The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Posts Categorized: Manuscripts

“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

Sign Here Please: ______ Blank forms from the Folger Collection

A guest post by Derek Dunne For anyone who has worked in the Reading Room of the Folger Shakespeare Library, you’ll know that a certain amount of paperwork is part of the daily routine: sign-in sheets, call slips, and of course the exit pass. Each of these is designed to be filled in over time—sometimes written by readers (‘PLEASE PRINT’ as shown below), sometimes stamped by library staff—meaning that the document is always in progress, never quite complete; making these documents both collaborative and hybrid.… Continue Reading

Histories and Communities of Books

A guest post by Megan Heffernan Working in the Folger Shakespeare Library this year has opened my eyes to the important role that research centers play in shaping knowledge. If this sounds like a truism, bear with me for a moment because I want to use this post to think through some of the ways that scholarship is sustained by access to archives.… Continue Reading

Manuscripts in libraries: catalog versus finding aid

When searching for manuscripts at the Folger—or pretty much any special collections library—it helps to know that manuscripts often lead a double life. Many exist simultaneously as part of a library, and as part of an archive, and libraries and archives have different ways of collecting, organizing, and describing material. Libraries contain deliberately purchased items, and these items tend to be arranged in a human-devised order (“artificial arrangement” in Information Science jargon).… Continue Reading

Announcing EMMO’s Beta Launch

To kick off the new year at Early Modern Manuscripts Online (EMMO), the EMMO team (Paul Dingman, Mike Poston, Sarah Powell, Caitlin Rizzo & Heather Wolfe, with additional thanks to Rebecca Niles) is thrilled to announce the launch of our beta site. Throughout this test period we will add transcriptions and new features to the site, with a view to making EMMO’s corpus an indispensable resource for early modern scholars in the years to come.… Continue Reading

William Shakespeare, Poet and Gentleman

The Guardian newspaper recently published an article about new manuscript discoveries concerning the life of William Shakespeare. These discoveries, made by Heather Wolfe, are described as a decisive blow to the belief that Shakespeare was a front man for someone else—a smoking gun that disproves the claims for other candidates such as Edward de Vere, Francis Bacon, Christopher Marlowe, Sir Walter Raleigh, or Queen Elizabeth.… Continue Reading

Princely New Year’s Gift? A Newly-Discovered Manuscript

What better way to greet the New Year than with a ceremony of gift giving among friends and acquaintances? It was certainly a popular way to celebrate at the courts of Elizabeth I and her successor, James I. Gifts came from courtiers and household members of all degrees, beginning with earls and their ladies down to the queen’s apothecary and musicians, as well as poets and others from outside the court seeking favor.… Continue Reading

Looking through the hole in a torn-open letter

Well, I thought the January 2017 Crocodile Mystery was going to be a tricky one, but Misha Teramura not only identified the phenomenon correctly (an endorsement written across the hole created when an early modern letter was torn open at the wax seal), he pinpointed the letter in question: Folger MS L.a.874, a letter from Edward Stafford, 12th Baron Stafford, Stafford Castle, to Walter Bagot and Walter Chetwynd, 6 May 1599. … Continue Reading

A Preview of What the New EMMO Website Will Offer

Manuscripts from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries are going digital with added features for users! The launch of a beta website for Early Modern Manuscripts Online next month will provide encoded transcriptions to accompany manuscript images and metadata. The number of transcriptions will be limited at first (a few hundred letters), but the EMMO corpus online will grow over time into a broad resource for research on a variety of manuscripts.… 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

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