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The wonder of miniature books

August 7, 2013

A story in The Atlantic online by Rebecca J. Rosen today made me appreciate our small but lovely miniature book collection even more.  You can read the full story here, but to summarize: librarians at the University of Iowa were curious about the contents of their smallest item which measures, Rosen writes, '0.138 inches square and 0.04 inches thick.'  So Iowa librarian Colleen Theisen put the tiny book under the microscope in order to discern its contents and trace its history.

Here at Drexel University Libraries, we have dozens of miniature books, including both the practical and the fanciful.  When students visit the Archives, these tiny works are usually among the most popular items on display.  To learn more, take a look at this online exhibit, Many Littles Make a Much, created by Sophie Ziegler.  Or better yet, stop by the Archives, on the Lower Level of Hagerty Library, and see the miniature books for yourself!

9 mini books lined up on a table above a ruler to show the size of the books (from side to side, the group of books is less than 12 inches)

Above are just a few of the items in the collection, arranged to show the scale.  Below are pictures of the cover and the first page of 'The Sea,' by L.C. Powell, one of several items printed at Dawson's Bookshop (Los Angeles) in the 1960s.

A hard copy of the book 'The Sea,' by L.C. Powell. The book is open to the cover page  A hard copy of the book 'The Sea,' by L.C. Powell. The book is open to the 3rd page