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 Collection
Identifier: GB 7A

Miniature Fine Press and Artists' Book Collection

Dates

  • 1940-2000

Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of more than 980 miniature books issued by private presses or made by artists. Most are less than three inches in any dimension, which is the standard measure used in the United States to define a book as miniature. Some of these are artists' books, with creative formats and design that stretch the concept of books into the realm of art objects. Others are in the tradition of fine printing or binding, but on a miniature scale. These books are characterized by handmade paper and illustration, letterpress printing, fine binding and other examples of craftsmanship. The collection primarily consists of books created or published in the United States from 1940 through 2000, although there is also a significant sample of international presses. The bulk of the collection was donated by Alden Jacobs, Rutgers class of 1940, and added to when funding permitted. Other miniature books, including donations by Alden Jacobs can be found in our collections.

Collection Highlights

Artists’ books are among the most exciting works in the collection, and show off the creative ingenuity of the artists who explored the expressive potential of the miniature format. Suzanne Smith Pruchnicki (Bronte Press) illustrates her hand-printed-and -bound books with original watercolors, often on handmade paper. Carol Schwartzott uses both hand-colored illustrations and accordion formats in her work. Lloyd L. Nielson of Juniper Von Phitzer creates in both the traditional mode and in unique artist formats that bring texture, interaction and discovery to the experience of “book.” The collection includes unbound sample pages and marbled paper for Shadrach S. Stevens' Salutatory Speculations from Juniper Von Phitzer. Jane Conneen (Little Farm Press) uses a range of techniques from accordion formats and 3D images to etched plates and hand-colored illustrations. Pat Baldwin (Pequeño Press) designs books that require interaction and manipulation, making use of the accordion format. The collection includes page proofs, mockups and other pieces that show the creation process of a book in miniature format: Epaminondas, created by Pequeño Press. Peter and Donna Thomas stretch the structure and texture of books with illustration, handmade paper, unique bindings and book shapes that comment on and interpret the content. Maryline Poole Adams (Poole Press) is another artist using handmade paper, handset type and hand-drawn illustrations in her work. Carol Cunningham (Sunflower Press) combines handmade paper, unique bindings and hand-drawn illustrations in her books. Other presses that experiment with illustration and format include never mind the press, Rebecca Press, REM Miniatures and Tabula Rasa Press.

Also notable are the more traditional codex books that exhibit fine materials and binding styles. No better example of this can be found than the works of Bela Blau and his wife Marianna Blau, whose detail and finish are technically remarkable, particularly considering the challenges of the miniature format. Their work can be found under their own press name Bela and Mariana Blau as well as among the publications of Black Cat Press, Bob Young, Dawson's Book Shop, Dawson-Ganske, Santa Barbara Mission Archive-Library, Santa Susanna Press and Press in the Gatehouse.

A number of presses have engaged in what might be termed “extreme miniaturization” by producing books of one inch or less in size. Examples of this work can be found in the work of Kingsport Press, Mosaic Press, Pennyweight Press, Randle, REM Miniatures and Trader’s Press. A number of international presses also produce “extreme miniatures,” including Editions Montparnasse, Editions Quebec, Graphische Fachgrosshandlung Waldmann & Pfitzner, Lilliput Press and Roger Huet.

References

Alembic Press website: http://www.alembicpress.co.uk/Alembooks/Minlist.htm

Bradbury, Robert C. Twentieth Century United States Miniature Books. No. Clarendon, VT: The Microbiliophile, 2000

Google Books

Lilliput Press website: http://www.lilliput.co.uk

Lorson Books website: http://www.lorsonbooksandprints.com

Miniature Book News

Omar Khayyam Nederland website: http://www.omarkhayyamnederland.com/archives/articles/miniature-editions.html

University of Iowa. On line finding aid for The Charlotte M. Smith Collection of Miniature Books: http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/sc/smith/

Worldcat website: http://www.worldcat.org/

Extent

11 record cartons

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

This collection encompasses artists' books and examples of fine printing and binding, all executed in a miniature format.

Arrangement Note

The most significant effort to categorize 20th century miniature books, and identify associated artists, publishers and presses is Robert C. Bradbury’s Twentieth Century United States Miniature Books. We have relied on his work in organizing this collection, dividing it into three series. The first series includes the presses that Robert C. Bradbury covers; the second series comprises other domestic fine presses that Bradbury omits; the last series lists international fine presses. The "Bradbury" and "International Fine Press" titles are arranged by press, generally by the first letter of the press name, rather than the last name of the owner (example: Achille J. St. Onge alphabetized as "A"). Within each press list, titles are listed by year of publication; if two or more titles are issued the same year, these have been arranged alphabetically according to author or title. Titles with no date are provided at the end of each press listing. Titles issued in boxed sets are listed together. Those in the "Non-Bradbury Other Fine Press" category are listed by year of publication and alphabetically within each year.

Each title description includes book height and width, measured in inches, and a brief description of the binding. For publishers described in the Bradbury work, we have quoted from Bradbury's comments and cited Twentieth Century United States Miniature Books.

Related Collections

The Early Miniature Books Collection

The Commercial and Other Miniature Books Collection

A miniature book case and ephemera from both Alden Jacobs’ collection and a 1999 exhibition of his collection at the Rutgers University Library are not itemized here, but are included in Box 2 of this collection.


The Children's Miniature Books Collection

Nineteenth Century Children's Chapbook Collection

Title
Guide to the Miniature Fine Press and Artists' Book Collection
Author
Elizabeth M. Phillips and Deborah Friedman
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English.