The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

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


Announcing EMMO’s Beta Launch

To kick off the new year at Early Modern Manuscripts Online (EMMO), the EMMO team (Paul Dingman, Mike Poston, Sarah Powell, Caitlin Rizzo & Heather Wolfe, with additional thanks to Rebecca Niles) is thrilled to announce the launch of our beta site. Throughout this test period we will add transcriptions and new features to the site, with a view to making EMMO’s corpus an indispensable resource for early modern scholars in the years to come.… Continue Reading

William Shakespeare, Poet and Gentleman

The Guardian newspaper recently published an article about new manuscript discoveries concerning the life of William Shakespeare. These discoveries, made by Heather Wolfe, are described as a decisive blow to the belief that Shakespeare was a front man for someone else—a smoking gun that disproves the claims for other candidates such as Edward de Vere, Francis Bacon, Christopher Marlowe, Sir Walter Raleigh, or Queen Elizabeth.… Continue Reading

Folger copy 54: From family library to research library

Folger First Folio number 54 traveled over 10,000 miles from Washington D.C., to San Diego California and Honolulu, Hawaii, during our First Folio! The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare tour, and is on view in our Great Hall through January 22, 2017. But its journey was already in progress long before this traveling exhibit. It had been moved from the Hutchinson family library, at the estate in Owthorpe, in Nottinghamshire, England, where it was since at least the late seventeenth century, to a “very large, apparently foreign made, Chest” by the time Captain Charles Hutchinson inherited it in the nineteenth century, after the estate had been sold out of the family.… Continue Reading

Announcing a New Folger Fellowship in Honor of Margaret Hannay

We’re proud to announce the creation of a new fellowship at the Folger Shakespeare Library. In partnership with the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women, the Folger Institute will offer a fellowship to scholars working on studies of women, genders, and/or sexualities in the early modern world, who can demonstrate a clear need to utilize the Folger’s collections. This $2500 award will allow a scholar to spend one month in residence at the Folger.… Continue Reading

Princely New Year’s Gift? A Newly-Discovered Manuscript

What better way to greet the New Year than with a ceremony of gift giving among friends and acquaintances? It was certainly a popular way to celebrate at the courts of Elizabeth I and her successor, James I. Gifts came from courtiers and household members of all degrees, beginning with earls and their ladies down to the queen’s apothecary and musicians, as well as poets and others from outside the court seeking favor.… Continue Reading

Looking through the hole in a torn-open letter

Well, I thought the January 2017 Crocodile Mystery was going to be a tricky one, but Misha Teramura not only identified the phenomenon correctly (an endorsement written across the hole created when an early modern letter was torn open at the wax seal), he pinpointed the letter in question: Folger MS L.a.874, a letter from Edward Stafford, 12th Baron Stafford, Stafford Castle, to Walter Bagot and Walter Chetwynd, 6 May 1599. … Continue Reading

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