After completing his university career at Basel, where he made the acquaintance of the famous printer Johann Amerbach (circa 1440 — 1513), Froben established a printing house in that city about 1491, and this soon attained a European reputation for accuracy and taste. In 1500 he married the daughter of the bookseller Wolfgang Lachner, who entered into a partnership with him.
He was friends with Desiderius Erasmus, who not only had his own works printed by him, but superintended Froben's editions of Jerome, Cyprian, Tertullian, Hilary of Poitiers and Ambrose. His printing of Erasmus' Novum Testamentum (1519) was used by Martin Luther for his translation.
Froben employed Hans Holbein the Younger to illuminate his texts. It was part of his plan to print editions of the Greek Fathers. He did not, however, live to carry out this project, but it was very creditably executed by his son Hieronymus Froben and his son-in-law Nikolaus Episcopius. Froben died in October 1527.
Froben's work in Basel made that city in the 16th century the leading center of the German book trade. An extant letter of Erasmus, written in the year of Froben's death, gives an epitome of his life and an estimate of his character; and in it Erasmus mentions that his grief for the death of his friend was far more poignant than that which he had felt for the loss of his own brother, adding that all the apostles of science ought to wear mourning. The epistle concludes with an epitaph in Greek and Latin.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Joannes Froben". [[s:1911 Encyclopædia Britannica|article name needed]]. Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. URL–wikilink conflict (help)