Paul Estienne was the son of Henry II, and, like the rest of the Estiennes, he was highly educated. In addition, like his father, he spent some time travelling across Europe building strong relationships with the scholarly community. Three encounters heavily influenced his career: his time at Leiden in 1587 where he may have studied with the renowned scholar Justus Lipsius (1547-1606); at Heidelberg in 1595, where the Flemish printer Jérome Commelin (1550?-1597) took him on as an apprentice at his printing house; and in Lyon, where the Huguenot printer Jean de Tournes (1539-1615), also took a part in his training.
Concordantiæ Græcolatinæ Testamenti Novi, nunc primùm plenæ editæ : & diu multúmque desideratæ, vt optimæ duces ad veram vocum illius interpretationem futuræ. Accessit huic editioni Supplementvm eorvm omnivm quæ hactenvs desiderabantur, tam eorum quæ ad calcem libri reiecta, quàm quæ omissa desiderari poterant. In his quid præstitum sit, præfixa ad lectorem epistola docet (Geneva, 1600), device 31.
Following his father’s death in 1598, Paul returned to the family’s printing house and proceeded to carry on his father’s legacy by publishing his unfinished works. Henri II had always encouraged his son’s poetry and in this work, a new improved edition of his father’s Concordantiae of 1594, Paul included a poem dedicated to his deceased father. In addition he also started a new series of printings, focusing exclusively on texts by Greek authors. Worth owned a number of these, including his 1602 edition of Euripides’ Tragedies; his 1603 edition of Sophocles’ Tragedies and a 1604 edition of orations of the Greek orator Aelius Aristides (d. 181). In keeping with the editorial traditions of his family, Paul added notes, comments, a scholium and indices. However, as Didot notes, financial troubles led him to use poor quality paper and this materially affected the value of the books and their status in the eyes of collectors.
[Photiou Myriobiblon e bibliotheke]: Photii Myriobiblon, sive Bibliotheca librorvm quos Photivs Patriarcha Constantinapolitanus legit & censuit. Græcè edidit David Hoeschelivs Augustanus & notis illustrauit. Latinè verò reddidit & scholiis auxit Andreas Schottvs Antverpianvs. Opus insigne, è quo theologi, medici, philosophi, historici, oratores & philologi vberrimum fructum & jucundissimum capere possunt (Geneva, 1611), Estienne device 34.
Between 1605 and 1611 there was a complete cessation of printing activity. This may not only have been a reflection of financial difficulties: Didot suggests that Paul was imprisoned for having taken part in what is now called ‘L’affaire de l’Escalade’. Following his disgrace he was forced to leave Geneva and had to wait several years before being allowed to return in order to take back his moulds and printing matrices. This part of his life is crucial in order to understand the history of the Estienne press at this time. The family’s reputation in the sixteenth century had been built upon the quality of their publications, their scholar commentaries, excellent translations and, also, on the material quality of their books. Their printing devices had made their name a famous brand all over Europe and were regarded as an indication of printing of the highest standard. Paul’s exile changed that situation radically because during his exile the Estienne name had been used by other printers in Geneva under the rubric ‘Oliva Stephani’ and, worse still, the books they produced were not up to the usual Estienne standard. Paul’s return to Geneva to stop this illegal printing was essential.
It is telling that the first text he produced when he returned in 1611 was the same he had last printed in 1605: Pliny’s Letters. Worth did not own a copy of this book but he did get a copy of Paul’s publication of the edition of the Bibliotheca of Photius I of Constantinople by David Hoeschel (1556-1617), which was published in 1611 also.
[Herodotou Halikarnasseos Historion logoi, epigraphomenoi Mousai. Tou autou exegesis peri tes Homerou biotes]: Herodoti Halicarnassei Historiarvm Libri IX. IX. Mvsarvm nominibus inscripti. Eiusdem Narratio de vita Homeri, cum Vallæ interpret. Latina Historiarum Herodoti, ab Henr. Stephano recognita : & Spicilegio Frid. Sylburgii. Item cum iconibus structurarum Babyloniacarum ab Herodoto descriptarum. Excepta è Ctesiae libris de rebus Persicis & Indicis & ex iisdem Fragmenta auctiora. Cum Indice aucto & locupletato. Alia quæ accesserunt ad hanc editionem, versa cognosces post præfationes pagina. Editio adornata uvera & studio Gothofredi Iungermani (Geneva, 1618), title page device detail.
One of the last texts printed by him was his 1618 edition of his father’s famous edition of the Histories of Herodotus. But if this was an attempt to return to former glories, it came to nothing for, due to financial difficulties, Paul found himself unable to restore his brand’s reputation. He therefore decided to sell his types and bookshop to the Chouet brothers. In doing so, he ensured that only one printer family could use the family’s matrices and in so doing he hoped to stop the spread of counterfeit production. He died a few months after the sale, leaving as his heir his eldest son Antoine Estienne (1592-1674), who converted to Catholicism and returned to Paris. As Schreiber notes, ‘It is with Paul Estienne that the great Geneva branch of the Estienne dynasty ends’.
Armstrong, Elizabeth, Robert Estienne, Royal Printer (Cambridge, 1954).
Bernard, Auguste, Les Estienne et les types grecs de François Ier, complément des annales stéphaniens (Paris, 1856).
Didot, Ambroise Firmin, ‘Les Estienne. Henri I, François I et II, Robert I, II et III, Henri II, Paul et Antoine…’, Nouvelle bibliographie générale, (Paris, 1856; Copenhagen, 1965 reprint), 15-16, pp 554-55.
Greswell, William Henry Parr, A View of the Early Parisian Greek Press; Including the Lives of the Stephani; Notices of Other Contemporary Greek Printers of Paris (Oxford, 1840).
Renouard, Antoine, Annales de l’imprimerie des Estienne (Geneva, 1971 reprint).
Rott, Jean & Peter, Rodolphe, ‘Exposition Jean Calvin, Revue d’histoire et de philosophie religieuse 45 (1965), 128-155.
Schreiber, Fred, The Estiennes. An annotated catalogue of 300 highlights of their various presses (New York, 1982).
Schreiber, Fred, Simon de Colines (Utah, 1995).
 Greswell, William Henry Parr, A View of the Early Parisian Greek Press; Including the Lives of the Stephani; Notices of Other Contemporary Greek Printers of Paris (Oxford, 1840), p. 384.
 Didot, Ambroise Firmin, ‘Les Estienne. Henri I, François I et II, Robert I, II et III, Henri II, Paul et Antoine…’, Nouvelle bibliographie générale, (Paris, 1856; Copenhagen, 1965 reprint), 15-16, p. 554.
 Worth owned the 1566, 1592 and 1618 Estienne editions of Herodotus.
 Worth did not collect works printed by Antoine Estienne.
 Schreiber, Fred, The Estiennes. An annotated catalogue of 300 highlights of their various presses (New York, 1982), p. 217.