The Rare Books of Abecedarium

Cover of the ABECEDARIUM book showing a dozen illustrated letters

Part history, part coloring book, and part guide to historic books, the Smithsonian Libraries’ Abecedarium: An Adult Coloring Book for Bibliophiles is a contemplative and inspiring way to experience art, science, and culture from the Renaissance through early modern times. You can find Abecedarium online, in bookstores, and in select Smithsonian gift shops. Where possible, the rare books featured in Abecedarium were digitized cover-to-cover and are collected here for you to explore!

The Smithsonian Libraries is extremely grateful to all those who have supported this project, and especially to Mark Andrews for his deep and continued generosity.

Cover of Alchabitius cum comento

Alchabitius cum comento

ʻAbd al-ʻAzīz Ibn ʻUthmān; Alten, Bartholomäus; Johannes de Saxonia; Joannes, Hispalensis
p[er] Joa[n]nem [et] Gregorius de gregoriis fratres
1502 die 28 februarii
Cover of Aristotelis Mechanica

Aristotelis Mechanica

Aristotle; Monantheuil, Henri de
Apud Ieremiam Perier
1599
Cover of Bybel der natuure

Bybel der natuure v. 1

Swammerdam, Jan; Boerhaave, Herman
I. Severinus [etc.]
1737-38
Cover of Caroli Noceti e Societate Jesu De iride et aurora boreali carmina

Caroli Noceti e Societate Jesu De iride et aurora boreali carmina

Noceti, Carlo; Bošcović, Rudjer Josip
Excudebant Nicolaus et Marcus Palearini
1747
Cover of Censura celebriorum authorum

Censura celebriorum authorum

Blount, Thomas Pope, Sir
apud S. de Tournes
1694
Cover of Claudii Ptolemaei Alexandrini GeographicA enarrationis libri octo

Claudii Ptolemaei Alexandrini Geographicæ enarrationis libri octo

Ptolemy; Servetus, Michael; Pirckheimer, Willibald
Apud Hugonem à Porta
1541
Cover of Compilatio Leupoldi ducatus Austrie filij de astrorum scientia

Compilatio Leupoldi ducatus Austrie filij de astrorum scientia

Leupoldus, dux Austriae
Erhard Ratdolt
9 Jan. 1489]
Cover of Das Bůch zů distilieren die zůsamen gethonen Ding

Das Bůch zů distilieren die zůsamen gethonen Ding

Brunschwig, Hieronymus
Bartholemeus Grüniger
1532]
Cover of De coloribus libellus

De coloribus libellus

Aristotle; Porzio, Simone
ex officina Laurentii Torrentini
1548
Cover of De dictis factisq

De dictis factisq

Fregoso, Battista, Doge of Genoa
I. Ferrarius impressit
1509]
Cover of Dialogo della descrittione teorica et pratica de gli horologi solari

Dialogo della descrittione teorica et pratica de gli horologi solari

Vimercato, Giovanni Battista
Per Valente Panizza
1565
Cover of Elettricismo atmosferico

Elettricismo atmosferico

Beccaria, Giambatista
All'Insegna dell'Iride
1758
Cover of Emanuelis Swedenborgii Opera philosophica et mineralia

Emanuelis Swedenborgii Opera philosophica et mineralia t. 2

Swedenborg, Emanuel
Sumptibus Friderici Hekelii
1734
Cover of Euclidis Phaenomena post Zamberti and Maurolyci editionem

Euclidis Phaenomena post Zamberti & Maurolyci editionem

Euclid; Auria, Josephus; Maurolico, Francesco
Apud Ioannem Martinellum
1591
Cover of Examples of modern alphabets, plain and ornamental

Examples of modern alphabets, plain and ornamental

Delamotte, F.
Lockwood and Co
1872
Cover of Gothic alphabets

Gothic alphabets

Springer, Jaro; International Chalcographical Society.
International Chalcographical Society
1897
Cover of Guido Bonatus de Forlinio decem continens tractatus astronomie

Guido Bonatus de Forlinio decem continens tractatus astronomie

Bonatti, Guido; Angelus, Johannes
Erhard Ratdolt
septimo kal' Aprilis 1491
Cover of Il tesoro di m. Brvnetto Latino Firentino

Il tesoro di m. Brvnetto Latino Firentino

Latini, Brunetto; Giamboni, Bono
M. Sessa
1533]
Cover of Initia doctrinae physicae

Initia doctrinae physicae

Melanchthon, Philipp
Iohannes Rhamba excudebat
1563
Cover of Inuentioni di Gio. Battista Isacchi da Reggio

Inuentioni di Gio. Battista Isacchi da Reggio

Isacchi, Giovanni Battista
Apresso Seth Viotto
1579
Cover of Isidori Iunioris Hispalensis Episcopi Epistola

Isidori Iunioris Hispalensis Episcopi Epistola

Isidore, of Seville, Saint
Per Gintherum Zainer ex Reutlingen progenitum literis impressi ahenis
1472, 19 die mensis Noue[m]bris
Cover of Jo. Archiepiscopi Cantuariensis Perspectiua communis

Jo. Archiepiscopi Cantuariensis Perspectiua communis

Peckham, John; Gaurico, Luca
Per Io. Baptistam Sessam
cal. Iunii, 1504
Cover of L'vniversale fabrica del mondo

L'vniversale fabrica del mondo

Anania, Giovanni Lorenzo d'
Appresso A. Muschio
1596
Cover of La pittvra

La pittvra

Alberti, Leon Battista; Domenichi, Lodovico
Appresso Gabriel Giolito de Ferrari
1547
Cover of La prospettiva di Euclide

