The Smallest Library in the World
The World's Smallest Library
In 2005, the former Mayor of Marktheidenfeld, Dr. Leonhard Scherg brought a very special treasure from Munich: locked into a small case, a part of the "Kaufmann-legacy" designated for Marktheidenfeld. Amalia Erna Kaufmann (1921-2004), living at Munich, had bequeathed some "works of art" in her last will to Marktheidenfeld, one of those "the smallest library in the world", a very special work of art by Valentin Kaufmann.
Valentin Kaufmann was born on November 21st in Lengfurt, close to Marktheidefeld. He became a carpenter and after 1956 worked for the city of Munich; he died on December 27th, 1956. Amalia Erna, the testator, was his daughter.
The World's Smallest Book
The story of the "smallest library in the world" goes like this: In a gregarious group in the year of 1935 the world record in miniature writing was discussed. Incited by a bet, Valentin Kaufmann gets to work and soon breaks the world record. On a postcard, which is also part of the legacy, "no. 6", he places incredible 12,515 letters, 2,252 words and 30 figures. Apart from postcards, on which the content of an entire newspaper was placed, Kaufmann wrote on matchsticks, buttons and stamps and ended up writing entire books, miniature books. Like this, the smallest library was compiled over the years. Each of the eleven books is bound in leather, has a lock, gilt-edging and is place - apart from one - in an individual casing. One of them, "the smallest book in the world" fits into a hazelnut. It measures 9,5 x 7.5 mms. On 94 of 98 pages, in 720 lines, with 7,167 letters, Kaufmann describes 4 incidents: the construction of the Frauenkirche, the development of the Oktoberfest, the casting of the Bavaria (a Famous iron statue in Munich) and the composition of the Munich folk song "The Old Peter"!.
Kaufmann earned international renown with his writing art and considerable offers were made. But he could not part with his works of art. One of his miniature books with documents and texts on the history of the city of Munich was given to Pope Pius XII as a present. He had it displayed at the Vatican Museum next to the biggest book in the world. At his time, there were several exhibitions of his books, received with much interest, one of them in November 1951 for his 60th birthday at his home town Lengfurt.
The World's Smallest Library
Apart from the eleven miniature books, the matches, buttons, stamps and postcards, the Marktheidenfeld legacy consist also of a large number of fotografs, newspaper reports, documents and work material. The legacy is kept inside the city archive.
Since 2005, part of the collection, e.g. the eleven miniature books, is permanently displayed in a showcase at Franck-Haus. The displays are open for visitors during the opening hours of the temporary exhibitions in the gallery area.