Recently I discovered a charming little item in the Rare Books Room. It’s what appears to be a tiny book, less than 3 inches high.
Although quaint, it is not all that unusual in the NSLM collection. We have quite a few miniature books, particularly a collection of Compleat Anglers that contains a number of diminutive editions. However, when I opened this book, I got a bit of a surprise. It is actually a lovely color map of, and guide to, the Puckeridge Hunt territory. Ahead of the folded map there are twelve pages of text.
The first section gives distances to various meet sites.
The second lists inns that have facilities to handle hunter horses.
Finally, railway stations servicing the area are listed.
Then comes the map.
The paper is mounted to a fabric backing making the map sturdy and easy to unfold. When unfolded it measures 7 x 8.5 inches. In addition to the usual roads, towns, and landmarks, the map shows 32 meet sites used by The Puckeridge Hunt, across Essex and Hertfordshire.
Although its tiny size and sturdy construction indicate that this was a utilitarian item, meant to be carried and used while in the saddle, that doesn’t preclude a touch of style.
The red cloth cover is decorated with a gilt pictorial vignette depicting a horseman clearing a fence, making this little map an eye catching accessory. It certainly caught my eye when I opened the clamshell case that it’s stored in at the Library. These little surprises are one of my favorite things about working with the NSLM collections.
Erica Libhart has served as the Mars Technical Services Librarian at the National Sporting Library & Museum (NSLM) since early 2016. The focus of her position is collection services, working to increase accessibility to NSLM’s collection of books, periodicals, and archival materials. The NSLM collections span over 350 years of the history of equestrian sport, as well as fly fishing, wing shooting, and other field sports. Have a question? Contact Erica by e-mail