While working in the State Library’s Special Collections Department recently, I came across a book that is so tiny it looks like it belongs in a dollhouse. The book, Addresses of Abraham Lincoln, measures a mere 7/8 of an inch in height and was published in 1929 by the Kingsport Press Training Division in Kingsport, Tennessee, as a student exercise.
According to the book’s preface, the idea to create a miniature book originated with the students at the Training Division as an exhibit to be submitted to the Employing Bookbinders of America convention, held in Boston in 1928. The students chose Lincoln’s addresses for the subject matter of the book because of the addresses’ “high literary value” and also because “no author using the English language has ever excelled Lincoln in putting a large amount of human feeling within the compass of a few words.” The tiny book went on to win first prize at the convention.
Smaller than a postage stamp, Addresses of Abraham Lincoln was touted as the smallest book in America when it was published. To put the book’s size in context, the following image shows the miniature book lying on top of one of the State Library’s largest books, a volume of John James Audubon’s Birds of America, which is a double elephant folio size measuring 38 inches in height.