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67
The Years of Preparation

in an age when men had only vague ideas of orthography, especially in the matter of proper names. The oldest known form of the name is in the matriculation book of the University of Freiburg, where it is entered under date of May 1, 1503, as Baldesar Hiebmayr. The Christian name is spelled by contemporaries Balthazar Baldazar, Baldasar, Baltassar, and even Walthausar, while of the surname one finds not fewer than twenty spellings, namely, Hubmär, Huebmär, Huebmaier, Huebmer, Hubmejer, Hubemör, Hubmör, Huebmör, Hubmaier, Höebmöer, Hüebmör, Hüebmär, Hübmör, Hubmeyer, Hubmoyer, Huebmayr, Hiebmaier, Hubmer, Hübmer, Hubmair—to say nothing of such forms as Hilcmerus, Isubmarus, etc.

This ought not to surprise us, since it is well-known that there are more than threescore ways of spelling the name Shakespeare. Generally speaking, the principle should no doubt be recognised that a man knows best how to spell and pronounce his own name. But what are we to do if he knows how to spell it in several ways? Such is the case with the man with whom we have to do. In the only existing autograph (so far as known), which is preserved in the archives at Schaffhausen, and bears date of 1524, his signature is Baldasar Hüebmör. In his printed works he later adopted for the first name the spelling Balthasar, and as to that all are now practically agreed. During the last two years of his life he published seventeen tracts that are now in existence, and on the pages of thirteen of these he prints his name Huebmör, or Hübmör, essentially the same spelling.

Examination of the variant spellings shows that they are all attempts, more or less careful, to represent the