Before Kindles, This Is How People Carried Around Their Collection Of Books

It may look like just another large text from the outside…

But when opened, three shelves of miniature texts are revealed.

This is one of only four that exist, dating back to 1617.

You might need a microscope to read them, but the books include mostly classical text.

The inside cover features an ornate illustration of columns and arches with text explaining the categories of text found on each shelf.

Three sections: theology and philosophy, history, and poetry.

Included are works by works by Cicero, Virgil, Ovid, Seneca, Horace, and Julius Caesar.

Reportedly, a man named William Hakewill MP commissioned this “Jacobean Kindle” for a friend of his. Within the next five years, Hakewill would go on to commission three more for friends.

Old world meeting new.

The whole thing doesn’t seem too much bigger than an iPad, but quite a bit bulkier.

The other versions can be found housed in the British Library, the Huntington Library in California, and the Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio.

Each of the 50 tiny books are said to be in remarkable condition despite the many years they’ve been around.


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