Martin Luther, Hero of the Reformation by Ellen Velvin

This short book on Martin Luther was written with young people in mind and is part of the “Splendid Lives ” Series, published by the Sunday School Union. It contains 16 black and white, pen and ink illustrations.

The copy provided by Book Aid for digitisation bears a Sunday School Award Plate dating from 1904, for “Good Behaviour and Regular Attendance”. This title is in the public domain.

Ellen Velvin [1826-1918], Martin Luther. The Hero of the Reformation. London: The Sunday School Union, 1897. bk. pp.144. [Click to visit the download page]


  1. Birth and Parentage
  2. Boyhood
  3. Education
  4. At Erfurt University
  5. Monastic Life
  6. Priesthood
  7. First Visit to Rome
  8. Friends and Foes
  9. The Reformation
  10. Reformation – Continued
  11. The Wartburg
  12. Return to Wittenburg
  13. Marriage
  14. Private and Public Work
  15. Closing Years
  16. Death

Chapter 1: Birth and Parentage

Of the many “Splendid Lives” which have, from time to time, benefited and enlightened the world, accomplishing great tasks, combating great evils, and dissipating the gloom of ignorance and superstition, that of Martin Luther, the great Reformer, is second to none.

Martin Luther was born on the eve of the festival day of St. Martin of Tours-hence his name-on 10th November 1483, at Eisleben, in the Duchy of Mansfeld, in Thuringia. His surname, Luther (Lyder, Ltider, Ludher, or, as some say, Lothar or Lothair), is supposed to be derived from Lauter, which means “clear” or “pure.” This was the generally accepted meaning of the word, but another interpretation is that Lutherus and Lotharius are synonymous, Lotharius (“King of Men”) being a name given to royal, imperial, and illustrious personages.

Hans Luther, his father, who was a miner or slate-cutter by trade, and belonged to a family of free peasants at Möhra…

Luther and the German Reformation by Thomas M. Lindsay

Thomas Martin Lindsay [1843-1914], Luther and The German ReformationThis life of Martin Luther has been reprinted numerous times, which is testimony to its enduring value. This title is in the public domain.

Thomas Martin Lindsay [1843-1914], Luther and The German Reformation. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1900. Hbk. pp.300. [Click to visit the download page]


  • Preface
  1. Introduction
  2. Lutehr’s Childhood and Education, 1483-1505
  3. The Years of Preparation, 1505-1517
  4. Indulgence Controversy, 1517-1519
  5. The Three Great Reformation Treatises, 1520
  6. At the Diet of Worms, 1521
  7. In the Wartburg. From 4th 1521 to 3rd 1522
  8. The Progress of the Reformation, 1522-1525
  9. Political and Social Revolts, 1522-1525
  10. Marriage, Family and Public Life
  11. Laying the Foundations of the Evangelical Church
  12. The Last Years of Luther’s Life
  • Chronological Summary
  • List of Books Consulted
  • Index


Although Luther’s life has been written scores of times, it has always seemed to me that there is room for another – for one which will be careful to set Luther in the environment of the common social life of his time. For it is often forgotten that the sixteenth century, in which he was the most outstanding figure, saw the beginnings of our present social life in almost everything, from our way of looking at politics and our modes of trade to our underclothing. To show what that life was, and to show Luther in it, would, it seems to me, bring him nearer us than has yet been done.

I do not for a moment pretend that this little book is even a sketch of the Reformer’s life written in this way. That needed far more space than was permitted. Yet I have had the thought before me in writing, and for that reason have been careful to make as much use as possible of contemporary evidence….


Merle d’Aubigné’s History of the Reformation Vols. 1-5

Jean-Henri Merle d'Aubigné (16 August 1794 – 21 October 1872)
Jean-Henri Merle d’Aubigné (16 August 1794 – 21 October 1872). Artist unknown – Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, No. 270, November, 1872., Public Domain. Source: Wikipedia

Jean-Henri Merle d’Aubigné (16 August 1794 – 21 October 1872) was a Swiss historian of the Reformation, His writings reflect the thoroughness of his research and some are still in-print today. This title is in the public domain.

Jean-Henri Merle d’Aubigné [1794-1872], History of the Reformation of the Sixteenth Century, Vols. 1-5. London: Religious Tract Society, 1846[?]. Hbk. pp.867. [Click to visit the download page for this book]


  • Preface
  1. State of Europe Before the Reformation
  2. The Youth, Conversion, and Early Labours of Luther – 1483-1517
  3. The Indulgences and trh Theses – 1517 – May 1518
  4. Luther Before the Legate – May to December 1518
  5. The Liepsic Disputation – 1519
  6. The Papal Bull – 1520
  7. The Diet of Worms – 1521, January to May
  8. The Swiss. 1484-1522
  9. First Reforms – 1521 and 1522
  10. Agitation, Reverses, and Progress. 1522-1526
  11. Switzerland – Germany. 1523-1527
  12. The French. 1500-1526
  13. The Protest and the Conference. 1526-1529
  14. The Augsberg Confession – 1530
  15. Switzerland – Conquests. 1526-1530
  16. Switzerland – Catastrophe. 1528-1531
  17. England Before the Reformation
  18. The Revival of the Church
  19. The English New Testament and the Court of Rome
  20. The Two Divorces


I have been often requested to publish an English Edition of the first three volumes, of my History of the Reformation, carefully revised and corrected by myself, and which might thus become a Standard Edition in Great Britain.

