Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Elzevir
ELZEVIR, the name of a celebrated family of Dutch printers belonging to the 17th century. The original name was Elsevier, or Elzevier, and their French editions mostly retain this name; but in their Latin editions, which are the more numerous, the name is spelt Elzeverius, which was gradually corrupted into Elzevir. The family origin- ally came from Louvaine, and there Louis, who ﬁrst made the name Elzevir famous, was born in 1540. He learned the business of a bookbinder, and having been compelled in 1580, on account of his political opinions, to leave his native country, he established himself as bookbinder and bookseller in Leyden. His Eutropius, which appeared in 1592, was long regarded as the earliest Elzevir, but the ﬁrst is now known to be Drusii Ebrtu'carum qzuestionum «c responsiomun libri duo, which was produced in 1583. In all he published about 150 works. His typographical mark was the arms of the United Provinces—an eagle on a cippus holding in its claws a sheaf of seven arrows, with the inscription Concordia res parvce crescuut. He died February 1, 1617. Of his ﬁve sons, Matthieu, Louis, Gilles, Joost, and Bonaventure, who all adopted their father’s profession, Bonaventure, who was born in 1583, is the most celebrated. He commenced business as a printer in 1608, and in 1626 took into partnership Abraham, a son of Matthieu, born at Leyden in 1592. Abraham died 14th August 1652, and Bonaventure about a month afterwards. The fame of the Elzevir'editions rests chieﬂy on the works issued by this ﬁrm. Their Greek and Hebrew impressions are considered inferior to those of the Aldos and the Estiennes, but their small edi- tions in 12mo, 16mo, and 24mo, for elegance of design, neatness, clearness, and regularity of type, and beauty of paper, cannot be surpassed. Especially may be mentioned the .Vovum Teslamenlmn Gra‘cum, 1621, 1633 ; the [’salltrz'um Dtu'iclis, 1635, 1653 , l'irgilii Opera, 1636, Terenlii Comedic, 1635; but the works which gave their press its chief celebrity are their collection of French authors on history and politics in 24mo, known under the name of the Petites [Republillueg and their series of Latin, French, and Italian classics in small 12mo. Jean, son of Abrahnn, born in 1622, had since 1647 been in partner- ship with his father and uncle, and when they died Daniel, son of Bonaventure, born in 1626, joined him. Their partnership did not last more than two years, and after its dissolution Jean carried on the business alone till his death in 1661. In 1651 Daniel joined his Cousin Louis (the third of that name and son of the second Louis), who was born in 1604, and had established a printing press at Amsterdam in 1638. From 1655 to 1666 they published a series of Latin classics in Svo, cum notis variorum; Cicero in Ito; the Efymoloyz'con Lingwe Lalime ,- and a magniﬁcent Corpus Jan's in folio, 2 vols, 1663. Louis died in 1670, and Daniel in 1680. llesides Bonaventure, another son of Matthieu, Isaac, born in 1593, established a printing press at Leydcn, where he carried on business from 1616 to 1625; but none of his editions attained much fame. The last representatives of the Elzevir printers were Peter, grandson of Joost, who from 1667 to 1672 was a bookseller at Utrecht, and printed seven or eight volumes of little consequence; and Abraham, son of the ﬁrst Abrahnn, who from 1661 to 1712 was universityprinter at Leyden.
Many of the Elzevir editions bear no other typographical mark than simply the words .1 pm! Iz'lzez'crius, or [it QI/icina lz'lsererimur, under the rubriyue of the town. Isaac took as typogriphical mark the branch of a tree surrounded by a vine branch bearing clusters of fruit, and below it a man standing, with the motto non sales. The third Louis adopted Minerva with an olive branch, and the motto Xe extra 01643. When the lilseviers did not wish to put their name to their works they generally marked them with a sphere, but of course the mere fact that a work printed in the 17th century bears this mark is no proof that it is theirs. The total number of works of all kinds which bear the name of the lilseviers is 1213, of which 968 are in Latin, 4-1 in Greek, 126 in French, 32 in Flemish, 22 in the Eastern languages, 11 in German, and 10 in Italian.
See ” Notice de la collection d'antcurs latins, francais, et italiens. impriméede format petit en 12. par les l‘llsévier,"in Brunet's .llunucl da Libruire (l’aris, 1:20); Birard’s L'ssui bibliogruplu'quc sur lcs éditz'ons des El:écirs(Paris, 1822) ; De Reume, Rochercheshistorz‘qucs, guu‘alugiqucs, d bibliographiqucs sur [cs Else'vwr (BruSsels, 1847); Paul Dupont, Histoire de i'imprinwrz'e, in two vols. (Paris, 1854); l’ieter, Annalcs de l’imprimcrie Elscm'rz'cnne (2d ed., Ghent, 1858): “'alther, Les Elscvcrz'cnncs de la bibliothique impériule dc St Peters; bourg (St l’ctersl-nrg, 1:64).