House of Elzevir

This pane depicts the primary mark of the House of Elzevir. Unlike many scholarly printers of the era, the Elzevirs were both printer and publishers. The Elzevir family intended books to be printed for the masses rather than for the cultured class. Until the House of Elzevir, no other publishing house had produced such an extensive and comprehensive list of important volumes. The Elzevir House printed over two thousand works and their influence helped give Holland the lead in the European art of printing in the seventeenth century.


This mark, first introduced by Isaac Elzevir (son of Lowys) in 1620, was featured on all Elzevir works from that time forth. This mark is best known as the Sage or Hermit. The mark shows a solitary figure standing beneath an elm tree, around which is entwined a grape vine. The motto on the scroll, “Non solus” (not alone), combined with the symbolism of the mark, has rendered multiple interpretations over time. As Erasmus said, referring to the classic metaphor of tree and vine: "Like the vine which, though the most distinguished of all trees, yet needs the support of canes or stake or other trees which bear no fruit, the powerful and the learned need the help of lesser men."


The stained glass panel highlighted here once hung in the windows of Kent Library when it was originally installed in 1939. In 1968, the panes were placed into walnut frames and displayed on the mezzanine level of the renovated library until 2007 when they were removed for safety during library remodeling.



Copyright © 2013 Kent Library | Southeast Missouri State University, All Rights Reserved