La prospettiva di Euclide

Euclid; Heliodorus, of Larissa; Danti, Ignazio
Nella stamperia de'Giunti
1573
Cover of Leonhard Christoph Sturms Vollstalndige Anweisung Wasser-Kulnst, Wasserleitungen, Brunnen und Cisternen wohl anzugeben

Leonhard Christoph Sturms Vollständige Anweisung Wasser-Künst, Wasserleitungen, Brunnen und Cisternen wohl anzugeben

Sturm, Leonhard Christoph; Goldmann, Nikolaus
In Verlegung Jeremiæ Wolffens ..., gedruckt bey Peter Detleffsen
1720
Cover of Les secrets du S. Alexis Piemontois

Les secrets du S. Alexis Piemontois

Ruscelli, Girolamo
De l'Imprimerie de Christophle Plantin
1559
Les AԵvres mathematiques de Simon Stevin de Bruges

Les œuvres mathematiques de Simon Stevin de Bruges

Stevin, Simon; Maurits, prince of Orange, stadholder of the Netherlands; Girard, Albert; Diophantus, of Alexandria
Chez B. & A. Elsevier, imprimeurs
1634
Cover of Leviathan

Leviathan

Hobbes, Thomas
Printed for A. Crooke
1651
Cover of Liber der arte distulandi simplicia et composita

Liber der arte distulandi simplicia et composita

Brunschwig, Hieronymus; Adelphus, Johannes; Ficino, Marsilio; Konrad, of Strassburg
Vo[n] Johan Grüniger
Im iar [1509]
Cover of Liber moralitatum elegantissimus magnarum rerum naturalium Lumen anime dictus

Liber moralitatum elegantissimus magnarum reru[m] naturalium Lumen anime dict[us]

Bérenger, de Landorre, Archbishop of Santiago de Compostela; Farinator, Matthias
Printer of the 1481 'Legenda Aurea'
22 March 1482]
Cover of Liber moralitatum elegantissimus magnaru[m] rerum naturalium Lumen anime dictus

Liber moralitatum elegantissimus magnaru[m] rerum naturalium Lumen anime dictus

Farinator, Matthias; Bérenger, de Landorre, Archbishop of Santiago de Compostela
Günther Zainer
31 Dec. 1477]
Cover of Mel­oires pour servir al l'histoire des plantes

Mémoires pour servir à l'histoire des plantes

Dodart, Denis; Imprimerie royale (France),; Académie royale des sciences (France)
Cover of Moxon's Mechanick exercises, The doctrine of handy-works applied to the art of printing

Moxon's Mechanick exercises; or, The doctrine of handy-works applied to the art of printing v.1 (1896)

Moxon, Joseph; De Vinne, Theodore Low
The Typothetæ of the City of New York
1896
Cover of Nouum Instrumentul, omne

Nouum Instrumentū omne

Erasmus, Desiderius; Oecolampadius, Johann
In ædibus Ioannis Frobenij
mense februario. Anno. M.D. XVI. [1516]
Cover of Nouvelle architecture hydraulique

Nouvelle architecture hydraulique ptie. 2

Prony, R.
Chez Firmin Didot ..., de l'imprimerie de Didot fils aîne
1790-1796
Cover of Orazione recitata nell'Istituto delle scienze di Bologna

Orazione recitata nell'Istituto delle scienze di Bologna

Magnani, Antonio; Bodoni, Giambattista; Accademia delle scienze dell'Istituto di Bologna
Co'tipi Bodoniani
1794
Cover of Petri Bungi Bergomatis Numerorum mysteria

Petri Bungi Bergomatis Numerorum mysteria

Bongo, Pietro
Typis Comini Venturae
1591
Cover of Questiones subtilissme Scoti in metaphysicam Aristotelis

Questiones subtilissme Scoti in metaphysicam Aristotelis

Duns Scotus, John; O'Fihely, Maurice, Archbishop of Tuam
Mandato [et symbol] exp esis ... Octaviani Scoti ... per Bonetum Locatell u
1497 duo decimo kalendas Decembris
Cover of Rote perpetue, per le quali si puo con qual numero di due dadi si voglia

Rote perpetue, per le quali si puo con qual numero di due dadi si voglia

Cataneo, Girolamo
Appresso Francesco Marchetti all'insegna dell'Ancora
[1562]
Cover of Sommario di tutte le scientie

Sommario di tutte le scientie

Delfino, Domenico; Croce, Nicolò
Appresso Gabriel Gioloto de Ferrari
1556
Cover of Summa de arithmetica geometria proportioni et proportionalita

Su[m]ma de arithmetica geometria proportioni [et] proportionalita

Pacioli, Luca
Paganinus de Paganinis
10-20 Nov. 1494]
Cover of The Book of common prayer

The Book of common prayer

Church of England; Baskerville, John
Printed by J. Baskerville ... by whom they are sold, and by B. Dod, Bookseller ... London
1762
Cover of The color printer

The color printer

Earhart, John F.; Earhart & Richardson,
Cover of The Elements of geometrie of the most auncient philosopher Evclide of Megara

The Elements of geometrie of the most auncient philosopher Evclide of Megara

Euclid; Billingsley, Henry, Sir; Dee, John; Candale, François de Foix, comte de
Imprinted by I. Daye
[1570]
Cover of Theatre des instrumens mathematiques and mechaniques

Theatre des instrumens mathematiques & mechaniques

Besson, Jacques, (Mathematician); Béroalde de Verville
Par Barthelmy Vincent
1578