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USask’s tiny book collection spans from Shakespeare’s Macbeth to Sun Tzu’s Art of War to Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. (Photo: Chris Morin)

Small books tell big stories

While the phenomenon of the tiny book is largely a product of a bygone era, the University of Saskatchewan (USask) Archives and Special Collections has several of these miniature marvels in its collection, from Shakespeare’s Macbeth to Sun Tzu’s Art of War.

The diminutive documents range in size, from a book that would fit snugly in hand to something smaller than a paperclip. Several of the books are so minute that you would need a magnifying glass to actually read them, according to David Bindle, Special Collections librarian at USask.

The collection includes a Bible so small that it comes in a metal case which has a built-in magnifying glass to help the reader see the print. The book, which Bindle said was published in 1901, is almost completely illegible without the glass, but helps tell a story beyond the words in its pages.

“This piece is an example of an early experimentation in photolithographic reduction, a process in which the publishers were able to take a regular-sized printed book and shrink the print down to miniscule proportions through an optical system,” said Bindle.

Read more at USask news.

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