The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Posts Tagged: paleography

Honing transcriptions with algorithms and acumen

A question I often hear from paleographers who contribute transcriptions to Early Modern Manuscripts Online (or EMMO) is: What are you going to do with all these transcriptions? It’s a good question—central to the whole project, actually—but it’s also a complicated one. The short answer I usually give goes something like this: We aim to gather multiple independent transcriptions for each digitized page and compare them to create an aggregate transcription which an expert paleographer then checks over for accuracy.… 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

A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down

There is a place in the north Atlantic Ocean where emerald waters and sandy shores await your toes—at least, according to a 2015 holiday brochure on Barbados. The royalist Richard Ligon scarpered there in 1647 after backing the losing side during the English Civil wars (1642–1649) and finding himself a “stranger in my owne Country.” Three years later he returned to England and wrote about his escapades in A True and Exact History of the Island of Barbados, first published in 1657.… Continue Reading

Hard hands and strange words

Until you get the hang of it, Henry Oxinden’s secretary hand is just plain difficult. Take a stab at this passage from p. 469 of his Miscellany (ca. 1642-1670), Folger MS V.b.110, extracted from a sermon delivered by Charles Herle at Winwick, Lancashire, in 1654. It is typical of the entire manuscript. Henry Oxinden’s lovely secretary hand. Folger MS V.b.110, p.… Continue Reading

EMMO: Early Modern Manuscripts Online

The Folger is thrilled to share the news that we are the recipient of a generous three year National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to create Early Modern Manuscripts Online (EMMO), an online searchable database of encoded semi-diplomatic transcriptions of all Folger manuscripts from the period 1500-1700. 1 That’s the final product, anyway. Getting there is going to be quite an adventure for us, one that we plan to share with you on The Collation at regular intervals once we get up and running next year.… Continue Reading

Pirates, hats, herring, and iron pots! The case of Captain Thomas Hubbard

When we get to “deposition day” in paleography class, one of the manuscripts that the students usually transcribe is Folger MS L.d.673, in which one John Bartholomew confesses to buying six iron pots, but no hats. Bartholomew states that he purchased the pots from one “Captaine Hubbart,” “before the bringinge in of the last two prises.” Folger MS L.d.673: The examination of John Bartholomew, taken September 4, 1576.… Continue Reading

Don’t try this at home (unless you are a professional brewer)

Here’s a little transcription exercise for our Crocodile readers: Folger MS V.a.429, fol. 29r. This is the title of a recipe in a book of culinary and medical receipts compiled between approximately 1675 and 1750 by a few generations of related women: Rose Kendall and Ann (Kendall) Cater of Kempstone, Bedfordshire, 1682; Elizabeth Clarke; and Anna Maria Wentworth of Wolley, Yorkshire, whose grandfather was Giles Clarke of Lyons Inn, London, and who later married Peter Bold of Bold Hall, Lancashire, 1725/26 (I’ve taken this information directly from the Hamnet record).… Continue Reading

An exercise in collaborative editing: Anthony Bagot’s letters and Nathaniel Bacon’s pirate depositions

As part of their paleography training, my paleography students always spend a bit of each afternoon working in pairs on transcriptions. It gives them a break from being in the “spotlight” as we go around the room reading manuscripts line by line, and allows us to shift from reading out loud to the detail-work of semi-diplomatic transcription. Two or three sets of eyes are much better than a single set in terms of efficiency and accuracy, and students learn from each other in a way that they can’t learn from me.… Continue Reading

Believe it or not: strange accidents and reports

  “Strange Accidentes” and “Strange Reportes” from Folger MS E.a.6, fols. 84v-85r (click image to enlarge) Early modern jokes and curiosities have a way of making us feel like insiders and outsiders at the same time. We’ll encounter jokes such as “A mad man is as stronge as two / Because he is a man besides himselfe” and think, Hey, I get it, early modern folks are just like us, and if I were eight years old I would think this was hilarious!… Continue Reading