The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

The Guild of Women-Binders and the “bindings of tomorrow”

It’s not uncommon for me to encounter small presses, publishers, and binderies with which I’m unfamiliar in the course of my regular work at the Folger. However, few of them have as intriguing a story as the Guild of Women-Binders, which I discovered in our catalog earlier this month. The Guild of Women-Binders was started by Frank Karslake, a London bookseller with ambitious ideas, but little actual experience in bookbinding.… Continue Reading

From the Archives: Shakespeare in the USSR

Since (and even before) our founding in 1932, Folger Shakespeare Library staff has come together with a wide variety of arts and humanities organizations to celebrate the powerful nature of Shakespeare’s plays and poems. Shakespeare’s works represent a literary place to which many of us turn in times of turmoil, both personal and on a broader stage. His works have been used to support many different viewpoints, and many different types of causes—regardless of what use Shakespeare’s words have been made to serve, we can agree that they are powerful and compelling in the hands of orators and writers.… Continue Reading

The Folger as a Collection of Collections

The next time a scholar of early modern Europe tells you that they don’t look to the Folger as their research home because they don’t work on Shakespeare, you might gently suggest that there are other parts of the Folger’s collection that may be relevant to their work. Chances are, if they work on any topic involving literature, religion, history, or culture from between 1450 to 1750 in Western Europe, the Folger has material for them.… 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 New ASECS-Folger Short Term Fellowship

The Folger Institute is delighted to announce a fellowship in partnership with the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies. This $2,500 award will allow its recipient a one-month residency at the Folger Library in Washington, DC. The fellowship is interdisciplinary, and will work to support all areas of scholarly inquiry pertinent to eighteenth-century studies. Established in 1969, the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies is an interdisciplinary organization dedicated to the advancement of scholarship in all aspects of the period from the later seventeenth through the early nineteenth century in Europe, its colonies, and across the globe.… 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 a New Fellowship with the Omohundro Institute

The Folger is known for our Shakespeare collections, but our holdings support research on all aspects of British and European literary, cultural, political, religious, theatrical, and social history from the fifteenth through the eighteenth centuries: and that includes materials that document early modern interactions between women and men around the American and Atlantic worlds. The Folger Institute is proud to partner with the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture on a new fellowship, dedicated to supporting studies of early America, broadly understood.… 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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