RIP Michael Hart, founder of Project Gutenberg

Posted on September 7, 2011 by | Posted in in the press, News | Comments: 26 Comments on RIP Michael Hart, founder of Project Gutenberg

Very sad news: Michael Hart, founder of Project Gutenberg (where most LibriVox texts come from), and the inventor of the ebook died this week.

Thank you for all you did, Michael.

Here is his obituary.



  1. Mary says:

    This is sad news. I first became aware of Gutenberg several years ago when an injury forced me into nearly 3 years of almost total inactivity. When pain forced me to spend much of my time in my chair and online, I discovered Project Gutenberg. As a lover of “old” books, the joy of finding and downloading so many wonderful stories to my computer allowed me to get away from my pain in a way that no medication ever could. After a few years, my purchase of an e-reader was simply icing on the cake. Now that my injury is a thing of the past and I can move about pain free, I am still grateful (and always will be) to Mr. Hart and all the people at Gutenberg for the many hours of pleasure I’ve gotten from their project. Of course LibriVox is included in my gratitude. As late night becomes early morning, I can’t think of a better way to say Thank You, Mr., Hart, than to turn on my e-reader, and read a chapter from one of the mnany books that I’ve downloaded from Gutenberg. Once again, Thank You!

  2. Luca D says:

    I didn’t know who was Gutenberg’s founder, but I’m sincerely sad for his death. Thanks to Gutenberg I was able to improve my knowledge of English and to read a lot of interesting books. Thanks to Gutenberg (and to LibriVox) I enjoyed many great works of literature and philosophy. So, I thank you Mr. Hart, I thank you for all you did for me… and for the cultural enrichment of the world! The best way to remind you will be to continue to use your precious invention, and to inform whoever could be interested of the existence of that wonderful web site! Thank you very much, Mr. Hart, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  3. om says:

    Gutenberg is one of the greatest ideas, that ever happened. It not only gave us books, but gave a new meaning to the internet, community work and general comradrie. We can just say Thanks a lot, Hart!

  4. Sai says:

    I stumbled on to Gutenberg’s site when I was pursuing a course in Journalism. It was probably one of the greatest days in my life. Thank you, Michael. You have given book lovers the world over access to an invaluable treasure.

  5. Anthony h w says:

    This site is a realy fantastic place to browse for books i find i now read more than ever on all manner of subjects.
    i thank him for what he as created,may is family have comfort in the work he as done.
    god bless

  6. Mark Penfold says:

    Rest in peace, Mr. Hart. You brought the world an unimaginably beneficial gift, one for which you will be affectionately remembered until the end of time. Thank you.

  7. Larry Leezer says:

    A man with a vision to help so many people to love books. Truly sorry about his passing. His family and friends can no he will be missed by those who love Project Gutenberg.

  8. Clare Morgan says:

    As one who thought of others in the most profound and enduring way – who gave of his time so that others could access literature which would uplift, entertain and educate, your generosity brightens up a world that is too often self seeking and destructive. May your dear ones’ grief be lessened by the warmth generated by your gifts. Rest peacefully my friend.

  9. Vasudevan Devaraj says:

    One of the best inventions ever is e books and we have access to so many books so easily and freely from Gutenberg. Thank the soul that created all this for posterity. Michael Hart, founder of Project Gutenberg, is undoubtedly an epitome of greatness and knowledge for entire humanity. With deep respect my heartfelt consolation to Michael Hart’s family and relatives.

  10. Lars Rolander says:

    I agree with all that has been said here already! It is almost impossible to value high enough what Project Gutenberg, through Michael Hart’s foresight, has done, and does, to preserve our literary heritage, and to make it so easily available.

  11. William Tyler says:

    What a joy doing something so simple and so great for so many people.

    I used this site to put a smile on my son’s face this morning.

    thank you and god bless.

  12. Ben DeVries says:

    That is very sad news. Thank you, Michael, for all the enjoyment and enrichment you provided to myself and so many others. Rest in peace, Ben DeVries

  13. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Michael! You deed is good and great.

  14. BillyG says:

    My condolences to Michael’s family and friends. When I downloaded the DVD set of ebooks Michael and his friends helped me fulfill a lifelong dream to own a library with thousands of the best books.
    Thank You Michael!

    Thank You Librivox for all the audio books I enjoy on my daily commutes.


  15. Simmi says:

    Michael Hart was Johannes Gutenberg of electronic printing!!. May his soul REST IN PEACE.

  16. Desmond Persaud says:

    Thank you to a wonderful man with a wonderful idea and the wonderful joy of having seen it come to fruition. Go now to your reward and may all of us who have benefitted from your great goodness be inspired by your example to do similarly great things with our own time on Earth.

  17. Sally NK says:

    To the family and friends of Michael Hart – my condolences. He has given so much pleasure to so many. I hope that the gratitude and warmth so many of us obviously feel, will help give you strength for the days ahead.

  18. sid says:

    what micheal hart has left to this world is a symbol, symbols shred mortality.

  19. Miro says:

    It is really sad news…

    Some time ago I realized that something was going wrong with Librivox when noticed that new voice books begun to come irregularly or in big intervals.

    How many things in this world depend on one or another devoted person!

    Librivox and project Gutenberg helped me greatly to improve my comprehension of spoken English… It also opened for me pretty unknown world of English literature (“Literature in English” to be more precise – which is even more interesting)…

    Thank you, Michael, for your great job and your devotion to this noble project.
    Rest in peace.

    To the family and friends of Michael Hart – my deepest condolences. You were friends and the family of a truly noble and intelligent man.


  20. LibriVoxer says:


    Our problems at LibriVox were not connected with Michael, Miro. We continue to produce audiobooks at a steady pace, but we had problems for a while with the cataloguing process for various reasons.

    For anyone who wonders, the list of new titles on the home page is not currently being updated owing to these same technical problems. However, audiobooks are still being produced, and you can see the most recent by viewing the RSS New Releases feed (click on the little orange square next to New Releases).

    Another way is to search for audiobooks by catalog month. You will see HERE that already this month, 64 audiobooks have been added to the catalogue.


  21. claire says:

    I just wanted to say a big thank you to Michael, i have read his obituary and learned how wise he was. How he devoted himself to his task, a very noble one.
    Thanks to him, and his team, i can read as much as i want, continue to learn and study languages, and discover new writers and ways of thinking.
    I really could not have afforded all those books nor find them at the library of my place – small village in France.
    Gutenberg gave me hope – hope to learn new things, to improve myself, and faith.
    To see that some people are ready to give time and money – that’s for Librivox too ! –
    to help people out with books and readings, well, its a warm feeling !

  22. Alexander says:

    May his soul rest in peace! He was a great man!

  23. Maciej says:

    A great man and a visionary has been taken away from this world. I think that a good way to pay tribute to Michael Hart is to quote G. Fabricus: “Death comes to all But great achievements build a monument which shall endure until the sun grows cold”.

  24. Joao Soares says:

    I am a new kid in the block. Just a couple of days. However, I become a lover of LibriVox. I also did not know the genius of this great man, Robert Hart. What a great man. I will try to honor his great invention of the Project Gutenberg.

  25. Jen says:

    He gave access to millions the best works ever written, wish more was given to his memory then all the press for Steve Jobs.
    Knowledge = Freedom


  26. Nicholas Clfford says:

    Each week The Economist publishes an obituary who has often not received the recognition he or she deserved. In a recent October issue, the admiring obituary was devoted to Michael Hart.

    If I’m allowed to post web addresses, here it is:

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