The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Identifying a leather bookplate

As became clear in the robust conversation around this month’s crocodile mystery, what we’re looking at is a leather bookplate—a circular, good-tooled leather bookplate stamped with the initials “E. H.” and a rose. While the object itself might have been easy to recognize, working out what the specifics of it were revealing was a bit harder. As Erin noted, the bookplate looked as if it had been cut down from a larger piece, leaving jagged edges rather than the smooth circle one might expect from a die-cut bookplate.… Continue Reading

“What manner o’ thing is your crocodile?”: July 2014

Just in time for the holiday weekend, a new crocodile mystery! your July mystery   This month’s crocodile mystery will be, for many of you, obvious as a category of object. So there’s an extra challenge: what else can you say about its identity? (Full disclosure: I have a hunch on this, but would love to get confirmation or a different answer from your collective wisdom.… 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 England. the three drafts of the grants of arms to Shakespeare’s father The Shakespeare grants can be seen to be in the hand of the herald William Dethick.… Continue Reading

An argent lion rampant: coats of arms in 17th-c. books

In recent months, the Folger Shakespeare Library added a rare emblem book to its holdings, a thin quarto bound in pasteboards holding 24 unnumbered leaves . The emblem book presents itself as a “new year’s gift” containing 13 engravings: one coat of arms and twelve emblems executed by the prolific engraver Frederik Bouttats. 1 The author of the text is a Jesuit who remains anonymous.… Continue Reading

Let’s make a model!

Co-written by Heather Wolfe and Jana Dambrogio In 2010, Jana Dambrogio and I were thinking independently about slits and stabs in early modern letters. Jana, after having had made many models of the letters of Tomaso di Livieri from the 1580s and 1590s (housed in the Fondo Veneto, Sezione II, in the Vatican Secret Archives), had just seen a letter in London from Elizabeth I that was similar in structure to a format used by her humble Venetian.… Continue Reading

Fun in cataloging, or, the mysterious 12mo

On occasion, interesting and unusual aspects of books, manuscripts, and prints catch the attention of the cataloger at work on them. 1 The office of the Cataloging and Metadata Department (located on Deck A right below the Paster Reading Room) is an open area with a large table in the center, which makes it really easy to show each other the cool stuff we come across.… Continue Reading

Hidden notes, “bibliographic nightmares,” and STC call numbers

Sometimes when keyword searching Hamnet, the results include mystery matches: when you Ctrl-V to find the word you’re looking for on the page, it’s not there. That’s because some fields only display on the “MARC view” tab. Usually the information isn’t worth making public. For example, what displays as: is served up by this underlying Machine Readable Cataloging, or MARC:  The only hidden piece of information is “CMS 20101102” – the initials of the cataloger who created the record and the date the record was finished.… Continue Reading

Four states of Shakespeare: the Droeshout portrait

So the mysterious eye of this month’s crocodile belongs to no other than Shakespeare, as some readers immediately recognized: Droeshout’s engraving of Shakespeare on the title page of the First Folio More specifically, it is Shakespeare’s left right eye as depicted in the third state of the Droeshout engraving from one of the Folger’s copies of the First Folio. If you’re wondering why I chose his eye as the June crocodile, that previous sentence is key: the portrait of Shakespeare engraved by Martin Droeshout for the First Folio exists in 4 different states, 3 of which can be seen in copies of the First Folio (the fourth state wasn’t introduced until the Fourth Folio in 1685).… Continue Reading

“What manner o’ thing is your crocodile?”: June 2014

For your June crocodile mystery, something to cast your eye over: I spy with my little eye, this crocodile mystery What is this, how many pertinent details can you point to, and why might it matter? Leave your guesses below and come back later this week to find the answer!… Continue Reading

Steady sellers

Recently, Jan van de Kamp, a scholar from the Netherlands, contacted me with the question of whether I knew a method to extract all religious steady sellers from the Short Title Catalogue, Netherlands (STCN). He would like to use that information to prepare a contribution to the Brill Companion to Dutch Protestant Piety, 1480–1820, in which Jan will discuss the production of edifying literature published in the Netherlands in the period 1570–1820.… Continue Reading

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