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Emory Discovers Document With Martin Luther’s Handwriting

Pitts Library at Emory University has more than 1,000 documents attributed to Martin Luther in its collection.
Pitts Library at Emory University has more than 1,000 documents attributed to Martin Luther in its collection.
Credit Ali Guillory / WABE

An example of Martin Luther’s handwriting was unexpectedly found at Pitts Library at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology. The handwriting on the pamphlet is thought to be quite rare.

The library has more than 1,000 documents attributed to the German theologian in its collection. Until now, researchers thought the entire collection contained just one example of Luther’s handwriting.

Richard Adams, the library’s interim director, said the newly discovered work was part of a printed bibliography.

“A few weeks back a renowned scholar in Germany was working through that print bibliography,” he said. “He saw this title page and identified that this inscription was in the hand of Martin Luther.”

Adams said it’s on the title page of a pamphlet from 1520, 20 years earlier than the other known handwriting in the library’s collection.

He said the discovery comes a few weeks before the 500th anniversary of Luther’s 95 theses.

A writing sample, thought to be quite rare, has been found at an Emory University library. “A few weeks back a renowned scholar in Germany was working through that print bibliography,” Richard Adams, Pitts Library interim director said. “He saw this title page and identified that this inscription was in the hand of Martin Luther.”