Patricia Pistner to showcase rare texts and bindings at Grolier Club

A Matter of Size: Miniature Texts & Bindings From the Collection of Patricia J. Pistner:

Thousands of years before books were contained within a hand-held digital tablet, there were cuneiform tablets no bigger than the size of a quarter.  Beginning March 5, 2019, at the Grolier Club, in New York City, Patricia J. Pistner will showcase from her personal collection more than 275 rare diminutive texts and bindings from around the world and created over the span of 4,500 years in sizes ranging from four inches to less than one millimeter. The exhibit, “A Matter of Size: Miniature Texts & Bindings From the Collection of Patricia J. Pistner,” is a unique opportunity to view miniature texts and bindings dating from 2500 BCE. 

The exhibit is curated by Pistner, along with Jan Storm van Leeuwen, former keeper of rare bindings at the Royal Library in The Hague and a Rare Book School (Virginia) instructor. A collector of miniature books for over 30 years, Pistner’s love for very small tomes began at the age of seven when she began “publishing” tiny books for her first doll house. Years later, as an adult, her passion was reignited after being inspired to fill the small library shelves of her fine-scale miniature French townhouse she had commissioned with minuscule, printed books.  More about her dollhouse can be learned from the publication; The Pistner House: A Master of Miniature, Amber Publishing. 

“The plan to fill that library with real, readable, printed miniature books was a life-changing decision that led to the goal that I pursue with the greatest passion: assembling the most aesthetically compelling, representative samples of the history of the book in the smallest formats, from the time of the earliest cuneiform tablets to artist’s books and design bindings of today,” says Pistner. “My intention with this exhibit is for each person to begin to understand how important these tiny tomes are, not only to me, but also to their previous owners. These books form a tangible connection to the past with all of those who advanced the design of the book, including the authors, tradesmen, artists, dealers and collectors who appreciated and undertook the challenge of making miniature books.  My hope is that my fellow bibliophiles find tomes here that will spark their interest and lead to an increased respect for the format.”

We encourage you to plan to put some time on your schedule to visit the exhibit, as it will certainly be a once-in-a-lifetime event to view so many tomes across such a wide perspective of time and importance. The exhibit will run through May 19, 2019.

The Grolier Club
47 East 60th Street 
New York, NY 10022 

Maya SteinComment