Small Things of Greatest Consequence: Miniature Bibles in America
This article provides an overview of miniature books designated as “Bibles” that were produced in North America, with a focus on popular nineteenth-century children’s “thumb Bibles.” It examines the intended use of these Bibles, as evidenced in the prefaces to the printed books, as well as the ways that American printers altered their English prototypes and produced new volumes that reflected ideals of childhood and Christian education in the U.S. during the time. The study also addresses how developments in printing technology affected the form, content, and use of miniature Bibles since the end of the nineteenth century.
Author: Dorina Miller Parmenter
A Lady of Cincinnati. 1834. A Child’s Bible with Plates. Cincinnati: Truman, Smith and Company.
Fessenden, Thomas G. 1816. Miniature Bible or Abstract of Sacred History. Battleborough, VT: John Holbrook.
Greeting Card from Mrs. Seiler to Jack Vaughan. 1943. The Portal to Texas History.
Harris, Benjamin. 1717. The Holy Bible in Verse. Boston: John Allen.
“Midget Bible.” 1928. Advertisement in novelty catalog, 375. Racine, WI: Johnson, Smith and Company.
Taylor, John. 1614. Verbum Sempiternum Together with Salvator Mundi. London: Jo. Beale for John Hamman.
The Bible in Miniuture, or a Concise History of the Old & New Testaments. 1780. London: E. Newbery.
The Little Picture Bible for Young Children. 1841. New Haven: S. Babcock.
The World’s Smallest Bible. 1933. Cincinnati: International Company.
Postcard of the World’s Smallest Bible. 1934. Chicago: World’s Fair.
Wood, S. 1811. Bible History. New York.
Adomeit, Ruth E. 1980. Three Centuries of Thumb Bibles: A Checklist. New York: Garland.
Beal, Timothy. 2011. The Rise and Fall of the Bible: The Unexpected History of an Accidental Book. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Bottigheimer, Ruth B. 2004. “Catechistical, Devotional, and Biblical Writing.” In International Companion Encyclopedia of Children’s Literature, Volume 1, Second Edition, edited by Peter Hunt, 299–305. New York: Routledge.
Bromer, Anne C. and Julian I. Edison. 2007. Miniature Books: 4,000 Years of Tiny Treasures. New York: Abrams.
Dalton, Russell W. 2016. Children’s Bibles in America: A Reception History of the Story of Noah’s Ark in U.S. Children’s Bibles. London: Bloomsbury.
de Hamel, Christopher. 2001. The Book: A History of the Bible. London: Phaidon.
Edison, Julian I. 1968. “American Thumb Bibles.” Miniature Book News 12: 2–6.
Fea, John. 2016. The Bible Cause: A History of the American Bible Society. New York: Oxford. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190253066.001.0001
Lacey, Barbara E. 2007. From Sacred to Secular: Visual Images in Early American Publications. Newark: University of Delaware Press.
Metzger, Bruce M. 2004. “Curious Bibles.” In The Oxford Companion to the Bible, edited by Michael D. Coogan and Bruce M. Metzger. Oxford Biblical Studies Online. http://www.oxfordbiblicalstudies.com/article/opr/t120/e0163
Morgan, David. 2005. The Sacred Gaze: Religious Visual Culture in Theory and Practice. Berkley: University of California Press.
Nichols, Chares L. 1926. “The Holy Bible in Verse.” American Antiquarian Society April: 71–82.
Parmenter, Dorina Miller. 2006. “The Iconic Book: The Image of the Bible in Early Christian Rituals.” Postscripts 2: 160–189.
———. 2012. “How the Bible Feels: The Christian Bible as Effective and Affective Object.” Postscripts 8: 27–37.
Stewart, Susan. 1993. On Longing: Narratives of the Miniature, the Gigantic, the Souvenir, the Collection. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
Watts, James W. 2006. “The Three Dimensions of Scriptures.” Postscripts 2: 135–159.
Welch, d’Alté A. 1972. A Bibliography of American Children’s Books Printed Prior to 1821. Worcester, MA: American Antiquarian Society.
Welsh, Doris V. 1987. The History of Miniature Books. Albany, New York: Fort Orange Press.