used by other printers in Mexico City, including the Ocharte family (Woodbridge & Thompson, 1976). María de Espinosa not only stepped in when her father died, she continued growing the business even after her marriage. This differs from the pattern of many printing widows who only took over until remarriage to another printer or until a son came of age. A similar situation occurred with the most important family of printers in seventeenth century Mexico, the Calderón family. The head of the family, Bernardo, was married to Doña Paula de Benavides, who remained active in the business for many years after her husband’s death. Woodbridge and Thompson (1976) describe her as having “served the Mexican printing industry well for a half century” (p. 29). Not every widow stepped down gracefully and surrendered her position in the printing business.

Yet another example of business acumen is Juana Martínez Batres, widow of Sebastian de Arévalo, a Guatemalan printer. Batres ran the print shop from 1775-1800. She expanded the business by purchasing three additional presses from Europe, on which she printed various materials such as children’s readers, almanacs, and religious books (Woodbridge & Thompson, 1976, p. 85). Adding presses would require adding employees, which increased Batres’s responsibilities as employer. The printing of children’s readers suggests an existence of education (whether organized or at home), or at least some form of reading activity which would lead to increased literacy.

Despite the familial link many women needed in order to enter the printing industry, such was not the case in the Spanish colony of Peru. Printing came to Peru in 1584, and by the seventeenth century a guild had been established for printers. Women could open print shops in Peru on their own, although most did not belong to the printers’ guild (Woodbridge & Thompson, 1976, p. 47). This scenario, combined with the examples of women who continued as competent business owners and printers, suggest a somewhat different viewpoint of women, or by women, in the Spanish colonies. While the subject literature (in English) on this geographic area is limited, there does not appear to be the same level of social constraint in the Spanish American colonies regarding gender roles, at least for printing.

The situation was somewhat different in the geographic region to the north. Women in the British colonies were trained in professions such as printing in order to be of assistance to their husbands, and, if need be, to stand in their place in order to help their family survive in the event of a husband’s absence due to illness or death. Most women printers in the English colonies came into printing through marriage and widowhood. While some only stood in for a male family member, many women successfully managed printing establishments for years.

The earliest printing in the original 13 colonies was brought about by Elizabeth (Harris) Glover. Upon the death of her husband, Jose Glover, she continued his plans to open a press in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, with Stephen Daye as the manager. Thus began the Cambridge Press in 1639. The Whole Book of Psalmes, now known as “The Bay Psalm Book,” was an early imprint of this press and showed the lack of experience or skill of the printer with its uneven spacing and unjustified lines (Hudak, 1978). However, it is proof of the industrious nature of Elizabeth Glover, who did not inherit her husband’s business, but took his plans and set it up herself. It also became a well known and frequently used book, and, with few copies existing today, is considered highly valuable. While she did not actually print anything herself, she acted as owner and publisher of the first press in the English colonies. Surprisingly, she had received permission from the local authorities to open her press. This is unusual considering that women usually had to inherit an existing business. Perhaps the altogether lack of any other printing establishments led to leniency in this case.

Ann (Smith) Franklin is another example of an American colonial woman’s success. Her husband James (brother of Benjamin Franklin) died in 1735. She took over until her son, James Jr., returned in 1748. In the first year after her husband’s death, Ann Franklin petitioned to become Rhode Island’s colony printer. She made extra copies of the colony’s charter, acts, and laws from 1744-1745 to sell in her shop. She was allowed to do this only if she used her own paper. Franklin printed books of sermons, ballads, and verses. She also printed almanacs for a few years, some written by her under the name “Poor Robin.” After 1741 she stopped producing her own almanac and instead sold “Poor Richard’s Almanac,” by her brother-in-law Benjamin Franklin. To assist her in the print shop, Ann Franklin had one slave, and two of her daughters worked as compositors. After the death of her son James Jr. in 1762, she again took on the management of the press, printing in her own name without using the designation of “widow” until her death the following year. While she may have seen herself only as a stand-in at first, she established her own identity as a printer (Ford, 1995).

The colonies, both Spanish and English, seemed to have a more open view on what was acceptable behavior for women. Perhaps the very nature of colonial life allowed this; survival was a priority. For women who became widows at a young age, with possibly several small children and separated from family members who remained in Europe, providing for their families and gaining some measure of self-sufficiency became a foremost concern.

