Iconic books are texts revered as objects of power rather than just as words of instruction, information, or insight. In religious and secular rituals around the globe, people carry, show, wave, touch and kiss books and other texts, as well as read them. This blog chronicles such events and activities. (For more about iconic books, see the links to the Iconic Books Project at left.)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Miniature Emancipation Proclamation

NPR's All Things Considered had an interesting report yesterday on a miniature edition of Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation that was carried by Union soldiers. This report discusses why it was important for soldiers to have a small book to carry (i.e., it is less cumbersome than a scroll!) but I think there must be an iconic aspect to this, as a pamphet edition would probably be more readable. I'd appreciate hearing from others who might know more about this edition, or who have any pictures of the tiny book. NPR's segment is also about an exhibit of miniature books on display at the Grolier Club in New York City.


Jim Watts said...

Several of the other miniatures in the exhibit seem to have been motivated by documentary, more than iconic, motives:
"— A 40-volume set of Shakespeare's works, two inches high and easily readable.
— John F. Kennedy's inaugural address in miniature.
— The first book on contraception, originally published as a miniature, and responsible for a 19th century decline in the British birthrate."
In the last case, I wonder if miniaturization helped women hide the book.

Iyov said...

That same NPR story ended with a comment on a Yiddish miniature supporting Theodore Roosevelt, which reflects an interesting episode in American History, which I have blogged about in the fourth bullet item here.

Your blog is very interesting, and I wish you continued success.

Jim Watts said...

Thanks for pointing out your post (correct link here) noting the Yiddish miniature. Any idea why a miniature was produced, in addition to the usual campaign handbills mentioned in the article you link to?