The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Yearly Archives: 2012

Teaching and collaborating

Last weekend, the Folger Institute and the Folger Undergraduate Program held a 3-day workshop on Teaching Book History. 50 librarians and faculty gathered from a wide range of institutions—small liberal arts colleges to regional schools to highly selective research universities—bringing a wide range of perspectives with them on how we might engage undergraduates in book history. Much of the work that we did collectively in the workshop is ongoing, so it’s perhaps premature to issue a report on what we learned and what will come of this experience.… Continue Reading

Folger Tooltips: Changes to the Digital Image Collection

Dear Readers: Our Digital Image Collection has had a bit of a make-over. The purpose of today’s post is to introduce you to new fields and field names and to explain a bit of background that lead to these changes. Background: As long-time visitors to will remember, for years we have relied for the most part on two sources for the descriptions that accompany digital images: the in-house digital image database used by the Photography and Digital Image office (PDI), 1 and Hamnet, when relevant catalog records are available. … Continue Reading

A Geek-Peek at Folger “ART File” and “ART Box” Classification

One of the most fascinating books I read while working on my dissertation had nothing to do with the topic as such: It’s the 189-page “user’s guide” to the British Museum’s Department of Prints and Drawings, published in 1987. In it, Antony Griffiths and Reginald Williams matter-of-factly explain the dozens of schemes their department had used over the years in attempts to store, organize, and index prints and drawings.… Continue Reading


As three of you immediately identified in your comments, last week’s crocodile mystery was the fastening in the center of a volvelle, holding the various layers in place and allowing them to turn: volvelle from Cortes’s Breve compendio, leaf 37r (click to enlarge) Volvelles are paper wheels that are fastened to a leaf so that the discs spin independently. Some of the earliest volvelles were used for prognostication; Ramon Llull is credited with bringing the volvelle to the West in the late thirteenth century for use in his Ars Magna.  … Continue Reading

A third manuscript by Thomas Trevelyon/Trevilian

The author’s name in the Trevelyon Miscellany of 1608 (Folger MS V.b.232, fol. 264v); click image to enlarge in Luna. Many Collation readers are already familiar with the Folger’s Trevelyon Miscellany of 1608 (Folger MS V.b.232), and the fabulous Trevilian Great Book of 1616 at the Wormsley Library. Both manuscripts, created by Thomas Trevelyon/Trevilian 1 (b. ca. 1548), have been published in facsimile, and the Folger version is also fully digitized. … Continue Reading

Winning the lottery

On Saturday 4 November 1617, the archdukes of the Southern Netherlands, Albert and Isabella, granted permission to the “gentil homme Lucquois” Matthias Micheli to organize a lottery for the foundation of the “Bergen van Barmhartigheid” or “Monts de piété.” First invented in Italy in the 15th century, the Monts were public pawnbroking institutes where people could give goods as collateral to borrow money at relatively cheap interest rates.… Continue Reading

Cataloging at the Folger: a Primer

When I meet people for the first time and they hear that I am a rare book cataloger, I can expect one or both of these questions: “What’s a rare book,” and “What is cataloging?” This crowd doesn’t need my expostulations on the first, but cataloging is just enough of an unknown that a primer may be in order. Library cataloging is the process of providing structured description and controlled vocabulary into bibliographic records, and of collecting these records into a system of some sort.… Continue Reading

Folger Tooltips: Media group wrangling, part one

Our last tooltip covered how to create your own login for the Folger digital image databases, and once logged in how to create and begin working with media groups. Today we’ll focus on some useful features of your media groups including: moving (or copying) images in and out of your various groups; importing photos to your media group from flickr; exporting your media group to powerpoint.… Continue Reading

Such a lucky pretty little library…

First leaf of Visus Libelli (a little book of advices) We thought we’d kick off your weekend with an amusing and fascinating hybrid book that is ripe for research. The as-yet unidentified compiler of this late seventeenth-century, ca. 800-leaf volume, a recent acquisition at the Folger, describes it in many flowery ways. He introduces it as a “Vade-Mecum Memorial Manual of Muses, or Compleate Compendious Complexe and Companion, of Learned Languages and Sciences, Scarcely another to be seen so short, small and full.” This pretty much says it all: the manual is indeed small (it is a duodecimo) and full, and in fact looks more like a cube than a book, fat to the point of bursting. … Continue Reading

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