The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Posts By: Caroline Duroselle-Melish

A Yellow Book

Thank you to those who have tried to solve this month’s Crocodile mystery regarding the yellow color of a book, which can be found in the Stickelberger collection of Reformation at the Folger Shakespeare Library (more on this collection in a future Collation post!). While we had many interesting guesses, we still cannot fully explain what caused the coloring of the paper in this book.… Continue Reading

Sophisticating the First Folio

This week we will continue our discussion of the First Folios currently on display in the Folger Shakespeare Library exhibition, First Folio! Shakespeare’s American Tour. This post will look at their “sophistication.” A “sophisticated” or made-up book is a defective book that has been perfected with leaves supplied from other copies, or from a pen or printed facsimile. Missing leaves in a book are the most likely motivation for its sophistication although, other explanations exist.… Continue Reading

Ben Jonson’s Library

While last week we brought up the anniversary of Ben Jonson’s first folio and discussed copies of this book that are held at the Folger Shakespeare Library, this week we’ll discuss Jonson’s library and his books at Folger. Jonson is listed in thirteen Hamnet records either as a “former owner” (when his ownership of the book has been confirmed), an “annotator” (when the book includes his annotations), or as an “associated name” (when his ownership is doubtful or has not been proven).… Continue Reading

Don Quixote on an Early Paper Cover

The Folger Shakespeare Library recently acquired a copybook with an intriguing pictorial paper cover, and it is, of course, the subject of the crocodile mystery we posted last week. This cover is made of thick paper (thicker than regular paper but thinner than boards) and is decorated with an engraving depicting Don Quixote mounted on his noble steed Rocinante, accompanied by his faithful servant Sancho Panza.… Continue Reading

Investigating a Bull’s Head Watermark

What would draw an eighteenth-century reader to an early sixteenth-century book, written in Latin, on venereal disease? The Folger Shakespeare Library’s copy of Ulrich von Hutten’s book De Guaici medicina et morbo gallico liber unus printed in 1531 by Johann Schöffer in Mainz includes interesting clues to answer such a question. 1531 title page of Ulrich von Hutten’s De Guaici medicina RC201.1 .H8 Cage.… Continue Reading

Fallen Type

Those of you who replied to the Crocodile post last week guessed right: what you see in this image is a piece of fallen type that was printed by accident over a page of text being printed. The height of the type is approximately 24 millimeters, which is the standard height of type (the zooming on the type makes it appear larger than it really is).… Continue Reading

Purchases from the Robert S. Pirie Collection, Part 2: the printed material

The Folger Shakespeare Library acquired 45 lots, 19 of them printed books, at the auction sale of the Pirie collection that took place on December 2–4, 2015, at Sotheby’s, New York (we’ve also put up the complete list of our acquisitions from this sale). As we described in our previous post about the sale, a great deal of preparation went into this auction, and part of that involved comparing our current holdings with the items offered in the sale.… Continue Reading

“Extravagantly Large Paper”

While working on the exhibition “Age of Lawyers” (currently on view at the Folger Shakespeare Library), I came upon several interesting copies of Thomas Littleton’s Tenures, the first textbook written on English land law. There are five different copies of Littleton’s book printed in London 1588 and 1591 by Richard Totell.1 The text in all of them lies in the inner top quadrant of each page, creating unusually wide margins on each side and below the text.… Continue Reading

An Example of Printed Visual Marginalia

The Folger Shakespeare has recently acquired a copy of the 1706 English edition of the travel narrative A New Voyage to the North… (Folger 269- 090q), written by the French physician Pierre Martin de la Martinière (1637-1676?) and published posthumously around 1700.1 As the title indicates, the book was a sequel to an account of de la Martinière’s voyages to Nordic countries published in 1671.… Continue Reading

A Pin’s Worth: Pins in Books

The object you see tucked in the gathering of the book in this month’s Crocodile Mystery is a pin. Recently, I have become aware of the presence of pins in a number of books at the Folger Shakespeare Library. At one time, curators and conservators removed them from the books and placed them in curatorial files. Now, we leave pins where we find them if they do not risk harming the book or the reader.… Continue Reading

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