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From the Archives: The oddity of the Boyer Small Books Collection

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Carol "Connie" Boyer was a genealogical researcher and head of cataloguing at the Denver Public Library until her retirement in 1988. She continued to gather information on her family's ancestry and, in 2006, donated her work to the library, which now houses the Boyer Family Genealogy in the Western History Collection. But there is a small piece of Boyer's life that didn't seem to fit with the DPL -- and that worked out for the Auraria Library Special Collections Department, which had the perfect square foot of space for this shoebox-sized series.

See also: - From the Archives: Degrees of separation from Thomas Hornsby Ferril's autograph - From the Archives: Stan Brakhage rants about bad art - From the Archives: The prison poetry of Minoru Yasui

Along with researching her own genealogy and self-publishing her findings for posterity, Boyer had an affinity for collecting miniature books -- and those books are now part of the Auraria archives. Rosemary Evetts, archivist in the Special Collections Department, stores them together in a box, because they couldn't very well be stacked on the shelf.

The items in the collection vary widely; some are predictable, like gift editions of Christmas stories. Others are carefully edited prints of well-known literary works, such as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem Hiawatha, William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream and this small collection of works by Edgar Allan Poe -- just in time for the Halloween season: A series of "Lilliput" dictionaries, so the right word is always in your pocket: The word "Lilliput" is originally from Jonathan Swift's novel Gulliver's Travels -- it is Swift's name for a country inhabited by people six inches tall.

Another piece is this heavily trimmed-down volume of Audobon's Birds. The real Birds of America consists of multiple volumes and holds the record for the most expensive printed book ever sold at auction.

Some of the books are not what they appear. This one is a music box that plays music from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker:


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