The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Yearly Archives: 2014

Out with the old? The A.L.A. Portrait Index of 1906

To create more work space, we’re starting to sort through the hundreds of “ready reference” books that fill the shelves in the shared staff areas on Deck A, pulling out volumes that really don’t need to be kept that handy. For example,  it’s a safe bet that Art Information and the Internet (How to Find It, How to Use It), written in 1998, won’t be of much help in 2015.… Continue Reading

Farewell to 2014

The end of the year is a time that invites self-reflection and speculation for the future. As the editor of The Collation, late December makes me want to assess how our year here went—how many readers did we reach, how much information and entertainment did we convey, how well did we open up our collections? So here is a quick look at what 2014 brought us.… Continue Reading

Storming Shakespeare: creating an artists’ book

A guest post by Jan Kellett Editor’s note: When the Folger acquired the lovely artist’s book Storming Shakespeare from Jan Kellett last year, Erin Blake asked if she would be willing to share some information with our readers about the making of the book. The post that follows is Kellett’s account of the inspiration and physical process of creating Storming ShakespeareContinue Reading

Hard hands and strange words

Until you get the hang of it, Henry Oxinden’s secretary hand is just plain difficult. Take a stab at this passage from p. 469 of his Miscellany (ca. 1642-1670), Folger MS V.b.110, extracted from a sermon delivered by Charles Herle at Winwick, Lancashire, in 1654. It is typical of the entire manuscript. Henry Oxinden’s lovely secretary hand. Folger MS V.b.110, p.… Continue Reading

A transcriba… what?

The typical first awkwardly formed question is, “A transcriba…what, wait, what is it, again?” (Answer: “Transcribathon, an event running from noon to midnight in which we transcribe and encode manuscripts, the very first experimental event of its kind for Early Modern Manuscripts Online.”) The next question following fast on its heels is usually, “Why would anyone want to do that for twelve hours?” Well, over 35 transcribers, many of whom had never tried their hands or eyes at early modern paleography before, could tell you: because it’s fun!… Continue Reading

Mezzotint!

Simran Thadani’s wild guess for the December Crocodile Mystery, backed up by Martin Antonetti and Deborah J. Leslie, is our winner. This month’s image is a close-up of the lower right edge of a mezzotint engraving. The lines that look like warp and weft are, in fact, rows of tiny black dots crossing each other at right angles. Detail of lower right edge of a mezzotint.… Continue Reading

“What manner o’ thing is your crocodile?”: December 2014

Another new month, another new crocodile mystery! What manner of thing is this? Please leave wild guesses, informed opinions, witty remarks, and so on, in the Comments section. All will be revealed later this week (or sooner, depending on how the Comments go). (Click image to enlarge) UPDATE December 9: All is revealed in “Mezzotint!“… Continue Reading

How the “Mastiffs” reached the Folger

In June 1878, the novelist Anthony Trollope and a dozen of his friends boarded the yacht “Mastiff” in Scotland for its maiden voyage, a trip to Iceland. They stayed just over a week, but the episode provided Trollope with enough material for a book, How the ‘Mastiffs’ Went to Iceland. It was published barely two months later by Virtue & Co.… Continue Reading

So much for goats, or, cute creatures in coats of arms

John Guillim’s partial manuscript draft of A Display of Heraldry (ca. 1610) was featured in our recently closed exhibition, “Symbols of Honor: Heraldry and Family History in Shakespeare’s England.” We showed an opening depicting “Fishes skynned” and “Crusted fishes” and compared it to a similar opening in the printed Display of Heraldry (London, 1611). Examples of suitable fish for coats of arms, both crusted and skinned.… Continue Reading

Research round-up

One of the best bits of my job as a reference librarian here at the Folger (oh, who am I kidding? They’re all “best bits”) is answering research questions from scholars who are not on site. I really enjoy being someone’s hands and eyes, to look at our collection materials when they cannot. These questions have sent me off in directions I never would have dreamed of; there is no better way to learn a collection than to use it, and I am certainly getting the opportunity to explore the depth and breadth of our collection.… Continue Reading

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