The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Posts Categorized: Crocodile-mystery


Imagining a lost set of commonplace books

As observed by one of our respondents, last week’s Crocodile was a detail from a blank leaf bisected by a vertical line in graphite, with a column of handwritten letters consisting of the Roman alphabet followed by the Greek alphabet. Folger MS L.f.317, part of the E. Williams watermark collection. Photograph by Heather Wolfe. Slightly better image available upon request. The leaf is from a commonplace book.… Continue Reading

“What manner o’thing is your crocodile?”: June 2017

Welcome to the end of another month and another Crocodile Mystery. This month’s Crocodile is brought to you by Folger manuscripts! Here’s a detail from a bifolium that is part of a collection of papers described at the item-level in our finding aids. The collection is partly artificial, but the bifolium seems to be connected to other bifolia within the collection, even though their call numbers are not consecutive.… Continue Reading

Okay, but what does it mean, or how do you regularize an early modern transcription?

As one reader guessed, the phrase shown in last week’s Crocodile mystery image is in secretary hand, i.e., a type of handwritten script widely used in the British Isles (and elsewhere in Europe) during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. As transcribed in Early Modern Manuscripts Online (EMMO) from the upper right corner of a manuscript certificate, the phrase is “Est horse lee.” Ah, of course!… Continue Reading

“What manner o’thing is your crocodile?”: May 2017

For the Crocodile Mystery this month, peer into the handwriting of this manuscript and let us know what word or words you see and/or what they mean. Leave your thoughts and guesses as a reply in the Comments section. Check back next week for the answer.… Continue Reading

Pietro Mattioli and the Everlasting Woodblocks

Yes, last week’s Crocodile Mystery was a close-up image of a woodblock. This woodblock, in particular: Folger 245- 324f woodblock 1 And in fact, it is the woodblock that was used to print this image: “Lactuca florescens,” a variety of lettuce. (245- 324f, leaf CXXXVI) You can compare this section of the woodblock with the (hand-colored) print that it created: Don’t forget, the woodblock and print will be mirror images of each other.… Continue Reading

“What manner o’thing is your crocodile?”: April 2017

As March draws to a close, spring has finally (mostly) sprung in Washington DC (we’ll not talk about our poor cherry blossoms). If the days are warming up where you are as well, contemplate this Crocodile Mystery while you enjoy the weather, and tell us what this image is: As always, leave your thoughts and guesses in the comments and we’ll be back next week with the answer.… Continue Reading

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

“What manner o’thing is your crocodile?”: March 2017

The mystery this month isn’t about what the text is (these pages are excerpts from a Calvinist Bible in French printed in Geneva in 1588) but rather it’s about the paper. What is going on here? Leave your thoughts and guesses in the comments and we’ll be back next week with more information.… Continue Reading

A promptbook in disguise

It’s time to pull back the curtain on last week’s crocodile mystery: that weird woven material is a close-up photograph of the cover of a promptbook! Both commenters who took a guess last week came pretty close. This particular promptbook was used during an 1838 production of Woman’s wit, or, love’s disguises at the Tremont Theatre in Boston, probably by an actor named Thomas Barry, who performed in New York and Boston during the mid-19th century.… Continue Reading

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