In 2018, Portland State University Library Special Collections acquired a second edition printing of the Malleus maleficarum ("Hammer of Witches"), a text used by the Inquisition to identify and prosecute people suspected of witchcraft and demonic possession. First published in 1487, the Malleus maleficarum contributed to the "witch craze" that spread throughout Europe during the early modern period. Between 100,000 and 200,000 people, most of them women, were accused of witchcraft in Europe from the early 14th century until 1650, and between 40,000 and 60,000 of the accused were executed.
PSU Special Collections' 1490 edition of the Malleus maleficarum is bound in the same cover with a 1490 printing of Werner Rolewinck's world history, Fasciculus temporum ("Bundles of Time"). Rolewinck's chronicle, first published in 1474, was the first world history in print, and it was popular in its day, reprinted 33 times before 1502.
Special Collections thanks PSU alumnus Gordon Hunter (History, 1959) for the endowment which made acquisition of this artifact possible.
The essays collected here are the results of student research on the codex conducted in seminars led by Professor John Ott of Portland State University's Department of History in 2020 and 2022.
History students Sarah Alderson, Amanda Bonilla, Christian Graham, Nathaniel Harris, and Amanda Swinford, with Professor Ott, gave a presentation on January 13, 2021 highlighting their research topics and discoveries. See their discussion on PSU Media Space.