Miniature Book News #108: 2001 March

GO GO ANNE
The December 2000 issue of
Parenthesis, the Journal of the Fine
Press Book Association, contained
an article by Kenneth Auchincloss
entitled SENSIBLY SIZED SMALL
BOOKS.
The article begins as follows: "I am
partial to small books. (Not
miniatures, which I dislike; they are
bibliostunts, the freak show of the
book arts. Happily, they are so tiny
that they easily get lost.) ...
Anne Bromer of Bromer Booksellers
of Boston " was affronted enough
by this guy's comments about
miniature books that I wrote a letter
to the editor. Someone has to wave
the flag!!"
We commend Anne for her courage
and her superbly written letter,
which, with her permission, we are
reprinting below:
"Dear Crispin,
"I've just had a chance to peruse
the newest (and beautiful) issue of
Parenthssis. Congratulations on
the work you are doing as Editor. I
usually don't write a letter to the
editor, but Ken Auchincloss made
such a strong and negative
statement about miniature books
that I felt compelled to respond.
"Prompted by Kenneth
Auchincloss's statement in his
article "Sensibly Sized Small
Books" that he not only disliked
miniatures but that 'they are
bibliostunts, the freak show of the
book arts...", I thought that his
overreachiing generalization
required a reply. To be sure there
are miniature books which are
tasteless and quirky (as there are in

all sizes and areas of
bookcollecting), but to dismiss an
entire class of bookmaking is just
plain ignorant. Some of the most
distinguished fine presses have
included miniatures in their canon.
Early printers - Jenson, Aldus,
Plantin, Didot - all published books
in a format of less than three inches
(76mm.) in size. These important
bookmakers appreciated the
aesthetics of a small, intimate book
which invites attention to minute
detail.
"Miniature books have been
influential in the range of human
history. When there was
repression in forms of worship,
liturgy was included in a miniature
book. When Abraham Lincoln
declared an end to slavery, he
spread the words of his
Emancipation Proclamation in a
miniature book. Almanacs for daily
planning were printed and used for
three hundred years in 64mo. size.
The Gregorian Calendar itself was
published as a miniature book by
Plantin just three years after its
introduction. From Queen Mary,
who invited St. John Hornby to print
a miniature at the Ashendene Press
for her dollhouse, to F. D. R.,
miniature books have been
associated with royalty and
presidents. Major libraries in this
country and abroad value their
collections of miniatures. Perhaps
a visit to the Grolier Club or the Lilly
Library would introduce Ken
Auchincloss to miniature books of
such important content and
dazzling beauty that he would
rethink his negative opinion.
"Sincerely,

"Anne C. Bromer
Bromer Booksellers, Inc.
books@bromer.com"7

7

Edison, Julian I. Miniature Book News #108: 2001 March. St. Louis, Missouri. UNT Digital Library. http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc9390/. Accessed August 22, 2014.