The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Monthly Archives: October 2011

A ghost for Halloween

I’d like to say that I cleverly scheduled the installation of Benjamin Wilson’s William Powell as Hamlet encountering the Ghost for last Friday so that the Founders’ Room would have a ghost in time for Halloween. Unfortunately, there were witnesses around when I finally noticed the coincidence, and this blog is open to comments, so I’ll just have to let that one go.… Continue Reading

Reading the romantics

What do Folger staff read in their spare time?  Not necessarily Shakespeare!  I’ve recently finished a wonderful book by Daisy Hay called The Young Romantics, published in the spring of 2010 and now available in hardback, paperback, or on a Kindle near you.  Hay has an amazing grasp of the lives of the second-generation Romantics—Shelley, Keats, Byron, Mary Shelley, her stepsister Claire Claremont, Leigh Hunt—and a host of others in their expanding circle. … Continue Reading

Undergraduate reports from the Reading Room

Today’s post features two accounts from students at The George Washington University who are in this semester’s Folger Undergradaute Seminar. Lyssa Meddin title page When I first heard about the Folger Shakespeare Library Undergraduate Seminar I was finishing up my freshman year at The George Washington University; from that moment on I couldn’t wait to be a senior.  At a time when e-readers were becoming popular, getting a chance to learn about how books were made and to be surrounded by them seemed like the best thing I had ever heard of. … Continue Reading

Interrogating a hermit

Three months ago the Folger was lucky enough to acquire a letter from Thomas Cromwell to George Talbot, earl of Shrewsbury. I say lucky because while roughly 350 letters from Cromwell survive, almost all of them are at either the British Library or the National Archives in Kew, and only one other letter by him has been sold at auction in over 30 years.… Continue Reading

Q & A: Julie Ainsworth, Head of Photography and Digital Imaging

Julie Ainsworth, Head of Photography and Digital Imaging Although many readers at and visitors to the Folger Shakespeare Library might not know her name, most know her work. Julie Ainsworth, Head of Photography and Digital Imaging, is responsible for the wonderful images of Folger items that are found in print, that make up the Folger’s Digital Image Collection, and that grace the Library’s website. … Continue Reading

Battling over 18th-century rights to Shakespeare

In working on the Shakespeare Collection NEH grant-funded project for the past year, I have learned more than I ever imagined possible regarding the history of eighteenth-century publishing, particularly the “Shakespeare copyrights” and ownership disputes between booksellers. The feud between booksellers Jacob Tonson and Robert Walker is just such an example. In the early eighteenth century, the Tonson firm held the copyright for Shakespeare works, publishing fine editions by popular editors such as Alexander Pope and Nicholas Rowe.… Continue Reading

The KJV, Ben Franklin, and Noah Webster

As part of the library’s celebration of the 400th anniversary of the King James Version of the Bible, the Folger Institute hosted a conference bringing together scholars from across the United States and the United Kingdom to discuss the effect of this Bible on social, cultural and political societies of early Stuart England and colonial America. The breadth of discussion in “An Anglo-American History of the KJV” took us far beyond the King’s castle and our New England roots, however, demonstrating how the language of the KJV was disseminated throughout the various regions and cultures of the United States, including its translation for the native Cherokee nation as well as its role in the lives of slaves and later emancipated African Americans.… Continue Reading

Copperplate illustrations and the question of quality

While looking at early modern book illustration in the undergraduate seminar on Friday, we got to talking about the false assumption that copperplate illustrations always indicate better-quality publications, while woodcuts are inherently lowly. True, the raw material is more expensive: copper plates cost more than wood blocks. True, it’s possible to produce finer lines in copperplate illustrations than in woodcuts, allowing for more detail.… Continue Reading