An unusual shape book, Decalogus is the ten commandments in ten languages. It is the first miniature book the Sabota’s made upon their return to the Czech Republic in 1999. They had previously worked in Ohio and Texas during communist rule in Eastern Europe, but were able to return home after the fall of the Soviet Union. We lost Jan in 2012 but Jarmila is still making beautiful books, both miniature and large.
The book is in a cruciform shape and has a hand tooled leather binding with gold stamping. It comes in the lovely gold bag as well.
The text is printed in gold on handmade paper in a numbered edition of 100, of which this is 59. I won this one at the MBS annual silent auction in Boston last year and Jarmila tells me it’s the last copy she had.
I’ve wanted to do a series on essential and nonessential reference works on miniature books so here’s the first installment.
This is the first edition of “Miniature Books, Their History From the Beginnings to the Present Day” by Louis Bondy, published by the Shepard Press in London in 1981. This is the most important reference on miniature books for the beginning collector. It gives the complete history of miniature books from the 16th century to the late 20th century, although the information is heavily in favor of Books from England.
I have a later edition of this book republished by Richard Joseph Publishers of Oxford in 1994, after the death of Bondy, but this copy is special in that it was the personal copy of Hilda Neiman, and contains her notes about books she’d purchased, many from her friend, Ruth Adomeit.
Here’s a nice little thing done up in 1969. It is a 50% photographic enlargement of the Schloss’s London Bijou Almanac for 1843.
The set, available in 1969 for $13.50 includes a folder with a short history of the almanacs, one set of uncut sheets, to bind your own, and the replica almanac itself. It measures 1 1/2 x 15/16 inches and is bound in brown glove leather. It was released in an edition of 65. This is number 59.
The original almanac was entirely engraved, an amazing feat considering the size. I wish I had one.
You can read more about this one in The Miniature Book News, Number 17, September 1969.
It’s not a valuable book but I’ve wanted one since it appeared in Anne Bromer and Julian Edison’s book “Miniature Books, 4,000 Years of Tiny Treasures.
Kurt S. Adler produced at least two miniature music box books, this one, “The Nutcracker Suite” in 1977 and the one pictured in Bromer/Edison, “Christmas Carols” in 1985.
At 2 5/8 x 2 5/8 it is definitely a miniature book and the smallest musical movement I’ve seen. It has eleven pages, a red ribbon bookmark, and like all Kurt Adler books, a string loop to use as an ornament.
I’m what some call a completeist collector. What they mean is that what ever area I choose to collect, I must not only have each title or edition of each title but every variant of each edition of each title or, a complete collection. I collect miniature books so that’s a lot. To lend some sanity to my collecting, I focus on a very specific area, complete that and then move on to another area. One of the collections I’m trying to complete now is that of the Hazeltine/Piso miniature almanacs and booklets.
Of the 71 known miniature booklets produced by the Piso Company from 1878 to 1918, I am lacking only 13. They are: of 41 almanacs, four, those for the years 1907, 1908, 1910, and 1918, plus the very rare 1880 German edition, of the 12 story books, two, “Testimonials” and “The Old Musician”, of the 10 half year calendars, 2, those for April 91- September 91, and October 93 – March 94 and of the 9 song booklets, 4, “Red, White and Blue”, “E. Plurubus Unum”, “Battle-Hymn of the Republic”, and “America”. If you happen to have any of these for sale, please let me know.
Next up for completion, Perhaps the nice Colgate calendars or the Duke cigarette Generals of the Civil War booklets.
Tribute to the Arts was the joint keepsake of Bob Massmann and Miriam Irwin for the Miniature Book Society conclave II in Boston in 1984. It is known as a peepshow book and is Bob’s second, Moby Dick Meets the Pequod being the first in 1968.
Here is the book with its slipcover.
Look through the peephole and extend the book according to the directions and you’ll be treated to a 3D scene at the symphony.
The structure that gives us this wonderful effect looks like this.
Interestingly, Bob chose not to include this one in his bibliography so it doesn’t show up in Bradbury either. REM did, however, sneak it into one of his alternate bibliographies, “Second Roster Of Lilliputia Spewed Out By Robert Massmann As Ephemera Not Previously Recorded Or Published Jointly With others” as entry #1 in 1990.
Here are a couple views of my first letterpress, a Baltimore #11. It was made by either by the J.F.W. Dorman Company or Baumgarten, both of Baltimore sometime between about 1885 and the early 1900’s.
Other than the rollers, which will need to be replaced, this press is in perfect working order. This view also shows my small box of dingbats, the only type I now possess.
It’s such a beautiful little press that if I never print a thing with it, I’ll still be glad I own it. Let’s hope it gets vigorous use soon though.
Here are a couple of photos I used in a recent talk on miniature books. I used them to discuss abnormal book structures.
The books are, clockwise from the green book on the left: 1. Pequeno Press by Pat Baldwin 2. About Art published by Iron Bear Press 3. Quote by Robert Frost, published by Jan Becker 4. Collector’s Clean Sweep by Robert E. Massmann, published by REM Miniatures 5. Bibliography of REM Miniatures Fourth Supplement, also REM 6. Eight Maya Glyphs published by Eve Press.
Here we see them opened up. Most are variations on an accordion or concertina type structure except the REM Bibliography which is a triple dos-a-dos with a weird origami page fold, and Collector’s Clean Sweep which is a conventional book with a spine, but shaped like a broom.
After “The Little Cookie Book” my favorite miniature book is “The Miniature Purple Cow” by Gelett Burgess. It’s miniature. It’s purple. It’s cow. Even though it’s four years older than me, I just know it was made for me.
My copy is a first edition Published in 1966 by Susan Dawson and Karen Dawson, daughters of that most famous purveyor of miniature books, Glen Dawson. The binding is by Bela Blau.
Printed by Grant Dahlstrom, the charming illustrations are Burgess’ own work.
The second edition of 1968 is the same except for the binding, which is brown.
You can add Kickstarter to the list of things I’ve done for miniature books.
The Bite-Sized Book of Bite-Sized Recipes is the first miniature book I’ve bought supporting a kickstarter project. It is written and published by Catherine Murray and is quite tiny.
The Bite-Sized book contains twenty tiny recipes for sweet and savory mini foods perfect for your next miniature book party or conclave.
I’m not sure if it is still available from the but I will find out and provide contact information if it is.
I just contacted Catherine and here is her reply:
Absolutely, I do have book copies for sale. The majority of them are still in production and will be done in a few weeks. Please direct them to this Etsy site for sales https://www.etsy.com/shop/photokitchen and to my Bite-Sized blog for more info: http://photokitchen.net/category/mini-cookbook/