The current exhibit in Silver Special Collections features a selection of miniature books from our Rare Book collection. Librarians and collectors often define miniatures as books that measure 4 inches or less in either direction, although the miniatures on our shelves can measure up to 5.5 inches.
Special Collections staff recently completed a project that involved examining most of the miniatures in the Rare Book collection. We encountered many intriguing volumes, and when we learned that UVM’s Fleming Museum would feature miniatures in two of its spring exhibitions, we decided to fill our new display cases with small books.
Like our collection, which has grown organically rather than intentionally, books in the exhibit are diverse, ranging from a 16th-century Bible to 21st-century artists’ books. Many of the selections reflect the demand for portable and affordable reading material. The exhibit also includes miniature artists’ books that display creative and innovative ways to work within small dimensions.
Some selections in the exhibit connect viewers to those who purchased and read the small books. Looking at the cases, we can imagine Nettie Mason holding a hymnal as she sang at a church service, or a seminary student struggling with a Hebrew translation. We can see a book collector placing an order for a Civil War curiosity to add to his library, and a young woman unwrapping a gift book from the pretty Bibliothèque Miniature.
Visit Special Collections on the second level of Billings Library to see the exhibit. Hours