The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Monthly Archives: August 2012

“What manner o’ thing is your crocodile?”: September edition

Don’t panic—it’s still August, but rather than wait until the middle of September to share the new crocodile mystery,  I’m going to share it now and Heather will discuss it next week. At initial glance, it’s pretty clear what’s illustrated below: an address leaf of a letter, in this case a newly acquired letter from Thomas Cromwell to Nicholas Wotton, 8 November  [1539].… Continue Reading

Folger Tooltips: Digital Image URLs, part one

volvelle for pinpointing the north star Hello Collation readers: Today starts a new series of posts on URL behavior in our image databases, the Folger Digital Image Collection and the Folger Bindings Image Collection. You may remember previous posts providing guidance about URLs in the Folger Shakespeare Library’s OPAC Hamnet. Similarly, one of the benefits of the LUNA digital image database software is the ability for users to link via a static URL to just about any screen at all.… Continue Reading

The material history of… ?

The phrase “history of the book” is commonly used as a catch-all for the history and study of the physical components and technology behind traditional printer’s-ink-on-folded-paper-in-a-binding books, whether or not the thing being studied is itself a traditional book or component of such a book. 1 Studying papermaking and the physical properties of paper (for instance, “Learning to ‘read’ old paper“) is part of book history… unless  the paper’s theoretical destiny is to be drawn on.… Continue Reading

A treasure chest 6.75 meters long

It is not a secret that in most libraries—and I am tempted to write “in all libraries”—treasures are slumbering and waiting for their discovery. This sort of thing may happen when you least expect it, for instance when you call for a book and it turns out to be a completely different one than the one you think you asked for.… Continue Reading

Believe it or not: strange accidents and reports

  “Strange Accidentes” and “Strange Reportes” from Folger MS E.a.6, fols. 84v-85r (click image to enlarge) Early modern jokes and curiosities have a way of making us feel like insiders and outsiders at the same time. We’ll encounter jokes such as “A mad man is as stronge as two / Because he is a man besides himselfe” and think, Hey, I get it, early modern folks are just like us, and if I were eight years old I would think this was hilarious!… Continue Reading

Deciphering signature marks

So, as those of you who have spent any time working with early modern printed books probably recognized, this month’s crocodile mystery focuses on signature marks. Below is the photo I posted last week, now with the signature mark circled in red: signature mark Signature marks are those letters, numbers, and sometimes symbols at the bottom of the first portion of gatherings to help binders assemble the sheets of a book into the right order.… Continue Reading

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

Like last month’s crocodile mystery, this one has two levels of answers. The first, of course, is to identify what genre of thing this is. The second is to offer explanations for why this genre and this instance might be worth discussing. I will clarify that what I’m focused on here is the last line of type on the page; I’ve cropped the image down so that we’re seeing only the bottom few inches of the entire page.… Continue Reading