Pittsburgh (i.e. Milan)

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Here’s more on lying books and false imprints from Mitch Fraas at the University of Pennsylvania Libraries’ Unique at Penn blog:

Unique at Penn


Why was the first book printed in Pittsburgh written in Italian? Spoiler: it wasn’t!

Above is the title page of the 1761 Lettere d’un vago italiano ad un suo amico with its place of publication listed as the thriving metropolis of “Pittburgo” a classic case of what bibliographers call a false imprint. I first came across this example nearly a year ago when researching European books which falsely claimed to be printed in North America and this April a copy of the first volume came up for sale from the bookseller Garrett Scott and is now here at Penn (call#: DP34 .C35 1761).

In 1761, Pittsburgh was only a few years old and had a population barely over 250. The first printing press and locally printed book didn’t come to the city until after Independence in 1786.  Given this fact and thanks to the sleuthing of the Italian…

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One Response to “Pittsburgh (i.e. Milan)”

  1. Nina Schneider Says:

    There are a lot of resources on this subject: Brunet’s Imprimeurs imaginaires, Weller’s Die Falschen und Fingierten Druckorte, Parenti’s Dizionario dei luoghi di stamps falsi, etc. Search, “Fictitious imprints” as a subject for more.

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