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Johann Gutenberg, Movable Type, and the Printing Press

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Gutenberg press

Gutenberg printing press. Johannes Gutenberg (c. 1395–1468) invented the printing press sometime in the mid-fifteenth century. The moveable printing blocks it employed made it far simpler to operate than the complicated machinery of the Far East, allowing Europe to gain an intellectual foothold in the world. ©  

"Gutenberg printing press. Johannes Gutenberg (c. 1395–1468) invented the printing press sometime in..." New Dictionary of the History of Ideas, edited by Maryanne Cline Horowitz, vol. 2, Charles Scribner's Sons, 2005.

Getting Started

Begin your research by brainstorming keywords - the words and phrases you’ll use to search for books, articles, websites, government documents, and other resources. These may include names of people and places or historical concepts like eras and movements. A librarian can suggest “subject headings” to find the most relevant resources.

Example Keywords & Catalog Subject Headings

Johann Gutenberg
Printing Press
Movable Type

Genealogy, African American and Western History Resources

The Western History & Genealogy department focuses on Colorado and the West. These materials do not check out and are available to view on Floor 5 of the Central Library when the library is open. During the current closure, Western History and Genealogy Staff are still available to assist by phone and email and can provide scans of collection items for your project. Email history@denverlibrary.org and include "National History Day" in your subject line, or call 720-865-1821 Tues-Fri, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. or Sat, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

The Blair Caldwell African American Research Library archives and reference collections focus on African American history and culture in Colorado and the West. Materials from the archives do not check out and are available to view on Floor 2 of the library when the library is open. During the current closure, Blair-Caldwell Library staff are still available to assist by phone and email and can provide scans of collection items for your project. Email askblaircaldwell@denverlibrary.org and include "National History Day" in your subject line, or call 720-865-2401, Tues-Fri, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. or Sat, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

Database/Online Resources

Library databases are online collections of information, organized for research. Databases contain articles, eBooks, images, maps, primary sources and more. If you don’t have a library card, register online for immediate access to these resources.The following recommended databases are available on our Research and Teen Social Studies pages.

Readers' Guide Retrospective: 1890-1982

Provides indexing of over three million articles from more than 550 leading magazines including full coverage of the original print volumes of Readers’ Guide to Periodical Literature. This resource offers researchers access to information about history, culture and seminal developments across nearly a century.

Contact Reference Services for electronic article scans: 720-865-1363.

World History (Gale in Context)

From the ancient world to today’s headlines. A chronicle of the great cultures and societies that have formed the history of the human race. Rare primary sources, reliable reference and multimedia content put this vast topic into context.

Available in library or with library card.

Internet Sources

Before using information you find on the internet for assignments and research, it is important to establish that the information comes from a reliable and appropriate source. The following websites, from government, academic and nonprofit organizations, have been evaluated for authority, accuracy, content and currency.

From the editors at History.com, this resource covers the history of the printing press, important figures (including Gutenberg), the spread of printing throughout Europe, and the global impact of printing.
Discusses seven ways the printing press "helped pull Europe out of the Dark Ages and accelerate human progress."
An online exhibition of the State and University Library of Lower Saxony, presenting its vellum Gutenberg Bible along with many other examples of European letterpress printing.

Contact the Reference Services department for help with your research project