The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Posts Categorized: Exhibitions

Building a Replica of the John Wilkes Booth Diary

Guest Post by Folger conservator Austin Plann Curley “You can’t always get what you want.” So said the Rolling Stones in 1969. Such was the case for the Folger Shakespeare Library in our recent request to borrow the Diary of John Wilkes Booth for our current exhibition America’s Shakespeare, which runs through July 24, 2016…. Continue Reading »


Documents, in microcosm

I have been part of the team that has been working to create Shakespeare Documented, which launched on January 20, 2016. In the last few weeks before launch, one of my main duties became the creation the thumbnail image for many of the nearly 500 items that are showcased on the website. What are thumbnails?… Continue Reading »


Shakespeare Documented, coming soon

It is almost 2016! For the Folger Shakespeare Library, that means we are about to kick off The Wonder of Will, 400 Years of Shakespeare, and one of the first initiatives we have planned as part of our year-long commemoration is Shakespeare Documented. When it launches in mid-January, it will be the largest and most authoritative resource for learning… Continue Reading »


Constructing volvelles

As Elizabeth Bruxer correctly identified within a few short hours of its posting, this month’s crocodile mystery showed the inner disc of an unconstructed volvelle from a copy of the 1591 edition of Giambattista della Porta’s De furtivis literarum  notis (STC 20118). The key to her identification lay in recognizing the image as being part of a… Continue Reading »


William Dethick and the Shakespeare Grants of Arms

A guest post by Nigel Ramsay For many visitors to the Folger’s Heraldry exhibit, “Symbols of Honor,” the stars will be the three original draft grants on paper of Shakespeare’s coats of arms. These belong to the English heralds’ long-established institution, the College of Arms in London, and they have never before been out of… Continue Reading »


A peek into the Conservation Lab

Ever wonder what the conservators are up to on our third floor? Here’s a peek into what’s happening in the Werner Gundersheimer Conservation Laboratory this month: The team is in full treatment mode for the Library’s upcoming exhibition, “Symbols of Honor: Heraldry and Family History in Shakespeare’s England,” opening this summer. Before every exhibition, of course, the conservation… Continue Reading »


Can you spot the differences?

Have a look at the coat of arms worn by Edwin Booth (1833–1893) in the title role of Shakespeare’s King Richard III. Notice something wrong? Hint: The conventions Victorian aesthetics aren’t the same as the conventions of medieval heraldry. Give up? Aesthetic rules call for heavier design elements below lighter ones (hence a pyramid of… Continue Reading »


What’s that smell? Getting personal with historic costumes

The Folger’s current exhibition, Here Is a Play Fitted, takes a broad look at how Shakespeare on the stage has changed over the past 400 years. For a full look at that topic, you have until January 12, 2014 to see the exhibition—and you should! But for this blog post, I’d like to focus in… Continue Reading »


Folger Exhibition Hall, circa 1935

With the Exhibition Hall closed for needed repairs this summer, I got to thinking about the various displays it has held over the years. It’s almost impossible to pick out any specific books or manuscripts in this photo from around 1935, but many of the objects and paintings are recognizable. The case in the center of… Continue Reading »


Elizabeth goes to New York

On September 5, two professional art handlers from Artex Fine Art Services loaded a great big wooden crate onto their climate-controlled box truck, strapped it securely into the rear cargo area, then strapped my little suitcase next to it. The three of us climbed into the cab and hit the road: the Folger’s “Sieve” portrait of… Continue Reading »


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