The Art of the Miniature Manuscript
'A Modest Collection' on Display at Hopkins
Some 250 miniature books, including a copy of the smallest book ever printed with movable type, are on display now in an exhibit at The Johns Hopkins University's Sheridan Libraries, a collection that illuminates the ancient art of printing miniature volumes.
A Modest Collection is on display and open to the public from now through June on the A-Level of the Milton S. Eisenhower Library, located on the Homewood campus, 3400 N. Charles Street. For information about hours and more about the collection, call 410-516-6506.
Comprised largely of volumes donated to the Sheridan Libraries, including a sizable number from the Garrett family, the exhibit includes two sets of the works of Shakespeare, a Psalter printed in Hebrew, a miniature manuscript Breviary, as well as an Italian copy of Galileo's letter of 1615 to Duchess Christine of Lorena, printed in 1897 in two-point type and said to be the smallest ever printed with movable type.
Of that book, Percy Edwin Spielman wrote, "One compositor went mad and that several of those concerned with the production suffered from eye-strain for long afterwards. To print thirty pages took a month, and new type was required for every new form."
Miniature books became popular for their portability -- they could easily be carried about -- but they also encapsulate the art of bookmaking, from the challenges of printing with minuscule movable type to the artistry of fine book-bindings on a minuscule scale. Included in the exhibit is miniature movable type.
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