Miniature Books from the Vanderbilt Libraries

New Exhibition in Special Collections: Miniature Books from the Vanderbilt Libraries

by Molly Dohrmann

Image showing a few miniature books from the exhibit.A new exhibition, opening this fall in Special Collections, highlights some of the smallest books in our collections. For centuries miniature books have captured the imagination of readers around the world.

Miniature books require specific skills in all areas of book production – bindings, papers, and type and can be made in all kinds of formats from accordion style to origami folds to scrolling books.

Among the miniature books featured in this exhibit are examples from 19th-century Victorian children’s literature as well as modern day artists’ books including a repurposed watercolor paint box holding eight books, each one half an inch tall. Also on display is one of the smallest books ever made: a miniature version of the Lord’s Prayer, a mere eighth of an inch in height.

The world of miniature books, both those made as art and those popularly published and made for daily use, holds a fascination for us because of the often delightful and ingenious constructions and inventions of their talented creators.


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