The Elsevier Heritage Collection

The Elsevier Heritage Collection consists of over 2,000 volumes with more than 1,000 distinct titles published by the original House of Elzevier from 1580 to 1712.

The collection is divided into our core collection of around 1,500 volumes and a reserve or “duplicate” collection. Approximately 400 non-Elzevier antiquarian titles and over 30 reference titles are also preserved in our museum-quality, acclimatised display shelves in our Elsevier headquarters in Amsterdam.

Elsevier Heritage Collection


Unveiling the past

In this video (in English), Professor Paul Hoftijzer (Leiden University), advisor to the Elsevier Heritage Collection, explores the relationship between Leiden University, Bibliotheca Thysiana and the 17th-century Elzeviers. The story video sheds light on scholarly life in the 17th century and the publishing house that inspired modern-day Elsevier.


Elsevier Heritage Collection highlights

Notable authors include Galileo Galilei, Christiaan Huygens and René Descartes.

Check this page soon for a downloadable booklet with more information on all the collection highlights.

Ptolemy's Geography

Ptolemy Ptolomy'sGeographia, written in the 2nd century and printed in 1618-1619 by Isaac Elzevier, remained fundamental up to far into the 17th century.

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Galileo's Dialogue

GalileoThis 1635 edition of Galileo’s Dialogo Systema Cosmicum was published at the Elzeviers’ expense and printed in Strasbourg while Galileo was under house arrest.

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Meet our experts

Paul Hoftijzer


Professor Paul Hoftijzer

Paul Hoftijzer (1954) is P.A. Tiele professor in the history of the early-modern book at the Department of Book and Digital Media Studies of Leiden University. He has published widely on various aspects of Dutch and international book history and is currently working on a study of the seventeenth-century book trade in Leiden.

Kasper van Ommen

Kasper van Ommen

Kasper van Ommen (1964) studied History of Art at Leiden University. He is co-ordinator of the Scaliger Institute, the Special Collections Research Centre in Leiden University Library. He has published extensively on the history of collections such as the portraits of 16th-century humanists (J.J. Scaliger, J. Lipsius and B. Vulcanius).

Sjors de Heuvel

Sjors De Heuvel

Sjors de Heuvel (1987) started working for Elsevier in 2013, following his graduation with an MA in Book and Digital Media Studies at Leiden University. In addition to his activities as curatorial advisor for the Elsevier Heritage Collection, he is currently developing an Elsevier company history, to be published in early 2016.