More than meets the eye: Open House featuring German miniature books on Oct. 3rd at Stanford Libraries


Dates Duration 
October 3, 2017
1:00pm to 4:00pm
Barchas Room, Department of Special Collections, Green Library
General Public
Stanford University Libraries

To commemorate the German national holiday Tag der Deutschen Einheit (Day of German Unity) on Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017, there will be an Open House in Special Collections from 1:00PM-4:00PM featuring some of the miniature books and materials from the Germanic collections at Stanford Libraries.

Sometimes described as any book under 3” in width or height, a miniature book can reflect any genre and are known to have existed as early as the Middle Ages—their size proving advantageous for travel and, if necessary, for concealment. However, the small scale that defines them can also be used to criticize them as mere novelty items: for example, Carter & Barker’s seminal reference work ABC for Book Collectors describes miniature books dismissively as “books whose principal (usually only) interest lies in their very small size.”

The works on display at this Open House challenge such assumptions about miniature books: these items were created not only to demonstrate their maker’s skill, but also to serve as prayer book or propaganda, as dictionary or dream interpreter, and even to do battle! The tiny size of each book reveals volumes about its creation and its intended uses.

This event is on a drop-in basis, so please feel free to stop by for a quick look or an in-depth examination of the materials on display.

Image caption: Wandrey, Uwe. Kampfreime: Handliche, mit scharfen Kanten ausgestattete Kampfausgabe für die Phase des revolutionaeren Widerstands. Hamburg: Quer-Verlag, 1968.