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Lodewijk Elzevir (c. 1540, Leuven — 4 February 1617, Leiden), originally Lodewijk or Louis Elsevier or Elzevier, was a significant Dutch printer. He was the founder of the House of Elzevir, which printed, for example, the work of Galileo, at a time when his work was suppressed for religious reasons.

Biography

Elzevir, son of Hans Helschevier, started his career as a bookbinder at the printing shop of Christoffel Plantijn in Antwerp. In 1563 he married Maijke de Verdeijen Verbois in Antwerp, where his first two sons were born. He moved to Wesel before 1570, to Douai before 1575 and settled in Leiden before 1580.

He produced his first book at Leiden in 1583 and under his descendants the business continued until 1791. The printing house was instrumental in the publication of important work in science. Atypical of other printers of the era, Elzevir books focused on sturdiness rather than elegance and legibility over ornate characters. His books were usually smaller with narrow margins. Christopher van Dyck was one of the type designers. Most of the work was published in Latin.

His son Bonaventure Elzevir and grandson Abraham Elzevir continued and expanded the business.

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