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Color Book Day

Color Book Day commemorates the day in 1457 when the Mainz Psalter was printed. Containing the Book of Psalms and being commissioned by the archbishop of Mainz, it is unique in that it is believed to be the first book to be printed using contrasting colors, using black, blue, and red. The blue and red colors are used throughout for large initials and capital letters. The book is also noteworthy for being the first to use different size fonts, and the first to have a full date of publication printed in it. These are all components that we now take for granted in books. The Mainz Psalter was printed on vellum, which is the skin of a mammal, and it is not known if any paper copies were printed. If there were paper copies, none survive. Ten copies from 1457 are known to still exist.

How to Observe Color Book Day

You could celebrate the day by browsing a digitized German copy of the book, or by picking up a later edition of it. You could also read books with colorful pages and different colors of ink. Make sure to remember that it all started with the Mainz Psalter!

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