I have acknowledged the necessity of this task. In fact, without overlooking the merit of the different English translations of this work; even the best, I am compelled to· say, have failed in conveying my thoughts in several passages; and in some cases this inaccuracy has been of serious consequence. I will mention one instance.

At the end of the year 1844, I received several letters from the United States, in-forming me that, besides 75,000 copies of my History put in circulation by different American booksellers. The American Tract Society had printed an edition of 24,000 copies, which they sold through the instrumentality of more than a hundred hawkers (colporteurs), principally in the New Settlements….

History of the Reformation by Thomas M. Lindsay

Thomas Lindsay’s comprehensive introduction to the European Reformation and Counter-Reformation is now available on-line for free download in PDF. These volumes are in the public domain and so can be freely copied and distributed.

Thomas Martin Lindsay [1843-1914], A History of the Reformation in Two Volumes, 2nd edn. Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1907. Hbk. pp.528+631.



Map Showing the Reformation and Counter-Reformation (1520-1580)
Map Showing the Reformation and Counter-Reformation (1520-1580)

Volume 2 has an interesting map hidden away in a pouch on the back cover. I have included images at varying resolutions on the main download page if you are interested.

Contents of Volume 1

Book 1: On the Eve of the Reformation

Chapter 1 – The Papacy
Chapter 2 – The Political Situation
Chapter 3 – The Renaisance
Chapter 4 – Social Conditions
Chapter 5 – Family and Popular Religious Life in the Decades Before the Reformation
Chapter 6 – Humanism and the Reformation

Book 2: The Reformation

Chapter 1 – Luther to the Beginning of the Controversy About Indulgences
Chapter 2 – From the Beginning of the Indulgence Controversy to the Diet of Worms
Chapter 3 – The Diet of Worms
Chaper 4 – From the Diet of Worms to the Close of the Peasant’s War
Chapter 5 – From the Diet of Speyer, 1526, to the Religious Peace of Augsburg, 1555
Chaper 6 – The Organisation of the Lutheran Churches
Chapter 7 – The Lutheran Reformation Outside Germany
Chapter 8 – The Religious Principles Inpsiring the Reformation

Contents of Volume 2

Book 3: The Reformed Churches

Chapter 1 – Introduction
Chapter 2 – The Reformation in Switzerland Under Zwingli
Chapter 3 – The Reformation in Geneva Under Calvin
Chapter 4 – The Reformation in France
Chapter 5 – The Reformation in the Netherlands
Chapter 6 – The Reformation in Scotland

Book 4: The Reformation in England

Chapter 1 – The Church of Henry VIII
Chapter 2 – The Reformation Under Edward VI
Chapter 3 – The Reaction Under Mary
Chapter 4 – The Settlement Under Elizabeth

Book 5: Anabaptism and Socinianism

Chapter 1 – Revival of Medieval Anti-Ecclesiastical Movements
Chapter 2 – Anabaptism
Chapter 3 – Socinianism

Book 6: The Counter-Reformation

Chapter 1 – The Necessity of a Reformation of some sort of Universally Admitted
Chapter 2 – The Spanish Conception of a Reformation
Chapter 3 – Italian Liberal Roman Catholics and Their Conception of a Reformation
Chapter 4 – Ignatius Loyola and the Company of Jesus
Chapter 5 – The Council of Trent
Chapter 6 – The Inquisition and the Index

MacKinnon’s Luther & the Reformation online

James MacKinnon, Luther and the Reformation, 4 Vols.

James MacKinnon’s 4 Volume work on Martin Luther entered the Public Domain today, so here is the full text in PDF for free download.

James MacKinnon [1860-1945], Luther and the Reformation, 4 Vols. London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1925-1930. Click to visit the download page.

Table of Contents

  1. Home and Education (1484-1505)
  2. Beginnings of Luther’s Monastic Career (1505-1507)
  3. Luther and the Scholastic Theology (1507-1512)
  4. Luther’s Spiritual Confliect (1507-1512)
  5. The Discovery of the Gospel (1509-1513)
  6. The New Theology amd its Development (1513-1516)
  7. Luther and the Mystics (1515-1517)
  8. Luther and the Humanists (1509-1517)
  9. The Reformer in the Making (1514-1516)
  10. The Reformer at Work (1516-1517)

Volume 2: The Breach with Rome (1517-21)

  1. The Indulgence Controversy
  2. The Developing Situation
  3. The Papal Prosecution of Luther
  4. The Sequel of the Augsberg Hearing
  5. The Leipzig Disputation
  6. The Sequel of the Leipzig Disputation
  7. The Condemnation of Luther
  8. The Reformation Manifestos of 1520
  9. The Diet of Worms
  10. Conclusion

Volume 3: Progress of the Movement (1521-29)

  1. Luther at the Wartburg (1)
  2. Luther at the Wartburg (2)
  3. Luther’s Return From the Wartburg
  4. Luther at Wittenberg
  5. The Empire and Luther
  6. Luther and the Revolutionary Movement
  7. The Conflict with Erasmus
  8. Consilidation of the Evangelical Movement
  9. The Disruption of the Evangelical Party

Volume 4: Vindication of the Movement (1530-46)

  1. The Emperor and the Protestants
  2. The Later Religious Radicalism
  3. Ecclesiastical and Educational
  4. The Emperor and the Reformation (1539-46)
  5. Final Controvery With Rome
  6. Luther and Theological Dissent
  7. The End and its Sequel
  8. Luther and His Work (1)
  9. Luther and His Work (2)
  10. National and Extra-National Influence