Muriel at the type of printing press she used when first producing her miniature books. This required setting type by hand, locking the type form in the press, inking the press, inserting individual sheets of paper, and levering the press. She now uses an iMac.
Photo by John Dunlevy.
Muriel Underwood
Muriel began making her books in 1990. She has designed, printed, and bound about three dozen books, mostly miniature size 2 3/4 inches by 3 inches, on a variety of subjects. Most of the text is from outside sources; a few she has written herself. She uses a variety of illustrations, some of which she creates.

Muriel was born in 1923 in Chilicothe, Illinois, to a railroad engineer and a housewife. After high school she worked as a mimeograph operator at a General Mills sales office in Chicago. Looking for something more exciting, she joined the U.S. Marine Corp. in 1943 but ended up as a mimeograph operator at a base in San Diego. She continues to be involved in the Women Marines Association and serves as president of the local chapter. She also edits their newsletter.

After discharge from the Marines in 1946, she attended the Art Institute of Chicago. From there she began working as an art director at a textbook publisher. In 1970 she began freelancing in graphic design. She is also a member of the Caxton Club of Chicago, the Civil War Round Table of Chicago, and the Stephen A. Douglas Society. She volunteers at the Newberry Library summer book sale.

Muriel is a member of the Miniature Book Society and regularly attends their annual meetings.

Flora's Gift
2012

Bivouac of the Dead
2005

San Diego
2008

Sugar and Gold
2008

X LIB
2008

The Big Raccoon
2007

Centaur
2011

Fearsome Critters
1990

In Every Book a Little Truth
2008

Herbert Hoover
2012


Lincoln-Douglas Debates
2012

Quotes Attributed to Mr. Lincoln
2009

The Manure Salesman
2011

Columbus
2012

Incident of the Book in the Night-time

Shoes 1871
2007

Developing Social Skills
2012

The Type Louse
2000

Kitty Jones and Nature Study
2010


Railroad Jargon
2011

S
The Long and the Round

2009

The Golden Rule
2008

Authorella
2008

On Reading and Writing
2008

Just as Leaf

21 October 2009
2009

On Dining
2002

A Little Bit About Punctuation and Other Funny Marks
1995


Just a Light Snack
2009

Junk
2009

An Abecedarium
2005

It's on my Official Permanent Record
2011

The Christmas Squirrel and the Thanksgiving Penguin

Mary Katherine Goddard
2010

Oh, You Beautiful
1998

Why I Want to be a Marine Cadet
2009

Helen's Gate
2011