Happy Miniature Monday!
Here is a copy of Galileo a Madama Cristina de Lorena, published in 1896 by the Salmin Brothers in Padua, Italy. The text was originally written by Galileo Galilei in 1615 to the Duchess Christina, and was an attempt to show that Copernicanism could be aligned with the doctrines of the Catholic Church. Through writing to Christina, Galileo hoped to address a secondary audience of philosophers, mathematicians, and the politically powerful, with the ultimate goal of dissuading the religious authorities from condemning Copernicus (Dietz Moss,Galileo’s Letter to Christina: Some Rhetorical Considerations).
On top of the fascinating content, here is another interesting fact about this book that should excite all you Mini Monday fans out there. This edition from the Salmin Brothers is 18 x1 0 mm in size, and printed with hand-set type, which makes it (what it currently believed to be) the smallest book ever printed with movable, hand-set type. The typeface used is called “flies’ eyes”, and was cut by Antonio Farina in 1834. We have another miniature printed with this typeface here, although it’s not as tiny. According to a Miniature Book Society Newsletter from 2002, “it took one month to print thirty pages” of Letter to Christina due to the difficulty of working so small. Indeed, the text is so minute that it was pretty hard to get decent photos of the letters—I recommend coming by to see it to get the full effect. Thus, this little book holds a pretty high place in both the history of printing and miniature books.
Galilei, Galileo. Galileo a Madama Cristina de Lorena. Padua: Salmin Brothers, 1896. The Charlotte M. Smith Miniatures Collection, Uncatalogued.
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