The many examples of women’s contributions to book production demonstrate the importance and significance of their roles, whether as scribe in a monastery or as resourceful colonialist struggling to survive. Their part in preserving the historical and cultural record of written and printed documents deserves recognition. That they accomplished such a task while often forbidden to do so by social, religious, or legal constraints only adds to the value of their work. Throughout the Middle Ages and the colonial period, the work of scribes and printers who happened to be female seems to have had an effect on literacy for themselves and, at times, for others who benefitted from their work. To ignore their role in the history of the book would indeed be regrettable.


Beach, A.I. (2004). Women as scribes: Book production and monastic reform in twelfth-century Bavaria. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Beech, B. (1983, Autumn). Charlotte Guillard: A sixteenth-century business woman. Renaissance Quarterly, 36(3), 345-367. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/2862159

Benedict, K. M. (2004). Empowering collaborations: Writing partnerships between religious women and scribes in the Middle Ages. New York, NY: Routledge.

Broomhall, S. (2002). Women and the book trade in sixteenth-century France. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing.

Cyrus, C.J. (2009). The scribes for women’s convents in late medieval Germany. Buffalo, NY: University of Toronto Press.

Davidson, R. (2003). Unseen hands: Women printers, binders, and book designers [exhibit]. Princeton University Library, Graphic Arts Collection. Retrieved from http://www.libweb2.princeton.edu/rbsc2/ga/unseenhands/index.html

Ford, M.L. (1995). Types and gender: Ann Franklin, colonial printer. In S. Albertine (Ed.) A living of words: American women in print culture. Knoxville, TN: University of Tennessee Press.

Hudak, L.M. (1978). Early American women printers and publishers 1639-1820. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press.

Johnson, J.G. (1988). The book in the Americas: The role of books and printing in the development of culture and society in colonial Latin America. Providence, RI: The John Carter Brown Library.

Laidlaw, J.C. (1987, January). Christine de Pizan: A publisher’s progress. The Modern Language Review, 82(1), 35-75. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/3729913

Lerman, K. (1995). The life and works of Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179). Retrieved from http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/med/hildegarde.asp

Lowe, K. (1997). Women’s work at the Benedictine convent of Le Murate in Florence: Suora Battista Carducci’s Roman missal of 1509. In L. Smith & J.H.M. Taylor (Eds.), Women and the book: Assessing the visual evidence (pp. 133-146). Buffalo, NY: University of Toronto Press.

McGuire, T. (1997). Two twelfth-century women and their books. In L. Smith & J.H.M. Taylor (Eds.), Women and the book: Assessing the visual evidence (pp.97-105). Buffalo, NY: University of Toronto Press.

Neel, C. (1989, Winter). The origins of the beguines. Signs, 14(2), 321-341. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/3174553

Ockerbloom, M.M. (Ed.). (2012). A celebration of women writers: Christine de Pizan, c.1365-c.1430. Retrieved from http://www.digital.library.upenn.edu/women/pisan/Christine.html

Smith, L. (1997). Scriba, femina: Medieval depictions of women writing. In L. Smith & J.H.M. Taylor (Eds.), Women and the book: Assessing the visual evidence (pp. 21-44). Buffalo, NY: University of Toronto Press.

Thompson, L.S. (1970). Essays in Hispanic bibliography. USA: Shoe String Press.

Woodbridge, H.C. & Thompson, L.S. (1976). Printing in colonial Spanish America. Troy, NY: Whitston Publishing.


[1] Dual-sex communities were more common in Germany in the twelfth century than in the rest of Europe.

[2] The literature suggests the terms “monastery” and “monastics” as all-encompassing when describing these religious communities of the medieval time period and the persons who dwelled there.

[3] Suora Battista Carducci’s Roman missal of 1509 is now housed in Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris.

[4] Pope Leo X was Giovanni de’ Medici, son of Lorenzo de’ Medici.

[5] Anchors and anchoresses were severely cloistered, similar to solitary confinement, for their lifetime, usually in a room attached to a church.

[6] These visions are now thought to be hallucinations from severe migraines, based on her own description of symptoms and current medical knowledge.

[7] Yolande Bonhomme was the widow of Thielman Kerver and the daughter of the great printer Pasquier Bonhomme.

[8] Gerónima Gutierres was also known by the surname Nuñez.