Light Reading


Miniature books, most of which are less than three inches tall
and some of which are smaller than a penny, have delighted readers for
centuries. Popular because they were easily carried or concealed, these
historic books range from tiny "Thumb Bibles" to illustrated nursery
rhymes. The earliest piece of block printing to which an accurate date
can be ascribed–a Japanese wooden block print from about 770 AD–is a
miniature scroll and part of the Lilly Library’s collections.


More than 900 of the library’s 16,000 miniatures were on display
in the Library’s Main Gallery from June 18 to September 15, 2001. This
online exhibition pictures a selection of the miniatures displayed in
the exhibition and reproduces the narrative text of the exhibition

400 Years of Miniature Books
At the Lilly Library of Indiana University

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