On St. John's Day in 1900, the city of Mainz celebrated the 500th birthday of its great son Johannes Gutenberg, that patrician who was at the same time a craftsman and technician, an entrepreneur and artist, a man with visions, dreams and yet a realist, in short an inventor.
After all sorts of great but ephemeral celebrations and events, the city decided to found a Gutenberg Museum and, at the same time, a Gutenberg Society to promote the museum and advance Gutenberg research. The idea came from a non-Mainzer, Karl Dziatzko, the Göttingen professor, library director and recognized early-pressure researchers.
On June 23 of the following year, the museum was solemnly opened, and the Gutenberg Society met for the first time.
The first chairman of the board was the then Lord Mayor of Mainz, Dr. Ing. Heinrich Gassner. The protectorate was taken over by the art-loving Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig von Hessen. The primary goal was initially to gain members. Appropriate actions brought the company unexpectedly large influx, by the end of 1901, it already had 613 members.
The history of society is closely linked to the fate of the museum. Both were still associated with the city library in the early years. Since the mid-twenties, there were plans for a spatial separation. The city of Mainz presented two very beautiful old buildings in the immediate vicinity of the cathedral in view, the house "To the Roman Emperor" and the house "To the King of England". In May 1927, the first rooms in the "Roman Emperor" were solemnly given over to the public. In April of the Goethe Year 1932, the museum took over the entire house.
In the war and after the war – destruction of the buildings, partial rescue of the stocks, provisional new beginning, change of location. The 2000-year celebration of the city of Mainz brought the museum the provisional last move. In 1962, the new Gutenberg Museum was inaugurated. The well-equipped library and the Gutenberg Society, the administration of the museum and the restoration department have since been housed in the renovated house "Zum Römischen Kaiser", the exhibition rooms in the affiliated new building, which the Wiesbadener Rainer Schell has created. In 1990, the print shop of the museum was added, first in the corner building on Fischtorstraße 2, opposite the "Roman Emperor", since the Gutenberg Year 2000 in the extension of the museum. Here, the art of printing is made tangible and understandable.
The development of membership figures in the Gutenberg Society shows ups and downs. Until the First World War, it remained at about 600 members, then it looked so bad that in 1923 even the resolution of the Society was considered. Rescue operations initiated thereupon were successful. After the Second World War, however, you had to start over again. Today, there are over 800 members in 31 nations. The decision taken in 1988 to grant students and students a special allowance was blessed. The society is now considerably rejuvenated.
In the spirit of a uniform corporate design, the renowned Swiss typographer Jost Hochuli designed the Gutenberg company's printed matter (stationery, envelopes, invitation cards, business cards, advertising brochure) in an exemplary design in 2005. As this traditional institution of Mainz, which is committed to the preservation of the heritage of Gutenberg, is well placed, Hochuli has found in his work a solution that combines classy nobility with the simple line of modernity and includes a reworked, streamlined signet.