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Early English Books

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Printed Books: Early English Books

The Folger has one of the largest collections of early English printed books in the world. It houses some 85,000 such volumes, including about 55,000 printed before 1700 and about 30,000 from between 1701 and 1800.
Collectors and librarians generally divide English books from before 1700 into two categories, STC and Wing, after the titles of important catalogs. STC books take their name from the Short-Title Catalogue, a reference work listing all books (including broadsides) printed in England or in the English language between 1475 and 1640. The Folger has the world's third largest collection of these very early volumes, following only the British Library and the Bodleian Library at Oxford University. It holds copies of almost half of the volumes listed in the STC.
Early English books printed between 1641 and 1700 are known as Wing volumes, for Donald Wing's Short-Title Catalogue of works from the period. The Folger has about 25,600 Wing titles, a figure that includes almost 34,000 separate volumes due in part to multiple copies. The Folger's Wing holdings place it among the top four of such collections in the United States.
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Chaucer. Canterbury tales. Westminster, 1477

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