The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Posts Categorized: Crocodile-mystery

“What manner o’ thing is your crocodile?”: February 2016

Welcome to the February crocodile mystery! We’ll jump right in: what is the image below? What does it represent? Please share your thoughts, guesses, etc. using the “Leave a reply” box at the end of this post. Check back next week for the reveal!


Photo-manual illustration

As Jeff and Anthony commented on last week’s Crocodile Mystery, this picture is unusual because it is an engraved portrait copied from a photograph rather than from a drawing or painting. Specifically, it is a steel engraving by George Hollis (1793–1842) based on a daguerreotype by J.E. Mayall (1813–1901), and it depicts Madame [Céline] Celeste (1814–1882) as Princess Katherine in Shakespeare’s Henry… Continue Reading »


“What manner o’ thing is your crocodile?”: January 2016

This month’s mystery raises the question of illustration technique, taking a portrait of Céline Celeste as Katherine in Shakespeare’s Henry V as an example. What makes this picture unusual, technically speaking? Please share your thoughts, guesses, New Year’s greetings, etc.,  using the “Leave a reply” box at the end of this post. Check back next week for the full… Continue Reading »


The Secret History (of a publication)

Yes. As our readers quickly reported, this month’s mystery image is the imprint on Procopius’s The secret history of the court of the Emperor Justinian. In fact, it is the imprint of the very first English translation of Procopius’s Secret work. The history behind the Secret History is a tale in and of itself. Procopius of… Continue Reading »


“What manner o’thing is your crocodile?” December 2015

It’s a new month and you know what that means! Mystery time! We’re sure this month’s mystery image won’t be hard for our intrepid and knowledgeable readers to track down. Ah, but finding out more than the title of the associated book? That’s where the real mystery begins… As always, comment here with your thoughts… Continue Reading »


“What manner o’ thing is your crocodile?”: October 2015

Here’s your crocodile mystery for October! As you can probably guess, the text below is only one line of a larger collection item. What kind of thing is the whole item an example of, and why is it in our collection? As always, post your comments and thoughts below, and we’ll be back with an… Continue Reading »


Arithmetic is the Art of Computation

Yes, the answer to last week’s Crocodile mystery is as obvious as it seemed. We were looking for a number which unites the table, the fractions, and the superfluous but artful penmanship. Answer: 60, of course! What we are actually looking at here is nothing more than a simple division sum from the 17th century… Continue Reading »


“What manner o’thing is your crocodile?” September 2015

Whether or not you feel a touch of autumn in the air, here’s a back-to-the-books kind of a mystery from the manuscript collection. What do you make of this colorful image? Submit your guesses and comments below. We’ll be back with an explanation next week!


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… Continue Reading »


“What manner o’ thing is your crocodile?”: August 2015

It’s nearly August (where has the summer gone?), and you know what that means! Time for another mystery. At first glance, the “what” of this picture may be obvious. But take a second look. What is this foreign object, and what is it doing here? As always, comment with you thoughts, and we’ll be back… Continue Reading »


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