Header image for the A Day in the Life exhibition. The image is of the display case housing the miniature books that are part of the collection on display.
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John M. Olin Library, Level 1, Miniature Books Case

A Day in the Life

The portability of miniature books makes them perfect for carrying and using throughout daily life. A large portion of the Julian and Hope Edison Collection of Miniature Books consists of genres of books meant for everyday use, such as almanacs, calendars, and diaries. These genres are commonly printed in smaller sizes and often include space intended to make notes.

A miniature almanac dated July, XXXI - or July 31. The left side of the almanac shows printed information about the day, such as the sunrise and fall; the right side of the page was left blank and has handwritten notations done in cursive.
A miniature almanac on view as part of the A Day in the Life exhibition.
The blank page after the title page of a miniature book. The blank page has a sprig of greenery carefully taped to it with a handwritten note beneath that reads "I am yours in gratitude and with ever (underlined) sincere wishes." The note is signed off by an illegible initial.
A miniature book with a personal note on view as part of the A Day in the Life exhibition.

Sometimes readers choose books not intended for daily use, such books with personal significance, to carry with them and to use as a diary or calendar. Previous owners may have written in these books, providing small glimpses into their daily lives.

Notes in books range from a simple name to details about friends and family to important dates and events. Some owners who wrote about their lives are identified through inscriptions or personal information in the books, while others remain anonymous.

An image of the A Day in the Life exhibition which showcases miniature books from the University Libraries Rare Book Collections.
A view of the A Day in the Life exhibition currently on display in John M. Olin Library.

This exhibition was organized by the Curator of Rare Books Cassie Brand along with the Special Collections Catalog Librarian and Russian Studies Librarian Masha Sapp for Washington University Libraries.