The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Monthly Archives: November 2012

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

Itty-bitty tab dividers

The main trick with November’s “crocodile” was having to figure out the scale. It looks at first glance like a woolly button on a pin-striped shirt: The November ‘Crocodile’ But when a ruler is included in the shot, you can see that the colorful bobble is only 3 mm in diameter: … Continue Reading

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

And now, for your viewing pleasure, we present this month’s crocodile mystery. What is it? How was it made? What size is it? Would it sell well as a postcard in the Folger gift shop? This caption intentionally blank. Please share your thoughts below, and don’t be shy.  In the spirit of the Folger’s current exhibition, Very Like a Whale, remember that things not only are, they also seem, evoke, relate, and conceal.… Continue Reading