The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Posts Categorized: Crocodile-mystery

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

Welcome to the November Crocodile Mystery! Take a look at the image below and tell us, if you can, what it is and where it appears in our collection? As always, leave your thoughts and ideas in the comments below, and check back next week for a more detailed post! Edit: Photo software seems to be trying to make this mystery even more complicated than it already is; please note that if you click on the image for a larger version, that image is (for some reason I cannot suss out) displaying upside down.… Continue Reading

I have sent you a Privy Seal…

The answer to last week’s crocodile mystery? As Jan Kellett correctly pointed out in her comment to the October Crocodile Mystery, the red-orange concentric circles in this image are an “offset mark made by a seal.” The mark was made by the waxy residue and impression from a privy seal which was once enclosed within a letter. Early modern letters often mention things enclosed (another letter, seeds, a lock of hair, a recipe, a poem) but rarely do we see the proof of such an enclosure.… Continue Reading

“To benefit the suffering Belgians”

As several readers quickly guessed, last week’s crocodile image was a photograph of a Russian edition of Shakespeare’s sonnets. The “ghost” type in the image is due to a glassine (translucent paper) jacket around the volume, which obscures the printed text of the cardboard cover below. This edition was translated by Modest Tchaikovsky (dramatist, librettist, and brother of the Romantic composer Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky)1, and published in 1914 by I.… 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

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

As July rapidly draws to a close, we have a pretty new puzzle for readers to ponder. This month’s mystery is about the picture on this paper cover: what is the image about and why is it on this cover? As always, leave your thoughts and guesses in the comments, and we’ll be back next week with the answer.… Continue Reading

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

This month’s mystery could have many different answers, but there’s one in particular we’re looking for. The question is simple: why is this binding interesting? Any ideas? Please share your answers in the comments, and check back next week to find out if any of them match the answer we have in mind.… Continue Reading

A Pictorial Table of Contents

Last week’s Crocodile was a jumble of household instruments with numbers next to them. As our first commenter, Katie Will, correctly guessed, the detail was from the table of contents of a type of heraldic manuscript known as an Ordinary. An Ordinary is a collection of heraldic charges—geometric patterns, or depictions of animals, objects, or people—that can appear inside an escutcheon, or heraldic shield.… Continue Reading

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

It’s the last day of the month, and our intrepid readers know what that means: mystery time! So for this month, we ask: why on earth would someone make a jumble of pictures of everyday items like this? And why all the numbers? As always, comment here with your thoughts and guesses, and we’ll be back next week with an explanation.… Continue Reading

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