The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Black Monday: the Great Solar Eclipse of 1652

In all the excitement of yesterday’s solar eclipse, you may have learned that eclipses are common: most calendar years have four eclipses (two solar and two lunar), with a maximum of seven eclipses (though this is rare).1 What makes a solar eclipse special, at least for some people, is when it takes place at a time and in a place where we are able to experience near or complete totality—when the entire face of the sun is covered by the moon.… Continue Reading

A New Era: The Folger Now Uses Aeon!

Arrive at the Folger and grab a locker. Check in at the Registrar desk. Find that perfect spot in the Reading Room—not too cold, with just the right amount of light. Say hello to the wonderful staff and pick up a stack of call slips. Fill them out and let the research begin! Now imagine checking into the Reading Room and stopping by the circulation desk to pick up the books you already requested before your visit.… Continue Reading

How to Make a Librarian Panic

Co-authored by Elizabeth DeBold (Curatorial Assistant), Renate Mesmer (Head of Conservation), Austin Plann Curley (Book Conservator), and Adrienne Bell (Book Conservator). With special thanks to Kevin Cilurzo (Conservation Intern).   As some of our respondents observed in their comments on this month’s Crocodile Post, there is a strange-looking deposit on the leather of this book. The book is, as others correctly identified, one of the volumes from the Folger’s multi-volume set of Famiglie celebri Italiane…, an eighteenth-century work published in Torino, which focuses on Italian heraldry.… Continue Reading

“What manner o’thing is your crocodile?”: August 2017

We’re in the heat of summer (at least here in Washington D.C.) as we approach the end of July. So to help everyone cool off (or at least provide a distraction), we’ve pulled another Crocodile Mystery from our vaults. Tell us, if you would, what exactly is going on in this picture below: As always, leave your thoughts and guesses in the comments below, and we’ll be back next week with the answer.… Continue Reading

I learned to read Secretary Hand!!!! (And so can you)

Ever seen little kids at the swimming pool excitedly shouting “Look what I can do!!!!” after daring to jump off the big-kid diving board? That’s me right now, having just returned from Rare Book School in Charlottesville, Virginia, where I took Heather Wolfe’s week-long paleography class, “The Handwriting & Culture of Early Modern English Manuscripts.” Look what I can do!!!! I can read Secretary Hand!!!!… Continue Reading

Shakespearian novelties- er, novelettes

I was pretty intrigued when I pulled this case marked “Shakespearian novelties” from the shelf in the Vault… Spine of the case housing four “Shakespearian novelettes” … then I realized that it actually said “Shakespearian novelettes,” and my excitement dimmed a little. Novelizations and other prose adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays (and sometimes even poetry) are not exactly uncommon these days. Narrative stories based on Shakespeare’s plays have abounded since the publication of Charles and Mary Lamb’s Tales from Shakespear in 1807.… Continue Reading

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