The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

“What manner o’thing is your crocodile?” July 2016

This month’s mystery could have many different answers, but there’s one in particular we’re looking for. The question is simple: why is this binding interesting? Any ideas? Please share your answers in the comments, and check back next week to find out if any of them match the answer we have in mind.


Music Manuscripts

Recently, I have found myself answering a number of reference questions concerning our musical holdings (a reference librarian manifestation of the frequency illusion perhaps?). Whatever the reason, it has been a nice reminder that some of our manuscript holdings contain more than traditional text. The Folger holds a great deal of music in manuscript form…. Continue Reading »


Investigating a Bull’s Head Watermark

What would draw an eighteenth-century reader to an early sixteenth-century book, written in Latin, on venereal disease? The Folger Shakespeare Library’s copy of Ulrich von Hutten’s book De Guaici medicina et morbo gallico liber unus printed in 1531 by Johann Schöffer in Mainz includes interesting clues to answer such a question. First printed in 1519,… Continue Reading »


A Pictorial Table of Contents

Last week’s Crocodile was a jumble of household instruments with numbers next to them. As our first commenter, Katie Will, correctly guessed, the detail was from the table of contents of a type of heraldic manuscript known as an Ordinary. An Ordinary is a collection of heraldic charges—geometric patterns, or depictions of animals, objects, or… Continue Reading »


“What manner o’ thing is your crocodile?”: June 2016

It’s the last day of the month, and our intrepid readers know what that means: mystery time! So for this month, we ask: why on earth would someone make a jumble of pictures of everyday items like this? And why all the numbers? As always, comment here with your thoughts and guesses, and we’ll be… Continue Reading »


What’s in a genre? Metadata, Controlled Vocabularies, and the Folger’s Digital Anthology

  Shakespeare’s plays are organized in the First Folio into three now familiar genre categories: Comedies, Tragedies, and Histories. Later scholars added a fourth, describing certain late plays like The Tempest and The Winter’s Tale that contain elements of both comedy and tragedy, along with fantastical features like magic, as “romance plays.” In organizing the… Continue Reading »


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