world's smallest book .9 by .9 millimeters: The Chameleon
http://www.uc.edu/ profiles/ palkovic.htm
CCM Librarian Mark Palkovic Owns The World's Smallest Book
Date: Oct. 25, 2002
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos by Dawn Fuller and Dottie Stover
Mark Palkovic, his book and certificate
Mark Palkovic, head librarian for the College-Conservatory of Music Library, owns a prized possession that's bringing him world fame. Guinness World Records has confirmed that Palkovic is the owner of the smallest book in the world. Palkovic's book, Chekhov's Chameleon, measures just .9 by .9 millimeters, not much larger than a grain of salt. Amazingly, this miniscule book has 30 pages and three color illustrations. The print cannot be read by the naked eye, but Palkovic keeps another larger copy of the book, still measuring just a tiny 2 by 1.8 centimeters, nearby.
Palkovic now has a certificate of authenticity from Guinness, respected worldwide for its verification of world records. He was also honored at the Miniature Book Society Grand Conclave that was held in Covington in October. Image Palkovic's book
"There are only 100 of these books that were published," says Palkovic. "Fifty were published in English (Palkovic has the English version) and 50 in Russian. I have copy number 16 of the English version."
Palkovic is treasurer of the Miniature Book Society, an international group founded in Ohio in 1983. The North Avondale resident's fascination with miniature books began back in 1979 when he worked as a cataloguer at Auburn University Library in Alabama. "I came into work one morning, and there was this little pink thing laying on the floor. I thought it was an eraser. When I went to pick it up, I saw it was this tiny book and I just became fascinated with them."
Palkovic says a nearby dollhouse shop carried miniature books, many of which were published by Mosaic Press in Cincinnati. He became friends with Mosaic Press proprietor Miriam Irwin when he moved to Cincinnati in 1981. He even wrote the text for a miniature book, titled Musical Boxes, published by Mosaic Press in 1983.
Miniature books can range in price from a 10-cent gumball machine copy to the valuable books that are trimmed in gold and bound in leather. "I have a beautiful Russian book that's partly bound in leather and partly bound in fish skin. book and certificate
"Miniature books appeal in two areas for collectors," Palkovic explains, "both as art objects and for their intellectual content. The thing that's appealing to me is that a miniature book is a very personal thing to collect. You must handle them to appreciate them."
He adds that even the cheap gumball miniature books can grow in value as they grow in age. Palkovic says he recently purchased a couple of books that had once been the prize in a Cracker Jack box. "They're titled, Hello, 1980, and they were printed in the early 70s, and they have stories about how advanced we would be in 1980. One of the things mentioned is that a special powder would be created to keep you from burning your food. When you burn your fried eggs, you just sprinkle on the powder, and they aren't burned anymore."
As for the tiniest book in the world, Palkovic does not just let it sit in its decorative collector's box. Even though it's as small as a little grain of salt, he has to take it out and look at the book, bound in gold and silk. "If you ever get a miniature book, you will never lose it," he says. "You may not be able to find it for awhile, but you'll come across it again. You just tend to put it somewhere safe because it's a treasured little thing."
Tags: world's smallest book millimeters The Chameleon
Added: 1 year ago
The UC Archives and Rare Books Library Presents ...
The World's Smallest Book
[Mark Palkovic is addressing the audience while standing in front of the cabinet containing the world's smallest book]
MARK PALKOVIC: So the world's smallest book, from the certificate here is actually, we have two copies here for you to look at. This is the library's copy here.
[he holds up a tiny case]
MARK PALKOVIC: And, as Kevin said, it's "Chameleon." Uh, "The Chameleon," by Chekhov. And this one is in English. Uh, the copy that I bought several years ago actually has both English and Russian.
[he holds up another tiny case]
MARK PALKOVIC: You can see the little strip of paper here. Actually, those are the pages. Unbound, uncut. So you could actually see the layout of the book. And you can use the magnifying glass, but I'm not sure that'll really help you much. The book itself is actually glued down on the end of the strip of paper. So what I have here is the English version of the book, and it's copy number sixteen out of fifty.
[he points to the library copy on the table]
MARK PALKOVIC: And I don't know what copy number we have, do you remember?
[someone off-camera says "Thirty four"]
MARK PALKOVIC: Thirty four. So the library's copy thirty four, I've got copy sixteen out of fifty. There were also fifty copies done in Russian, and of course we don't have those. But I do have the pages from the Russian book here, but it's not been bound. There's a larger version of it here, that you actually could read ...
The smallest ever printed book measures 0.9 x 0.9 mm and is an edition of "Chameleon" by the Russian author Anton Chekhov. The book was made and published by Anatoli Konehko, of Omsk, Siberia, Russia in 1996. Each book consists of 30 pages, has three colour illustrations and 11 lines of text to a page.
What did Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Joséphine de Beauharnais (the first wife of Napoleon Bonaparte) and Stanley Marcus of the Neiman Marcus department store dynasty have in common? All were enchanted with the miniature book.
That was just one revelation in this month's "50 Minutes – One Book" lunchtime lecture, sponsored by the University of Cincinnati's Archives and Rare Books Library. Mark Palkovic, head of the Albino Gorno Memorial Music Library, gave a talk on the world's smallest book, the Anton Chekov short story, "The Chameleon." Palkovic, who owns the world's smallest book, also showed the certificate from Guinness World Records that confirms that the .9 by .9 millimeter book – not much larger than a grain of salt – is indeed the smallest in the world. UC's Rare Books Collection also has a copy among the 300 miniature books housed in its collection.
Palkovic, who is also president of the Miniature Book Society, said that miniature books appeal to collectors, binders, printers and writers. But the discussion also revealed that miniature books could actually protect people from religious persecution when they could be easily hidden in a pocket. They could protect people from embarrassment as well, as some miniature books publish erotica.
Palkovic brought along some other miniature books from his personal collection, including a heart-shaped book with Benjamin Franklin's advice to his son about choosing a mistress.
Regardless of the content, Palkovic told the attendees that if they ever receive a miniature book as a gift, it's highly unlikely they'll ever give it away. "You might place it somewhere for safekeeping and forget where you put it, but you'll keep it," he said.
Kevin Grace, head of the Archives & Rare Books Library and University Archivist, said UC's miniature books collection has drawn student researchers from the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP), the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences (A&S) Department of English, and students from the UC College of Business who have looked at the collection while exploring the publishing industry. The oldest miniature book that's housed in the Rare Books Collection is an almanac dating back to the 1830s.
Palkovic will be attending a Miniature Book Society Conclave in Dublin, Ireland this summer, where collectors from around the world will meet and share their love and enthusiasm for miniature books.