Beacon Street Diary blog

Sounds and Sources of the First Lithuanian Book

The Congregational Library & Archives will be providing space for this discussion of how an old text is being given new life in digital form.

Catechismusa Prasty Szadei (The Simple Words of Catechism) by Martynas Mažvydas was the first book printed in Lithuanian. Of the few hundred printed, there are only two known copies still in existence, one in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius and one in Toruń, Poland.

Dr. Ian Christie-Miller has been hard at work on a project called Catechismusa 2 to study the text in depth. The music annotated on 24 pages of the Catechismusa has not only been recorded but the sound tracks have been integrated into high quality pdf images of the entire book. In addition the use of specialist front lighting and back lighting of every page of the Vilnius copy has revealed watermarks in every gathering of the book.

Prior to the project it was believed that there were no watermarks. Research into the paper has revealed the cultural and historical implications of that discovery.

Join us for a presentation that shows how the music can be accessed from the digital version of the text and examines ways in which watermark and paper research can reveal otherwise hidden data. The religious, cultural, musical, and bibliographical significance of the project will be shown.


Monday, June 8th
12:00 - 1:00 pm

To register, contact Ian Christie-Miller:


The project Catechismusa 2 is funded by the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod.

Further information is at Europeana and in a podcast from Earlypaper.