History of the Liber Usualis
  • What was last year of publication for the Liber Usualis (prior to the reprinting of the 1953 edition by St. Bonaventure Press in the 90s)?

    I've seen one dated 1963 with 'sed et beati Ioseph' in the Canon; but then I discovered one dated 1964. So: just how far into the 60s did it make it, and I wonder if there aren't boxes of them in warehouses, waiting to be rediscovered (think: Raiders of the Lost Ark final scene!).

    As a historian and one fascinated by the turmoil of the conciliar liturgical process wreaked upon the great publishing houses, I'm just curious.


    Fr. Ramil Fajardo
  • You probably already know this, but the Liber Usualis was published in the 801 version in 1963 (Introduction and Rubrics in English). Other years for the 801 are 1934, 1938, 1947, 1950, 1952, 1953 (rare), 1956 (2 variants), 1959, 1961, and 1962. From online booksellers, I've concluded there is a 1964 printing of the 780 version (Introduction and Rubrics in Latin). Have you found an 801 version published in 1964?

    I am also intrigued by the impact of accelerating changes to the liturgical books in the 1950s and 60s. Consider, for example, all the work that went into the Desclee product, Mass and Vespers (No. 805). These are scarce, no doubt, because few were printed. The setup costs must have been enormous, and someone must have taken a bath on it financially speaking.
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    Every time I look at the typesetting in that MASS AND VESPERS, I faint. Unthinkable amount of work.

    Fr. Ramil, I would very much love to see that 1964 Liber Usualis. WOW!

    By the way, I found an error (minor page number reference) in the MASS and VESPERS --- PDF page 2217 reference to the Holy Innocents Gradual, page number is wrong, taken from the Liber Usualis by mistake
  • Arthur and Jeff -

    Thank you very much for the information.

    Arthur: I wasn't aware of the various dates for the 801, which you listed although I have seen individual volumes. What makes the 1953 rare?

    Jeff: I'm hoping to get my hands on a 1964 Liber, the 801 Latin edition. It looks to be quite expensive, but might just be worth it: 1964 would truly make it the last known version, the end of the line for a storied liturgical book.

    Amazing story when you think about how the II Vatican Council was already well underway when Desclee changed the date at the bottom of the page, and that the book itself wasn't really available until at least mid-late 1964 or 1965, and the first changes already timed for the First Sunday of Advent 1964! All those Libers printed, boxed and shipped and (by that point in liturgical history) would have almost certainly been written off as a loss and/or discarded!

    I try to place myself in the minds of the publishing houses as the ground underneath them began the first shifts.

    So much of the publishing 'artistry' had been lost by 1963 anyway, as far as the last true altar missals were concerned. By the 1964 releases, most were straight-forward 'functional' printings, without the flourish and style of earlier issues. Sad, really.
  • Father, I describe it as rare since that year is hard to find on the internet in it's original printing. Of course the Bonaventure reprint makes it ubiquitous.

    Also, I agree with your comments about the declining artistry in publishing throughout this period. It is evident in hand missals, too.
  • donr
    Posts: 971
    My pastor just gave me his copy of the Liber Usualis No. 801 - 1956.

    Pretty good shape. I am very blessed to have this as an addition to my book shelf
  • ClergetKubiszClergetKubisz
    Posts: 1,912
    This is kinda off topic, but I have a Liber Brevior. Should I invest in a Liber Usualis instead?
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,160
    Not necessarily. The Liber Brevior covers Sunday Mass. If you are dealing with Vespers or other days of the week, you might want to buy (or download) the Liber Usualis.

    By the way, this is a four-year-old thread, so I'm going to let it sink back down to where it belongs.