Charlotte Guillard

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Charlotte Guillard
Charlotte Guillard 1541.jpg
A book printed by Guillard in 1541
Borncirca 1480s
Resting placeParis, France
Known forfirst woman printer of note
Spouse(s)1st husband,
Berthold Rembolt 1502
2nd husband,
Claude Chevallon 1520
Parent(s)Jacques Guillard
Guillemyne Saney

Charlotte Guillard (died 1557) was the first woman printer of importance.[1] Guillard worked at the famous Soleil d'Or printing house from 1502 until her death.[2] Annie Parent described her as a "notability of the Rue Saint-Jacques", the street where the shop was located in Paris, France. She became one of the most important printers of the Latin Quarter area in the city of Paris.[3] As a woman, she was officially active with her own imprint during her two widowhood periods,[4] that is to say in 1519–20, and in 1537–57. While she was not the first woman printer, succeeding both Anna Rugerin of Augsburg (1484) and Anna Fabri of Stockholm (1496), she was the first woman printer with a significantly known career.


Early life[edit]

Guillard was very likely born in the late 1480s in Saint-Calais, France.[5] Her name is sometime spelled Guillart and in Latin books as Carola Guillard.[6] Living in the province of Maine in France, her parents were Jacques Guillard and Guillemyne Savary.[5] The professions of her parents are unknown, but her known relatives are mostly merchants or lawyers.[5] Guillard had at least three and possibly four sisters and one brother.[1]

First mariage[edit]

Guillard showed interest in the printing business as early as 1500. Guillard first married Berthold Rembolt about 1507[5] (and not 1502 as it has wrongly been assumed[7]). Her first husband worked with the earliest French printer Ulrich Gering.[7][5] Their printing business specialised in law and theology.

Rembolt died in 1519. Paris businesses and crafts in the sixteenth century were regulated by the guild system.

Second career[edit]

In 1520 Guillard married Claude Chevallon, a bookseller who also printed theological books. From this time forward, Guillard was known as "la Chevallonne". She was widowed a second time in 1537.[4]

Thereafter, Guillard ran her printing business on her own.[3] Normally women were not allowed to own a business, however they were allowed to take over the business of their husband after their death.[1]

The publishing house was led by Guillard, with the help of her correctors : Jean Hucher (until 1538), Jacques Bogard (1538-1541), Louis Miré (1541-1552) and then Guillaume Guillard.[5] She helped her nephew Pierre Haultin to establish as a printer and a punchcutter.[8]

Guillard's works were recognized for their beauty and accuracy. In fact she built up such a good reputation of accuracy that she was commissioned by Luigi Lippomano, bishop of Verona to publish his works. She was often associated with Guillaume des Boys, her nephew-in-law.[9]

Her business was significant: she owned five or six printing presses with about 25-30 employees and published about 200 editions.[10] She catered to students, professional or religious clientele, often printed anti-Protestant books, and offered books in Latin as well as Greek.[4]

She probably died in 1557.[2]

More than 400 different libraries worldwide have books printed by Guillard.[3]

Selected works[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Charlotte Guillard, A Sixteenth Century Business Woman". Renaissance Quarterly. 36: 345–367. JSTOR 2862159.
  2. ^ a b "SIEFAR - Dictionnaire des Femmes de l'Ancienne France". Retrieved 2010-09-28.
  3. ^ a b c "Charlotte Guillard dans la typographie parisienne". Archived from the original on 2011-07-21. Retrieved 2009-02-22.
  4. ^ a b c Béatrice Craig: Women and Business Since 1500: Invisible Presences in Europe and North America?
  5. ^ a b c d e f Jimenes, Rémi (2017). Charlotte Guillard. Une femme imprimeur à la Renaissance. Tours: PUFR. ISBN 9782869065239.
  6. ^ "Guillard, Charlotte". Library of Congress. Retrieved 2009-11-19.
  7. ^ a b Beech, Beatrice (1983). "Charlotte Guillard: A Sixteenth-Century Business Woman*". Renaissance Quarterly. 36 (3): 345–367. doi:10.2307/2862159. ISSN 0034-4338.
  8. ^ Jimenes, Rémi (March 2017). "Reconsidering Pierre Haultin's Early Career: Roots, Training, Beginnings (1546–1550)". The Library. 18 (1): 62–80. doi:10.1093/library/18.1.62. ISSN 0024-2160.
  9. ^ Library of Congress
  10. ^ Jimenes, Rémi (2017), "Bibliographie de Charlotte Guillard", Charlotte Guillard, Presses universitaires François-Rabelais, pp. 251–283, retrieved 2021-10-22
  11. ^ Parisijs, Apud Carolam Guillard viduam Claudij Cheuallonij, in via Iacobæa sub sole aureo: & Guilielmum Merlin, in ponte Teloneorum sub signo hominis syluestris


  • Beatrice Beech, "Charlotte Guillard: a sixteenth-century business woman," in: Renaissance Quarterly; No. 36, 3 (Autumn 1983:345-367)
  • Rémi Jimenes, "Passeurs d'atelier . La transmission d'une librairie à Paris au XVIe siècle : le cas du Soleil d'Or", Gens du livre et gens de lettres à la Renaissance, Turnhout, Brepols, 2014, p. 309-322.
  • Rémi Jimenes, Charlotte Guillard. Une femme imprimeur de la Renaissance, Tours, PUFR, 2017.
  • Nelson, Naomi L., Lauren Reno, and Lisa Unger Baskin [eds.]. Five Hundred Years of Women's Work: The Lisa Unger Baskin Collection New York and Durham, NC: The Grolier Club and Duke University, 2019, forthcoming via Oak Knoll Books.