Many in the Ames and Parks Library communities were saddened to hear of the passing earlier this year of Warren B. Kuhn, former Director and Dean of the library (1967-1989). Dean Kuhn was always a strong supporter of the Special Collections department, which was established at Iowa State University Library early in his tenure as library director (1969). Over the years, he personally donated a number of rare books to Special Collections, strengthening its holdings in the humanities. These include, among others, works by Charles Dickens in their original weekly or monthly parts–Master Humphrey’s Clock (1840-1841), Bleak House (1852-1853), Little Dorrit (1855-1857)–and 32 1st editions of George A. Henty’s (18332-1902) popular adventure novels.
Special Collections and University Archives is again indebted to Dean Kuhn for a final gift of books that he left to our department in his trust. Included in that gift are a number of miniature volumes, which I will highlight in today’s post.
Holy Bible. Novum esu Christi Domini Nostri Testamentum. 1628.
Size: 3 3/16″ x 1 7/8″
This New Testament in Greek is one of the smallest ever printed. This edition is known for its fine Greek type by French printer and type designer Jean Jannon at Sedan.
The Holy Bible. Glasgow: David Bryce & Son, 1896.
Size: 1 11/16″ x 1 1/8″
David Bryce & Son were among the world’s most prolific printers of miniature books using the photolithographic process to print miniature versions of full-size books. This is a tiny facsimile of the Oxford University Press’s Nonpareil 16mo Bible, and it includes illustrations by G.A. Birch.
English Dictionary. Glasgow: David Bryce & Son, [ca. 1893].
Size: 1″ x 3/4″ (book); 1 1/4″ x 7/8″ (case)
This English Dictionary, also published by David Bryce & Son, is claimed to be the smallest English dictionary in the world. This copy is preserved in its original sterling silver case with inset magnifying glass. It is fitted with a tiny ring to be carried on a gentleman’s watch chain.
London Almanack. London: The Company of Stationers, 1790.
Size: 2 9/16″ x 2 5/16″ (book); 2 7/8″ x 2 1/2″ (slipcase)
The Company of Stationers published these miniature almanacks for some 200 years, engraved throughout and often finely bound. Bound with red and blue leather onlays and gold tooling with a matching slipcase. The almanacks contained the phases of the Moon, days of the month, Saints days, and times of High Water at London Bridge.
Iowa State University Library Special Collections and University Archives is so grateful for the support of Warren B. Kuhn throughout his time living in Ames. He will be missed!