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Bestiary of Scholastica: Introduction

View a letterpress book created by students at The College of St. Scholastica in the Honors Course The Book in the 15th Century.

The Pelican

Pelicans from the Aberdeen Bestiary

The Pelican, circa 1200 A.D.. Image from The Aberdeen Bestiary

The Black Bestiary of Scholastica

Carpet Page of Bestiary

"Here Begins the Book of the Nature of Beasts"

Carpet page of the Black Bestiary of Scholastica.
Illumination by M. Schifsky

Creating the Bestiary of Scholastica

Illuminated Capital Letter STUDENTS IN THE HONORS COURSE THE BOOK IN THE 15TH CENTURY illuminated and printed a bestiary for The College of St. Scholastica's centennial. Each student was given a beast, some mythical, some mundane, & 100 lines of text that narrated the habits of the beast, and the allegorical lessons the medieval world saw in these creatures. The illuminated manuscript pages created by the students were bound as The Black Bestiary of Scholastica. The students bound together the block images they created and the pages they hand-set in lead type as The Bestiary of Scholastica: A Compendium of Beasts, Both Ordinary & Extraordinary, with Moral Instruction for the Christian Man & Woman. You are invited to view their work on this guide.

The text of both The Black Bestiary & The Bestiary were translated from the 12th century Aberdeen Bestiary by Dr. William Hodapp, Fullbright Scholar and Professor of English at The College of St. Scholastica. The calligraphy & illumination of the The Black Bestiary was overseen by Ms Merideth Schifsky, Calligrapher. The typesetting, printing, & binding of the The Bestiary was overseen by Mr. Todd White, Printer, & Librarian at The College.

The Bestiary was set in 16-pt Poliphilus, a 1923 Monotype facsimile of the work of the 15th century Venetian type-cutter Francesco Griffo, used by Aldus Manutius in 1499 to print the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, a masterpiece of incunabula printing.

Decorative S from The Black Bestiary of Scholastica. Illustrated by N. Rickart.

View The Bestiary of Scholastica

The Pelican

Image of Pelican, Printer's Mark

The Pelican, printer's mark of Franz Behem, ca. 1500-1582. Image from Penn State Libraries.