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colophon (kŏlˈəfŏnˌ) [key] [Gr., = finishing stroke]. Before the use of printing in Western Europe a manuscript often ended with a statement about the author, the scribe, or the illuminator. The first printed book to have a comparable concluding statement was the Mainz Psalter, crediting the printer and giving the date printed (1457) in its last paragraph. After this, a printed book commonly ended with this statement, now called a colophon. The information came to be given on the title page after c.1520. The name colophon is applied also to a printer's mark or a publisher's device on a title page or elsewhere.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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