Miniature Book Society Newsletter 1996 January Page: 1
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Return of Percy Spielmann
ITh ough he only began seriously collect
A ing in his seventies, Percy Edwin
Spielmann (1881-1963) managed to put
together one of the finest collections of
miniature books ever assembled.
Spielmann, a highly respected chemist
and expert on road material and petroleum
products, edited several technical and
trade journals. His father had been a noted
author on bibliophilic subjects.
In a little over a dozen years, Mr.
Spielmann collected 848 miniature volumes,
including 186 almanacs, fifty-four
children's books and thirty dictionaries,
all of them exquisite examples of the printing
Those who saw his collection recalled
that he kept his library beautifully arranged
with great taste and love in eight
small bookcases, one of which was covered
with red morocco and lettered
"Temple of Muses." It was indeed a "splendid
mirror" of the riches of the lilliputian
world of books.
As he acquired each new treasure,
Spielmann carefully indexed and described
the book in question, most often with the
assistance of his good friend, Louis W.
Bondy, a London bookseller.
In 1961, Spielmann decided to publish
a calendar of his holdings. The 289 page
tome was released by Edward Arnold Publishers
under the title Calendar of the Library
of Miniature Books Collected by Percy
Without any question, the catalogue was
and remains the most important reference
tool on the subject of miniature books. It
contains not only a detailed description of
some 550 books, but also historical summaries
about various phases of miniature
Titles are arranged alphabetically, then
cross-referenced by subject, publisher and
place of publication. The book has an extensive
bibliography and several descriptive
essays on almanacs, Bibles, binders,
bookplates, publishers and printers.
Though the entries were composed mostly
by Mr. Bondy, the descriptive summaries
were done entirely by Spielmann.
Shortly after Spielmann's demise, the
books by that time numbering 848 volumes,
were sold at auction at Sothebys,
on July 21, 1964. The entire collection was
purchased by Julian I. Edison of Saint
Louis for $22,960. With the collection went
the voluminous notes made by Spielmann
over the years, thus enabling the purchaser
to launch, the following year, the Miniature
B MINIATURE BOOK
A Quarterly Publication of the Miniature Book Society, Inc.
New Series, Number 28 ISSN 0894-5489 January 1996
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Miniature Book Society. Miniature Book Society Newsletter 1996 January, periodical, Date Unknown; Ohio. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc9330/m1/1/: accessed March 30, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Rare Book and Texana Collections.