The University of Iowa Libraries

Special Collections

The Charlotte M. Smith Collection of Miniature Books

Miniature Dictionary Publishers

Return to: 20th Century U. S. Imprints in the Smith Collection

The portion of this website in front of you brings together in preliminary fashion a variety of lists and descriptions for United States Miniature Books published during the Twentieth Century. This page describes titles held by the University of Iowa Libraries for the press or publisher described below.

The New York Times of September 19, 1996 contains an obituary for Jacques Minkus, who died a few days earlier at the age of 94, which mentions briefly his brother Morris.  The two brothers developed a line of miniature dictionaries for sale in chain stores, but Jaques left that partnership when he married in 1930 and made a fortune more or less singlehandedly popularlizing the collecting of postal stamps. Julian Edison followed up the obituary with further information in an article in Miniature Book News #90: 1996 September (St. Louis, 1996). Edison notes that the dictionaries mentioned were published around 1925 and were “often sold for advertising purposes with the name of the advertiser (hotel, bank, store, etc.) stamped in gold on the back cover.”  Doris Welsh, in her History of Miniature Books (1987), notes a 1926 catalog issued by the firm and remarks that the dictionaries were modeled on the extensive line of “Lilliput Series” published by Schmidt & Gunther in Leipzig soon after 1900 and continued by Langenscheidt in the same size and appearance. In addition to the dictionaries, the firm published a number of classics in miniature form.  Edison’s article contains a bit more information about the books.

Miniature Dictionary Publishers

M. Minkus, Sole Agent

7 West 42nd Street

New York City

The following books are printed on India paper,
and bound uniformly in wrap around leather with a snap closure. The outer
leaves have been pasted to the flesh side of the leather, and the leather
has been gold-stamped with author and title just above the closure. None
are dated. The books are 1 1/2 x 2 1/8 inches and about 3/4th inch
thick. All of these books are the gift of Carol Kapell
in memory of Pauline B. Deems.

The Arabian Nights Entertainments.

Cervantes. Don Quixote.

de Maupassant, Guy. Love and Other Stories.

The Golden Treasury of English Songs.

Milton, John. Paradise Lost.

Shakespeare, William. Hamlet and MacBeth.

The following books are bound in brown leather, with gold stamped spines and red-colored edges. They are in gold-colored slipcases. None are dated. The books are 1 1/2 x 2 1/8 inches and about 3/4th inch
thick. All of these books are the gift of Carol Kapell
in memory of Pauline B. Deems.

de Maupassant, Guy. Love and Other Stories.

Jacob, Gerh., PhD. The Little Webster.