The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Purchases from the Robert S. Pirie Collection, Part I

The latter portion of 2015 included a bit more excitement than usual around the Folger, as we gathered for several days in early December to feast (on popcorn, primarily), drink (coffee and tea), and engage in that most merciless of blood sports: buying at auction. This occasion for festivity was Sotheby’s December 2015 sale of the magnificent collection of printed books and manuscripts belonging to Robert S.… Continue Reading

Photo-manual illustration

As Jeff and Anthony commented on last week’s Crocodile Mystery, this picture is unusual because it is an engraved portrait copied from a photograph rather than from a drawing or painting. “Madame Celeste as the Princess Katherine.” Engraved by George Hollis from a daguerreotype by J.E. Mayall. Steel engraving, circa 1842 (printed circa 1850) Specifically, it is a steel engraving by George Hollis (1793–1842) based on a daguerreotype by J.E. … Continue Reading

“What manner o’ thing is your crocodile?”: January 2016

This month’s mystery raises the question of illustration technique, taking a portrait of Céline Celeste as Katherine in Shakespeare’s Henry V as an example. What makes this picture unusual, technically speaking? Please share your thoughts, guesses, New Year’s greetings, etc.,  using the “Leave a reply” box at the end of this post. Check back next week for the full story.… 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 about primary sources that document the life and career of William Shakespeare.… Continue Reading

EMMO announces the launch of Shakespeare’s World

There are thousands of manuscripts sitting quietly amongst the Folger’s ever-growing collection which Early Modern Manuscripts Online (EMMO) aims to transcribe. Earlier this year EMMO collaborated with Zooniverse, a hugely successful online crowd-sourcing platform, so that people all over the world could join us in this transcription project. We are delighted to announce that the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) has since jumped aboard this digital enterprise as well, and on December 10th Shakespeare’s World officially launched!… Continue Reading

The Secret History (of a publication)

Yes. As our readers quickly reported, this month’s mystery image is the imprint on Procopius’s The secret history of the court of the Emperor Justinian. In fact, it is the imprint of the very first English translation of Procopius’s Secret work. Title page of the first English translation of Procopius’s Secret History The history behind the Secret History is a tale in and of itself.… Continue Reading

“What manner o’thing is your crocodile?” December 2015

It’s a new month and you know what that means! Mystery time! We’re sure this month’s mystery image won’t be hard for our intrepid and knowledgeable readers to track down. Ah, but finding out more than the title of the associated book? That’s where the real mystery begins… As always, comment here with your thoughts and observations of this image, and come back next week for a more detailed exploration of the subject at hand.… Continue Reading

Two film studios, alike in dignity…

The Folger owns a variety of printed items related to the cinematic history of Shakespeare—screenplays and manuscript drafts, pressbooks and souvenir programs, and still photographs. Generally, there’s a good chance that we also have the related film recording in some form, but that’s certainly not a guarantee. And in some cases, no other libraries (or private collectors) hold the film recordings either.… Continue Reading

“Extravagantly Large Paper”

While working on the exhibition “Age of Lawyers” (currently on view at the Folger Shakespeare Library), I came upon several interesting copies of Thomas Littleton’s Tenures, the first textbook written on English land law. There are five different copies of Littleton’s book printed in London 1588 and 1591 by Richard Totell.1 The text in all of them lies in the inner top quadrant of each page, creating unusually wide margins on each side and below the text.… Continue Reading

Doodles and Dragons

A guest post by Gail McMurray Gibson, William R. Kenan Professor Emerita of English and Humanities, Davidson College. When the Macro Plays manuscript pages recently came out of the Folger vault for a day of conversation with scholars, curators, and the conservation team, I got a good look at some doodles. Compelling “doodles” on fol. 98v of the Macro Manuscripts. Unlike the careful drawing on the final folio of the Macro play of The Castle of Perseverance, famously heralded as the earliest extant English stage design, the crude sketches on the first and last paper pages of the late-medieval masque-like play Wisdom 1 haven’t received much attention.… Continue Reading

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