the shrinking librarian

A shy violet keeps a library & information science scrapbook.

Posts tagged miniature books

Oct 14


A few weeks ago we featured Galileo a Madama Cristina de Lorena, published in 1896 by the Salmin Brothers, which happens to be the smallest book in the world printed with hand-set movable type.  The typeface used is called “flies’ eyes”, and was cut by Antonio Farina in 1834. We have another book in our collection printed with the same type, an 1878 edition of  La Divina Commedia di DanteWhile the Dante is also a miniature book, it is not nearly as small as the Galileo.  Here are some images of both books side by side, so you can compare the type and truly see just what a feat it must have been to hand-set both of these incredible little books.


Sep 22


Happy Miniature Monday!

Here is a copy of Galileo a Madama Cristina de Lorena, published in 1896 by the Salmin Brothers in Padua, Italy.  The text was originally written by Galileo Galilei in 1615 to the Duchess Christina, and was an attempt to show that Copernicanism could be aligned with the doctrines of the Catholic Church.  Through writing to Christina, Galileo hoped to address a secondary audience of philosophers, mathematicians, and the politically powerful, with  the ultimate goal of dissuading the religious authorities from condemning Copernicus (Dietz Moss,Galileo’s Letter to Christina: Some Rhetorical Considerations).  

On top of the fascinating content, here is another interesting fact about this book that should excite all you Mini Monday fans out there. This edition from the Salmin Brothers is 18 x1 0 mm in size, and printed with hand-set type, which makes it (what it currently believed to be) the smallest book ever printed with movable, hand-set type.  The typeface used is called “flies’ eyes”, and was cut by Antonio Farina in 1834. We have another miniature printed with this typeface here, although it’s not as tiny. According to a Miniature Book Society Newsletter from 2002, “it took one month to print thirty pages” of Letter to Christina due to the difficulty of working so small.  Indeed, the text is so minute that it was pretty hard to get decent photos of the letters—I recommend coming by to see it  to get the full effect. Thus, this little book holds a pretty high place in both the history of printing and miniature books.  

 Galilei, Galileo. Galileo a Madama Cristina de Lorena. PaduaSalmin Brothers, 1896.  The Charlotte M. Smith Miniatures Collection, Uncatalogued.  

See all of our Miniature Monday posts here

-Laura H. 

Sep 15


It’s Miniature Monday, folks!

Today we have eight volumes from Miniature Dictionary Publisher’s, Inc., published circa 1925.  The firm was operated by the Minkus brothers in New York City, and frequently published miniature volumes of well-known works and dictionaries.  These books were often used to advertise businesses like banks, hotels and department stores; the business in question would have its named stamped on the back of each volume it sold.  None of these copies are stamped; but the leather wallet binding and gilt-stamped titles as well as the pink-edged text blocks are characteristic of MDP Inc.  Another charming thing about these books are their bookplates—I have never seen a miniature bookplate before!  These books have a wonderful feel to them—their chunky shape and soft leather bindings make them seem almost edible!  Stop by and see them before I eat them today!

Various Authors. The Little Webster, Love and Other Stories (2 ediitons), The Arabian Nights Entertainments, The Golden Treasury of English Songs, Don Quixote, Paradise Lost, Hamlet and Macbeth.  New York: Miniature Dictionary Publisher’s, Inc. 1925.  Charlotte Smith Miniatures Collection, Uncatalogued.  Gift of Carol Kapell in memory of Paula B. Deems

Information on the volumes gathered from: Edison, Julian I.. Miniature Book News #90: 1996 September.  St. Louis, Missouri.  UNT Digital Library.

See all of our Miniature Monday posts here

-Laura H. 

Aug 29


Here we have a lovely pocket edition of The Compleat Angler printed in 1825 in London by William Pickering.  Both an author and biographer, Izaak Walton’s (1593-1683) first edition of of The Compleat Angler was printed in 1653.  He produced a second edition almost immediately after in 1655.  In this second edition we see the format that subsequent editions have kept.  Walton wrote the book as a dialogue between travelers who practiced different forms of recreation: Piscator (fisherman), Venator (hunter), and Auceps (falconer).  Piscator teaches his companions the art of fishing and how its practice leads to a more meaningful life.  Walton continued to revise and reissue his work throughout his lifetime.  His friend Charles Cotton (1630-1687) worked on the piece as well, producing part two and finishing the text we are familiar with today.  

To get a sense of how small this book is I’ve included a few dry flies: a wooly bugger (fuzzy green one), a purple haze, and a CDC(cul de canard) Elk Hair caddis (small tan and orange one).


799.12 W239 c1825

Aug 25


Happy Miniature Monday everyone!

Today we are featuring a new acquisition—a TINY TELEVISION from Akiko Noguchi.  The TV is made of wood, and the body stands at a towering one inch tall.  Inside the body are three miniature books, each one focusing on a different aspect  of the lives of Japanese children during the 1930’s and 40’s. By altering the order of the books inside, you can alter the image on the screen. The set also comes with it’s own tiny instruction manual. A tiny TV to showcase tiny books?  Sounds good to me!

 Miniature TV set.  Japan: Akiko Noguchi, 2013. Charlotte Smith Miniature Collection; in-process

See all of our Miniature Monday posts

-Laura H.


The “Codex Rotundus” owes its name to its round shape. It is a small book of hours (9 cm diameter) made in Bruges in 1480. Thumbnails are most likely from the workshop of Dutchman Willem Date illuminator (active from 1450 to 1482). (Hildesheim Cathedral Library, Germany)

(via americanlibraryassoc)

Aug 18

Have you ever wondered where books come from?



Well then, let me show you, because that’s what I do for a living.

Right now, it’s this time of the year, and the little ones have just freshly hatched:


You’ll notice they’re still blind and naked when they hatch. So I make them little coats to keep them warm during their first winter:


See how they happily line up to put them on:


See? Better. Now they’re ready to go and explore the world.


And if they make it through the winter and we take good care of them, they will grow up to be strong and wise like their older fellows:


So, in case you were ever wondering, now you know.


(via litreactor)

Aug 6


Miniature Monday!

Chained Alchemical Library by Pat Sweet from Bo Press Miniature Books.  Riverside (Calif.) : 2012?  From the Charlotte Smith Miniatures Collection.  In the catalog: N7433.4.S885 C43 2012
Stop by and see!

Bo Press Miniature’s website.

See all of our Miniature Mondays or see all of our posts with GIFs.

(via houghtonlib)

Jul 7


Miniature Monday!  

You needed more guinea pigs in your life.  And I knew that.  And here they are.

Pigs is pigs / Ellis Parker Butler ; designed by Blake Smith.  Bisbee, Ariz. : Pequeño Press, 2001. Smith Miniatures Collection PS3503.U85 P5 2001 

Designed and illustrated by Blake Smith and Pat Baldwin. Printed on Lana Laid paper in Centaur type. Bound at Waterleaf Mill & Bindery by Pat Baldwin and Blake Smith.

Stop by and take a look!  

See all of our Miniature Monday posts.

May 19


Miniature Monday!

Today we have a 24 volume set of Shakespeare’s works by the Knickerbocker Leather and Novelty Co., published in New York around 1900. Each is leather bound with gilding.

Shakespeare’s Works. New York: Knickerbocker Leather and Novelty Co.  1900’s.  Charlotte Smith Miniature Collections. 

See all Miniature Monday posts

-Laura H. 

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