The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

A Perfect Ten

American theater manager and playwright Augustin Daly (1838–1899) had a unique way of commemorating his productions. He collected illustrations, letters, and ephemera connected with the his staging, connected with historic productions of the play, and connected with the story of the play. However, instead of making a scrapbook from what he had gathered, he commissioned a professional inlayer to mount the material in paper “windows” and interleave them with similarly-mounted pages from his production’s printed acting edition.… Continue Reading

The seven ages of man, rendered movingly

In my last post, I described this month’s crocodile mystery as more of a rhetorical device than a question to be answered: what does this box prompt us to imagine what might be? 1 what would this box reveal? And what does it contain? Both a stage and a book. But it’s not just any stage and not just any book.… Continue Reading

A manuscript misattribution?

This post was originally going to be titled “Murder in the Archives” and was going to be about an account in William Westby’s 1688 diary (Folger MS V.a.469) of the discovery of a dismembered body found scattered on a dung hill and in two “houses of easement” (latrines) in London, the revelation of which caused panic throughout the city. I often use Westby’s description of the murder and subsequent confession and punishment of a French midwife accused of killing her abusive husband on “diary day” in paleography class.… Continue Reading

“What manner o’ thing is your crocodile?”: March 2013

I’m a bit early with the March crocodile, but sometimes it’s hard not to wish February done. And so here’s another variation on our crocodile mystery theme, this time asking you not what an item is, but what it might be. It wouldn’t take long to guess that this is some sort of box, so I’m not going to ask what it is.… Continue Reading

An important auction

broadside advertising a 1617 auction (click to enlarge in a new window/tab) Let it be known that amongst the furniture of the late Duke of Aerschot, there are about 2000 paintings in all kinds of colors by a variety of excellent masters, such as Albrecht Dürer, Lucas van Leyden, Jan Gossaert, Hieronymus Bosch, “Florus Daych,” “Longue Pierre,” Titian, Veronese, and others.Continue Reading

a Henry for her time

So the short answer to last week’s crocodile mystery is that this is a picture of Gwen Lally in the role of Henry V: Gwen Lally as Henry V How did I know that’s who this was? Well, click on the image and you’ll be taken to the file in Luna, where the metadata clearly indicates that it is “Gwen Lally as Henry V” and the bottom of the image (which I trimmed off for the crocodile post) is labelled “Henry V.” But that’s about all the information it provides, aside from the call number “Scrapbook B.67.1.” Because the Folger Theatre is currently staging Henry V, I was looking through our digital image collection to see what images we had of actors in the role of Henry.… Continue Reading

Myth-busting early modern book illustration, part two

The last round of book illustration myth-busting looked at how copper plates wear out (and how they don’t wear out). This time, I’d like to take a bucket of archival research and dump it on a related myth. How many acceptable impressions can you get from an engraved copper plate before it needs reworking? Conventional wisdom says “not too many,” or “not nearly as many as with woodcuts,” or “somewhere between a few dozen and a few hundred.” How about 6,425?… Continue Reading

“What manner o’ thing is your crocodile?”: February 2013

Something a little bit different with this month’s crocodile mystery: this is an object that I both know and don’t know what it is. At one level, it’s not hard to figure out what is being depicted. But who and why and what to do with this depiction is a bit more complex, I think, and I haven’t quite worked it all out yet.… Continue Reading

The Folger’s Mazarinades: Libraries within Libraries

A guest post by Kathryn Gucer In 1652, Gabriel Naudé argued passionately for the importance of libraries and collecting books in a brief pamphlet, Advis a nosseigneurs de Parliament. Naudé repudiates a proposal by the parliament of Paris to break up and sell off the library of Cardinal Jules Mazarin, chief adviser to Louis XIV and the parliament’s arch enemy.… Continue Reading

Capital News from the Low Countries

What from a distance may look like a pasture, perhaps with oddly shaped poppies or some other flowers on the foreground and two buildings in the background, is actually much less pleasant. (Click any image in this post to enlarge it; once it opens in a new window/tab, click again to zoom in for details.) title page woodcut (fol. A1r)… Continue Reading

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