Arts & Leisure

Itty Bitty Exhibit at Davis Library

Photo by Paul Dahm

Tiny books fit well into the hands of small children, they are easy to carry in your pocket (or even around your neck), and they feel special by virtue of their size. Depending on who you ask, not everyone agrees on which books qualify as “miniature.” While many serious collectors maintain a strict 7.6 cm height rule, the curators at Middlebury College’s Davis Library (and the Library of Congress) consider all books 10 cm in height or less to be miniature books. 

To show off some of these magnificent minis, Kaitlin Buerge (2013 Middlebury College grad) and director and curator of Special Collections and Archives Rebekah Irwin put together a special “Itty Bitty” exhibit.

The books in this exhibit date from the 17th to the 21st century and measure between 1.8 and 10 cm tall. Ranging from religious manuscripts to cookbooks, children’s books, and Shakespeare, the variety of tiny books on display begs you to take a closer look and wonder why and how they came to be. 

Visitors are not currently allowed in Davis Family Library, so if you can’t see this in person (on the main level, on the lower level in the Periodical Reading Area, and in the entry of special collections), you’re able to view the exhibit virtually at go.middlebury.edu/tinybooks.

The photos of the tiny texts were taken by Paul Dahm and hand models include: Huthefa Abdullahi Maalim (‘24.5), Bailey Sneed (‘22.5), Abdulrahman (Abed) Abbas (‘24), Katie van der Merwe (‘22), and Kaitlin Buerge (‘13).

The exhibit will be on view through spring 2022.

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