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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(also Elsevier), a family of Dutch printers and publishers, active from 1581 to 1712, who dominated the European book trade in the 17th century. The Elzevirs were centered in Leiden in the first half of the century and in Amsterdam during the latter half. The founder of the firm was Louis Elzevir (1546[?]–1617). The most outstanding representatives were Bonaventura (1583–1652), Isaac (1596–1651), and Louis the Younger (1604–70).

The Elzevirs published more than 2,200 books, as well as approximately 3,000 dissertations for the University of Leiden. In addition to the works of classical authors, they published works by Rabelais, F. Bacon, Galileo, Pascal, Locke, Moliere, Corneille, and Racine. Especially successful were their editions in 12mo and 24mo. These inexpensive and well-designed volumes included the Petites Républiques, a series of 35 titles, including Russia, or Muscovy, and Also Tataria. The Elzevirs used several colophons, including a solitary man under a tree, a globe, and an eagle. Their publications are called Elzevirs.


Aronov, V. El’zeviry. Moscow, 1975.
Willems, A. Les Elzevier. Brussels, 1880.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.