The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Posts By: Nadia Seiler

“For a cancer in the brest”: early modern recipes

“For a cancer in the brest” The large penstrokes of this title caught my eye as I was cataloging a recently acquired receipt book (a book of culinary and medicinal recipes). In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we provide a window into breast cancer treatment in the 17th century. Here is a full recipe, followed by a modernized transcription: 1 “For a cancer in the brest” For a cancer in the breast Take 3 pounds of new burnt lime, unslacked, and put it to a gallon of spring water and let it stand four days, then pour the water off as clear as may be.… Continue Reading

Watermarks & hidden collections

Hidden collections—that is, collections that are undescribed or underdescribed—are exceedingly common in libraries and archives. Until recently, the manuscript and printed paper that make up the E. Williams watermark collection, including papers of the Hale family of King’s Walden and other papers was an example of a hidden collection. In contrast with completely undescribed collections, however, a minimal description of one element of the materials did exist: in this case, a handlist provided by the bookseller describing watermark features of the paper.… Continue Reading