The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

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

We’re in the heat of summer (at least here in Washington D.C.) as we approach the end of July. So to help everyone cool off (or at least provide a distraction), we’ve pulled another Crocodile Mystery from our vaults. Tell us, if you would, what exactly is going on in this picture below: As always, leave your thoughts and guesses in the comments below, and we’ll be back next week with the answer.… Continue Reading

I learned to read Secretary Hand!!!! (And so can you)

Ever seen little kids at the swimming pool excitedly shouting “Look what I can do!!!!” after daring to jump off the big-kid diving board? That’s me right now, having just returned from Rare Book School in Charlottesville, Virginia, where I took Heather Wolfe’s week-long paleography class, “The Handwriting & Culture of Early Modern English Manuscripts.” Look what I can do!!!! I can read Secretary Hand!!!!… Continue Reading

Shakespearian novelties- er, novelettes

I was pretty intrigued when I pulled this case marked “Shakespearian novelties” from the shelf in the Vault… Spine of the case housing four “Shakespearian novelettes” … then I realized that it actually said “Shakespearian novelettes,” and my excitement dimmed a little. Novelizations and other prose adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays (and sometimes even poetry) are not exactly uncommon these days. Narrative stories based on Shakespeare’s plays have abounded since the publication of Charles and Mary Lamb’s Tales from Shakespear in 1807.… Continue Reading

A Photographic Facsimile from 1857

The July Crocodile Mystery showed a “detail from a printed play” and asked what’s up with the strangely uneven tone of the page. What’s up is that although the text is printed, it is not printed in ink. It is a severely and unevenly faded photographic print. Here is the full page: Leaf 18 from James Orchard Halliwell-Phillipps’s 1857 photographic facsimile of The famous victories of Henry the fifth.… Continue Reading


The Folger Institute Partners with the Shakespeare Association of America on a New Fellowship

The Folger Institute is pleased to announce a new fellowship in partnership with the Shakespeare Association of America, designed to promote scholarly work on William Shakespeare, his works, and their joined legacies. The Shakespeare Association of America (SAA) is a non-profit professional organization for the advanced academic study of William Shakespeare’s plays and poems, his cultural and theatrical contexts, and the many roles these have played in world culture.… Continue Reading

The EMMO Conference on Manuscript Studies in the Digital Age

On May 18th & 19th, 2017, EMMO held the Early Modern Manuscripts Online: New Directions in Teaching and Research conference at the Folger, in collaboration with the Folger Institute. This conference was a culmination of the project’s initial three-year phase, funded by a generous grant from IMLS. The conference began with welcoming remarks followed by a roundtable progress report on the Early Modern Manuscripts Online (EMMO) project to date.… Continue Reading

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

Happy Birthday, Elias Ashmole!

Today is the 400th anniversary of the birth of Elias Ashmole. Perhaps best known today for giving his name (and the founding collection of antiquities and “curiosities”) to the Ashmolean Museum at the University of Oxford, this 17th-century antiquarian had a wide range of interests, including astrology and alchemy. Ashmole’s first appearance in print was due to his interest astrology.1 In 1647, two of his translations appeared in William Lilly’s The Worlds Catastrophe.… Continue Reading

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