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Archives and Special Collections: Miniature Books

An introduction to the materials available in Clark University's Archives and Special Collections.

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The miniature Autobiography of Robert Goddard stands upright, pages open to show Buzz Aldrin's autograph

Miniature Books


Archives and Special Collections has a selection of nearly 1,000 miniature books in many languages, varied sizes, and on a wide range of subjects.  The collection also boasts a copy of each of Achille St. Onge's books, including the first book on the moon.

What makes a book miniature?

In the US, the general size standard for a miniature book is less than 3 inches in height, width, or length.  Some are even smaller!  Outside the US, miniature books may be up to about four inches.

The craft of miniature book making is less about reading the tiny books and more about the skill of the production process.  Some people consider the earliest miniature books to be Sumerian clay tablets, while others point to tiny portable bibles and prayer books as the original.  Visit the Archives to see examples of both!

A flat glass case with miniature books on display in the Rare Book Room

Achille St. Onge

Achille St. Onge poses with two of his miniature books.

Achille St. Onge was a Worcester-based publisher of miniature books.  During his career, he published over 48 miniature books, which are notable for their neat design and uniformly small size. The Archives holds a copy of each of his publications.

The Book that Went to the Moon

Achille St. Onge published a miniature version of The Autobiography of Robert Hutchings Goddard: Father of the Space Age. He gave a copy of it to Buzz Aldrin and asked him to leave it on the moon during the Apollo 11 flight.  Since Aldrin could not leave it behind, he autographed it and gave it to Robert Goddard's wife, Esther Goddard.  This was the first book on the moon.

Esther Goddard gave the book, along with the rest of Goddard's papers, to the Archives and Special Collections.