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Some of the smallest books I have ever seen…

A couple of weeks ago I was wandering around in the rare books again when something made me look twice in disbelief. I had never noticed these before: Miniature books!

According to the Miniature Book Society, these were books measuring no more than three inches in height, width, or thickness. Knowing this, I wondered, were these works tucked away in pockets? Were they really used? The thickness of the books combined with a tight spine made it a little difficult for me to read the ones in the images below, so were these meant to be secretive?

I do have to share one thing that made me laugh because I imagined someone carrying this tiny book to tell the gem of a joke below and hearing nothing but crickets…

The Red Sea
A sailor, who had served on board the Romney, with Sir Home Fopham after returning home from India, finding that wigs were all in the fashion, bespoke a red one, which he sported at Portsmouth, to the great surprise of his companions. On being asked the cause of the change of colours in his hair, he said it was occasioned by his bathing in the Red Sea.
Page 160 from Jack’s kit or, Saturday night in the forecastle.

Anyway, the ones below are not all technically “miniature” books, but they’re tiny nonetheless!

De imperio Magni Mogolis sive India vera commentarius. By Joannes de Laet
DS461 .L15 Rare

The soveraignty of the British seas. Proved by records, history, and the municipall lawes of this kingdome. Written in the yeare 1633. By that learned knight, Sr John Boroughs.
JX4410 .B7 1651 Rare

Jack’s kit, or, Saturday night in the forecastle : being a choice collection of naval songs, nautical jokes, dog watch yarns, and galley witticisms. By an Old Salt ; the whole revised and arranged by Old Comic Elton.
PN6110 .S4 A5 Rare

An apology for idlers, and other essays. By Robert Louis Stevenson
PR 5488 .A1 Rare

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