May15 - July 28, 2007. Miniature Books: 4,000 Years of Tiny Treasures. Curated by Julian Edison.
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May15 - July 28, 2007
Miniature Books: 4,000 Years of Tiny Treasures
Curated by Julian Edison

The Grolier Club is pleased to present a pioneering exhibition devoted to the marvelous art and fascinating history of miniature books. On view from May16 - July 28, 2007, Miniature Books: 4,000 Years of Tiny Treasures is curated by Julian I. Edison, noted collector and Vice-President of the Miniature Book Society.  

Despite the challenges that their small size present to typesetters, printers, binders and illustrators, miniature books explore the full range of human endeavor, and encompass nearly every subject considered in full-size books, from Shakespeare’s plays to Bibles, from children’s books to fiction. The hundreds of examples on view in Miniature Books: 4,000 Years of Tiny Treasures — none taller than three inches — range in date from a Babylonian tablet of ca. 2000 BC, to tiny artists’ books of the present day. Engaging, artful, and sometimes eccentric, miniature books are also captivating examples of the bookmaker’s craft: gilt, bejeweled, painted, tooled, illuminated, and illustrated by the likes of Picasso, Miro, and Edward Gorey. 

Some notable selections include:

— A 40-volume set of Shakespeare's works, two inches high and easily readable.
— John F. Kennedy's inaugural address in miniature.
— The first book on contraception, originally published as a miniature, and responsible for a 19th century decline in the British birthrate.
— The Emancipation Proclamation of Abraham Lincoln, first printed in book form as a miniature.
— A minature book that flew to the moon and returned.
— A book from President Franklin D. Roosevelt's substantial miniature book collection.
— The world's two smallest books, each less than one millimeter tall.       

These and other diminutives will delight, fascinate and spark the imagination of visitors to Miniature Books: 4,000 Years of Tiny Treasures. The show will divide some 450 volumes into sections devoted to illuminated manuscripts, the arts of the book, children’s literature, the world’s smallest books, almanacs, oddities, books on life’s pleasures, objets d’art, and books on politics and propaganda. 

Curator Julian I. Edison, a fervent bibliophile, began collecting rare books as an undergraduate at Harvard, and embarked on a collection of miniature books after his wife gave him a tiny nine-volume set of Shakespeare. A Grolier Club member and editor of Miniature Book News for over forty years, Mr. Edison’s decades of writing, research, collecting, and lecturing on miniature books have produced a lively and scholarly exhibition, the culmination of a life-long interest in these diminutive examples of book-making. 

Miniature Books: 4,000 Years of Tiny Treasures will be accompanied by a fully-illustrated survey of miniature books written by Anne C. Bromer, and exhibition curator Julian I. Edison. Published by Harry N. Abrams, Inc. in association with The Grolier Club, the book will be 216 pages, with over 260 full-color illustrations of the books in actual size. Hardcover in dustjacket, the retail price will be $40 for the standard edition, and $150 for a deluxe edition in slipcase, accompanied by a special additional version of the book in miniature. Visitors to the exhibition may purchase copies on site, or they may be ordered directly from Club, 47 East 60th Street, New York, NY 10022, or from Bromer Booksellers, 607 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116. 

Location and times:  Miniature Books: 4,000 Years of Tiny Treasures
is on view at the Grolier Club from May 16 – July 28, 2007, with the exception of May 28 and 29, when the Club is closed for Memorial Day, and July 4 for the Independence Day holiday. Hours:  Monday-Saturday 10 AM – 5 PM. Open to the public free of charge. For more information call the Grolier Club at (212) 838-6690.

For a brief videoclip on the show, visit the Reuters website.

A related exhibition of miniature books, curated by Anne C. Bromer, will be held in the Cheverus Gallery of the Boston Public Library May 2-September 2, 2007. 

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