Women Printers from Paris, 16th Century
(Research and writing by Rachel Oliver [contributions identified with "RO"] and Kathleen Comerford)
N.B. General biographical information on the women included here can be found at one or more of the following publications or knowledge bases, which were used in collecting data for these vignettes.
books printed by these women
Bibliotheque nationale de France notices d’autorité
Biblioteca nacional de España Mujeres impresoras
Library of Congress Authorities
Guillard, Charlotte (c. 1485-c.1557). Born in either the Maine province of France or Paris (there is dispute over her birthplace), to the bourgeois Jacques Guillard and Guillaumine Saney, Charlotte had no notable connection to the printmaking and book trade until she married the printer Berthold Rembolt (d. 1518/19) in 1502. After he worked under Ulrich Gering, both husband and wife worked at Rembolt’s shop, the famous Soleil d’Or on Rue St. Jacques, until his death. She then took over, acting as a proofreader and printing under her own name as Carola Guillard, Charlotte Guillart, and Charlotte Guillard. This was unusual, as many women printers of the time published under their husband’s name, as “widow of [husband’s name], or as “Madame [husband’s last name].” According to Marianna Stell, Guillard and her contemporary Yolande Bonhomme (q.v.) “were able to seize a particular social and legal environment that allowed them an opportunity to print works under their own names, successfully produce texts in classical languages, and become the legal and financial matriarchs of their respective households.” The two worked together at times, and collaborated on a case before the University of Paris regarding poor paper quality in Paris. They asking to be allowed to purchase from paper mills, rather than Parisian vendors. The women lost the case, which is likely the reason that Guillard’s prints have not survived very well throughout the ages.
In 1520, Guillard remarried, to a bookseller and printer named Claude Chevallion (1479–1537), and published another 165 works under his name as Madame Chevallion, a name she retained after his death. The 19th-century scholar Charles Henry Timperley stated that “[h]er best impressions were published after she became a widow the second time, namely, the Bible, the Fathers [sic], and the works of St Gregory, in two volumes, which were so accurate as to contain but three faults.”
Her nephew (via her marriage to Chevallon) was the printer Jacques Bogard (fl. 1541-1549), married Émonde Toussain (fl. 1540-1548; widow of the printer Conrad Néobar [d. 1540]) in 1542. Toussain, Bogard, and one of their children died in mid-1548.
Broomhall, Susan. Women and the Book Trade in Sixteenth-Century France. Aldershot: Ashgate.2002.
Stell, Marianna. “Female Printers in Sixteenth-Century Paris,” In Custodia Legis (blog), Library of Congress, August 20, 2018, https://blogs.loc.gov/law/2018/08/female-printers-in-sixteenth-century-paris/ (accessed May 30, 2021).
Timperley, Charles Henry. A Dictionary of Printers and Printing, with the Progress of Literature, Ancient and Modern; Bibliographial Illustration, etc. etc. London: H. Johnson, 1839, here p. 201