New exhibition featuring some of Biddle Law Library’s more tiny books in the rare book collections of Archives and Special Collections Department.
Miniature versions of texts have existed for about as long as any other size of books, with miniature Sumerian cuneiform tablets being traced to as early as the 2500s BCE. Around two hundred miniature books, predominately religious texts, survive from the 1500s and they continued to be produced through the 1600s. In the 1700s, vest pocket almanacs grew in popularity. By the mid-1800s, miniatures were trending, some even coming with their own miniature bookshelves.
Books exist in miniature for many reasons including portability, their appeal for children and students, concealment of risqué content, to be used in dollhouses, and because people enjoy smaller versions of everyday objects. Though small, miniature books’ bindings could also be quite fine and highly decorative.
This exhibition presents a small sample of Biddle Law Library’s tiny books as well as the opportunity to explore the tools used in bookbinding. The books on display are from the Library’s Rare Book Collection and include a wide range of titles from the early 1500s through the mid-1900s. Although tiny, many of these books have had a major impact on modern legal education and the study of legal philosophy throughout the world.
For more information contact the Law Library’s Archives and Special Collections Department.