17 June 2013
Heather Wolfe and Guest Author
Co-written by Heather Wolfe and Arnold Hunt
It’s every bibliophile’s dream. You’re in a bookshop, or maybe at a local auction, browsing idly along the shelves. It’s late in the afternoon and you’re just preparing to leave, when you spot a bundle of old pamphlets loosely piled in a cardboard box. At the very bottom of the bundle you pull out a slim volume bound in old calf. Brushing the dust off the binding, you open it… and your heart skips a beat. There on the title-page, in a sixteenth-century hand, is the signature “William Shakespeare.”
William Shakespeare’s signature on the title page of British Library Stowe MS 1004, with the inscription “S. Ireland from his dear son” at top of page.
The inscription on the title page of Folger STC 12995 Copy 2. This book apparently belonged to the author John Hayward before it came into William Shakespeare’s hands.
Fake or fortune? The inscriptions on the title-pages, “S. Ireland from his dear son,” give the game away. The “dear son” is none other than nineteen-year-old William Henry Ireland, most prolific and audacious of eighteenth-century forgers. Ireland started forging Shakespeare documents in 1794 to please his father Samuel, whose greatest desire in life was to obtain a relic of Shakespeare for his collection. He claimed to have discovered them in an old chest belonging to a mysterious “Mr H.” whom he hinted might be a descendant of the actor John Heminges, joint editor of the First Folio. Continue Reading →
13 June 2013
A guest post by Victoria Myers
[Editor's note: Victoria Myers was a student in the Fall 2012 Folger Undergraduate Seminar taught by Sarah Werner. As part of that course, Victoria researched the history of a copy of the first printing of The Roaring Girl (STC 17908). She continued her research for her capstone project for her Renaissance Studies major at the University of Maryland. This is a small excerpt from that project, focusing on the discoveries she made about the book's annotations, a sleuthing process that ultimately revealed who the unknown marginalia writer was. Although this post is longer than the typical post in The Collation, it nicely illustrates Victoria's research process and the type of contributions to scholarship that undergraduates are capable of making.]
The marks in the book
The reason that I found the Folger Shakespeare Library’s copy of The Roaring Girl especially interesting is because it is completely marked up. Most of these marks are corrections to the text, specifically updates to the spelling. These marks consist mostly of little lines through extra letters (often ‘e’ and ‘s’), but also include things like altering “I” to “aye,” when it is not meant to be a pronoun.
modernizing spelling (fol. 3Br)
At first, I thought that this person must have been extremely serious in their dislike of Jacobean spelling, to correct every single word in the book. However, there were other marks that indicated some other reason for this editing. These led me to believe that this person was not editing the text for their own amusement (or out of annoyance), but rather that they were editing it for a new edition of the play. Continue Reading →
10 June 2013
This month’s crocodile mystery was, as Andrew Keener quickly identified, an image from Gabriel Harvey’s copy of Lodovico Domenichi’s Facetie and (Folger H.a.2):
Gabriel Harvey’s heavily annotated copy of Facetie (fol. 1v-2r)
There is a lot that could be said about Gabriel Harvey and his habits of reading. He was a scholar, a writer, and a prolific reader who heavily annotated his books, about 200 of which survive (the Folger holds seven of his annotated books). Harvey was, as Heather Wolfe puts it in her account of this book in “The Pen’s Excellencie”, an “ambitious and goal-oriented reader” both on his own account and in his work as a professional reader as the secretary for the Earl of Leicester. But in this book, Harvey also seems to engage in some personal reflections, as Heather describes: “Relying on the printed text as a trigger for his own ideas, Harvey used the margins to outline his strategies for self-improvement, to encourage himself in his studies, to make cross-references to other readings, and to comment on a variety of themes. At the end of the volume he appended a list of the books most necessary for civilized elocution.”
The layers of annotation we see here—in which Harvey has not only squeezed his thoughts into all available white space, but has used his notes to point outward to other writers and inward to his own thoughts on self-improvement—is akin, I think, to the layered way in which web 2.0 has developed. This isn’t a new thought, but there is a new resource that builds on this invitation to bring annotated books into the digital world, recognizing the layers of interaction and links to networks of communities. Continue Reading →
3 June 2013
The last few crocodile mysteries have zoomed in on details. Here, for a change of pace, we’re zooming out to a full-page spread:
June crocodile (click to enlarge)
In the past crocodiles have been about categories of objects, not necessarily the specifics. But a few of you might recognize exactly what this is and who is responsible for it, and you can leave those answers in the comments below. And as always, it’s not only the specifics of the object that is of interest but what we might learn from it. Stay tuned for the reveal next week!
30 May 2013
Jim Kuhn and Georgianna Ziegler
Greetings Dear Readers!
Today’s tooltip introduces new e-book resources we are in the process of rolling out through Hamnet, including:
This post will provide details about how to identify e-book records when you run across them, and how to exclude such records from your searches for vault materials. Future posts will provide more detail about these e-book resources and how you might best make use of them in your on-site research here at the Folger. Continue Reading →
28 May 2013
Last time I posted on The Collation (Two disciplines separated by a common language, 30 April 2013), I went off on a bit of a rant about vocabulary barriers between printed pictures and printed words. Guess what? There’s more! That post mentioned edition, copy, state, impression, and plate, but deliberately omitted the word “proof.” Those other terms all fit the tidy pattern of meaning one thing in one discipline, and something else in the other. “Proof,” on the other hand, means basically one thing in the book-printing world, and three things in the picture-printing world. Continue Reading →
24 May 2013
The Folger Shakespeare Library has ten copies of the second edition of Shakespeare’s sonnets (STC 22344).
All ten copies of STC 22344 in a row
Engraved portrait (fol. p1v) and the first title page (fol. *1r) from copy 1
Continue Reading →
21 May 2013
Last month I wrote about a book—nay, a leaf of a book—and the secret histories it reveals about how it was made, from the growth of the tree that became the woodblock to the valleys and hills that formed during the making and printing of the paper. I promised then that I’d write another post that took us into the afterlife of that book, the ways in which the future imprinted itself on it. Continue Reading →
13 May 2013
Learning to write the alphabet is one of the first stages of writing literacy. For early modern English children, this meant first learning to read the letters of the alphabet (printed in black letter) from a hornbook.
Hornbook (London?, 1630). Folger Shakespeare Library STC 13813.5. Click on this and all other images to enlarge.
They then learned to write
the letters of the alphabet in one or both of the two main handwritten scripts, secretary and italic. For this, they relied on manuscript or printed copybooks or exemplars, usually supplemented by instruction from a writing master at a writing school, a private tutor or family member, or usher in a grammar school. Continue Reading →
6 May 2013
As the commenters on last week’s crocodile guessed, the mystery image showed writing masquerading as print or, to use the more formal term, a pen facsimile (click on any of the images in the post to enlarge them):
pen facsimile of the 1611 Authorized Bible (STC 2216), sig. ^2^2A6r
It’s telling that two of the three guesses focused not on the blackletter but on the roman font and the decorated initial. Both of those aspects, I think, are easier to spot as being somehow “off” in comparison to what we expect from print. But we’re not so used to looking at blackletter, and so a manuscript facsimile of that type isn’t quite as tell-tale. This is particularly true when the facsimile doesn’t have the print nearby as a point of comparison, but the difference isn’t necessarily glaring even looking across the gutter to the early printed page: Continue Reading →