Golden Thoughts from Great Authors

by Phoebe Chin Archivist

The IGS Archives is home to many interesting stories. One of our stories is the microminiature book, Golden Thoughts from Great Authors. This book forms part of the Special Collections donated to the Bibliothèque in 2020 by Dr Anthony Miller, former Chair of the Department of English at the University of Sydney. Not just a pretty bijou object (but yes, a real book!) Golden Thoughts was published at the turn of the twentieth century in Glasgow by David Bryce and is an example of the Victorian self-help genre, compiling philosophy quotes from various writers in history. Bryce used the technological advances that came with the Industrial Revolution, particularly photolithography. Photolithography used light and chemicals to transfer tiny patterns between different surfaces, without the need to typeset or engrave the content manually. This allowed him to reduce existing plates to miniscule formats. This skill and his connection with Oxford University Press allowed him to prolifically produce the smallest books in the world at that time. Collecting miniature versions of literature became highly popular, an ideal gift both practical and novel. By gifting it to IGS, Dr Miller intended to encourage students to explore history simply through words: “Literature has evolved through time and taken on different forms. Think of Shakespeare’s plays, the personal epics of Wordsworth, and TS Eliot’s poetry of 20th Century urban life […] It draws you into these contexts. It expands your understanding of our culture.”

Thank you to the Director of the Bibliothèque Patrice Marchbank for sharing this Special Collections item.


Do you have an item with a story you wish to place in the Archives? Write to Phoebe Chin at for information on how you can donate.


Byrne, S. 2017, Miniature books bound to impress, 2017 Australian National Bookbinders Conference, March 25-27, Canberra. <>

Cooper, A. 2017, ‘Miniature books and microchips’, Research Collections at Trinity, Retrieved 2024-02-13. <>