Jamie Cumby  

BA (Hons) Wellesley College, MLitt University of St. Andrews                            

Contact Details:
Email: jec22@st-andrews.ac.uk

Thesis Title: The Compagnie des libraires and the Development of the Publishing Industry in Lyon: 1502-1562
Supervisor: Professor Andrew Pettegree and Dr Graeme Kemp




My research interests lie in the history of the book and the book trade, with particular attention to the cultural and economic networks influencing the development of early modern print.   I also have an interest in book design and typography, as well as forms printed for official or individual use (i.e. letters of exchange).

My thesis explores Lyon’s book industry from the beginning of the sixteenth century to the outbreak of the Wars of Religion, via the lens of the city’s most powerful merchant-publishing conglomerate: the Compagnie des libraires.  Though Lyon was France’s “second city” of print, its status as a financial and trading center made it a critical site in the landscape of French printing.  Proximity to the city's four annual fairs and well-established banks made it especially well suited for the production of high-cost, large-format editions for export to a broader European market.  These same conditions proved equally attractive to merchants looking to add book publishing to their portfolios of investments.  A core group of these publishers came together to form the Compagnie, an organization designed to monopolize law book production.

My project explores how the Compagnie organized and invested its funds, how marketing and other business concerns impacted the design of their books, how their production structure impacted printers under contract to them, and how their books sold in the broader European market, taking Spain as a case study. Here, I am most interested in the economics of early modern publishing, and how monopolies developed, adapted, and functioned. I am less focused on humanist or multi-confessional Lyon than I am on commercial Lyon, and the impact of the fairs and of international merchant capital on book production and sale.

Research Projects

The USTC Project - 2014 - present
Material Evidence in Incunabula - 2014 - present


Research Grant, Society for the Study of French History (2017)
Conference Bursary, Society for Renaissance Studies (2016)
Study Fellowship, Society for Renaissance Studies (2015-2016)


‘Neither Scholar nor Printer: Luxembourg de Gabiano and the Financial Structure of Merchant Publishing in Sixteenth-Century Lyon’, in S. Graheli (ed.), Buying and Selling: The Business of Books in Early Modern Europe (Leiden: Brill, 2017).
‘Bread and Fairs: Broadsheet Publishing for the Municipality of Lyon 1497-1570’, in Andrew Pettegree (ed.), Broadsheets: Single-Sheet Publishing in the First Age of Print (Leiden: Brill, 2017), pp. 163-187.


MO1007: The Early Modern Western World, c.1450 - c. 1770