The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Posts Categorized: Crocodile-mystery

“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 »

Marginal calculations; or, how old is that book?

I’d like to make a pitch for recording a specific type of manuscript annotation in printed books and manuscripts: the “book age calculation.” These calculations turn up frequently on pastedowns and endleaves, and sometimes right in the middle of texts. They are usually in pencil, but sometimes appear in ink as well, as in this… Continue Reading »

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

Another month, another Crocodile mystery! What’s going on in this image? Submit your comments below, and we’ll provide a full explanation next week (yes, that’s right, we’ve begun our summer schedule, which is weekly, rather than twice-weekly, to give our Contributors a much-needed respite).

The mystery of gridded paper

A guest post by Austin Plann Curley For a blank sheet of paper, we thought this one was pretty interesting. But before we get to what exactly it is, let’s refresh our understanding of how paper is made. Prior to the 19th century all paper was made by hand using a mold and a deckle…. Continue Reading »

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

A new month and a new mystery! What can you tell us about this? What is it and why is it interesting? You know the drill: leave us your thoughts in the comments below, and come back next week for the reveal! Update 5/30: A commenter asked about watermarks, so here is an image of… Continue Reading »

A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down

There is a place in the north Atlantic Ocean where emerald waters and sandy shores await your toes—at least, according to a 2015 holiday brochure on Barbados. The royalist Richard Ligon scarpered there in 1647 after backing the losing side during the English Civil wars (1642–1649) and finding himself a “stranger in my owne Country.” Three… Continue Reading »

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