Books the Size of Your Fingernail

UCR Library opens “The Magic of Miniature Books” exhibition on Jan. 17

“The Magic of Miniature Books” exhibition will be on display at the Tomas Rivera Library starting Jan. 17.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( – Bring your best pair of reading glasses – you’ll need them. The University of California, Riverside Library will host “The Magic of Miniature Books” exhibition Jan. 17 through March 30.

“Miniature books have a long and interesting history, with the earliest miniatures created approximately 4,000 years ago in Mesopotamia,” said Cherry Williams, the director of Distinctive Collections at UCR Libraries. “The books have been popular throughout history, being recognized early on as a format that can be effortlessly carried about, hung from a belt or even easily concealed.”

By the 19th and 20th centuries, Williams said, books from nearly every genre were available as miniatures. These genres included classic fiction, artists’ books, dictionaries, almanacs, Bibles and prayer books, children’s books and non-fiction works such as fishing guides.

The exhibition has two components. The first features about 30 miniature books from the Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) section of the Tomas Rivera Library at UCR. Books featured vary from tiny volumes of novels such as, “The Cat Who Loved Christmas,” to a copy of “The Lord’s Prayer,” that is smaller than your pinky fingernail, to a miniature version of Thomas More’s “Utopia” that measures about 2 by 3 inches.

Some of the other books on display include “Jack be Nimble and Other Rhymes,” printed in 1987, and “El Libro de la Misa Para uso de la Incancia,” a Catholic service book printed in Spanish from 1861.

Books featured vary from tiny volumes of novels, to books that are smaller than your pinky fingernail, and some that measure to about 2 by 3 inches.

“As a result of putting these items on display, we hope that our viewers will return often to visit Special Collections at a future date, and discover additional interesting materials available for their use in the SCUA reading room,” Williams said.

The second component is a traveling exhibition UCR is hosting on behalf of the Miniature Book Society (MBS). MBS is an international organization that works to sustain an interest in miniature books.

Williams said the traveling exhibition highlights winners of the annual MBS competition, and showcases modern masterpieces and historic examples of miniature books. Williams hopes the traveling component promotes MBS grant opportunities, which enable students to pursue study in miniature books.

“The Magic of Miniature Books” traveling exhibition will be on display on the first floor of the Rivera Library, while the display of selected items from SCUA will be available on the 4th floor of the Rivera Library in the Special Collections reading room. For more information, contact Cherry Williams,

Media Contact

Tel: (951) 827-5893
Twitter: mojgansherkat

Additional Contacts

Cherry Williams

Related Links

Archived under: Arts/Culture, , , , , , ,

Top of Page