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Hungarian Miniature Books

Between the 1940s and 1980s, collectors considered Hungary to be one of the finest producers of miniature books. Mini book collectors especially prize Hungarian books for their multilingual nature and rarity. Frequently Hungarian miniatures were printed in small runs and sold only within miniature book clubs or circles. Lilly Toth’s penchant for books in her native language may attest to her pride in her home country and its role in the miniature book market, and has led the Jewish Public Library to hold one of the most extensive collections of Hungarian Miniature Books published in the 1970s and 1980s.

Miniatűr nyomtatványok

This is one of several miniature books by Gyula Janka, the preeminent authority, collector, and creator of Hungarian miniature books, five of which are present in the Toth collection. This book focuses on the history of miniature printing. Like many of Janka’s books, and Hungarian minis more generally, this tiny volume is multilingual, featuring English, German, Hungarian, and Russian text. The JPL is one of only a half dozen institutions in North America to hold this volume. Our copy features an Ex Libris L.T. bookplate, with number 30.

Gyula Janka, Miniatűr nyomtatványok (Budapest: Szépirodalmi Könyvkiadó, 1978).
Toth Collection 3.D.28
See also 1.A.13, 1.B.9, 3.D.26, and 3.D.27

A magyar városok címerei

With text in English, French, German, and Russian, this book published in 1975 presents the history and heraldry of Hungarian cities to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Liberation of Hungary and 25 years of the Hungarian system of councils. It analyzes the development of Hungarian towns, especially after the liberation, and presents the arms of over eighty Hungarian cities in colour illustrations. Our images show the coat of arms of Budapest, the hometown of donor Lilly Toth.

Endre Castiglione, A magyar városok címerei (Budapest: Közgazdasági és Jogi Könyvkiadó, 1975).
Toth Collection 1.B.5

Babits es Tóth Árpád

This small volume is a collection of writings by two Hungarian poets and translators, Árpád Tóth (1886-1928) and Mihály Babits (1883-1941), both known for publishing in the literary journal Nyugat (Hungarian for “west”) as part of its first generation of authors between the journal’s founding in 1908 and the end of the first World War. The Toth Collection includes a large number of volumes of Hungarian poetry and literature, especially works by Babits. This volume is notable for its striking endpapers which feature (printed) handwriting. Only one other institution in North America is known to hold this volume.

Mihály Babits and Árpád Tóth, Babits es Tóth Árpád (Budapest: Ságvari Endre Nyomdaipari Szakközépiskola, 1980).
Toth Collection 1.A.1

Magyarországi zsidó művészet

The Toth Collection includes this Hungarian book as well as two English translations, Hungarian Jewish Art, which detail the history of the Hungarian Jewish Museum in Budapest and include colour stamps of objects in the collection. Like many Hungarian minis, this book was produced in a very limited print run, as detailed on the colophon: only 200 copies were created. This copy is numbered 73 in red ink and features genuine leather binding. Only two other copies are known to exist in libraries in the world, one at Yeshiva University in New York and one at the National Library of Israel.

Ilona Benoschofsky, Magyarországi zsidó művészet (Kaposvár, Hungary: Miniatűr Könyvgyűjtők Klubja, 1985).
Toth Collection 1.D.9
See also Toth Collection 1.D.24 and 1.D.25

Bori notesz

At 19 cm (7.5”) in height, the Bori notesz is neither a miniature nor a macrominiature – but although it does not fit the exacting standards of collectors, it is notably printed by one of Hungary’s most well-known presses for mini books, Helikon Kiadó. The Bori notesz (Bor Notebook) is actually two books: a facsimile and transcription of a manuscript kept by Hungarian poet Miklós Radnóti during the Holocaust before he was murdered which includes his final ten poems. He penned his final poem after a forced march from Bor (Serbia) to Szentikirályszabadja (Hungary). The notebook was buried with Radnóti in a mass grave and discovered ten months later when the grave was exhumed and the bodies identified. Although tragic, this notebook represents Radnóti’s strength of spirit during his forced labour.

Miklós Radnóti, Bori notesz (Budapest: Helikon Kiadó, 1985).
Toth Collection 16.G.11

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