The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Learning to Weep: Early Modern Readers Reading Saint Peters Complaint (1595)

A guest post by Clarissa Chenovick Devotional weeping was serious business in early modern England. In an impressive array of bestselling print sermons and spiritual treatises, preachers and writers of varied religious persuasions exhort their hearers and readers to weep, sigh, and groan over their sins, and their audiences seem to have complied—or tried to comply—-with enthusiasm. We are familiar with the idea that medieval and Counter-Reformation Catholics embraced bodily expressions of penitence, including intensive weeping, but early modern Protestants also emphasize the value of devotional weeping.… Continue Reading

Henry Clay Folger’s Deltiological Profile, Part I

A guest post by Stephen Grant Like Emily Jordan Folger, Henry Clay Folger manifests his deltiological profile in two ways. First, he purchases picture postcards and sends them to his wife when he is on business trips. I found no evidence that he sends postcards to anyone else but Emily. Secondly, Henry’s interest in postcards is one way for him to boost his Shakespeariana collection.… Continue Reading

Early modern straws; or, quills are not just for writing

This post is brought to you by John Ward, who observed in the 1660s that a good way to “avoid drinking too much Beer” is to “suck itt in with a quill.” While we tend to think of quills quite narrowly as writing implements, quills in fact had many uses in early modern England. Because they were hollow shafts made of sturdy waterproof keratin, which is perfect for storing and conveying air, liquid, and powder, they had medical, culinary, recreational, and criminal applications as well.… Continue Reading


The Newsy Baronet: how Richard Newdigate (per)used his newsletters

A guest post by Elisabeth Chaghafi Large collections of books or manuscripts may be interesting for two reasons: the actual content of the items they contain, and also what they reveal about the collector who compiled them. The Folger’s Newdigate family collection of newsletters (Folger MS L.c.1-3950) is an excellent example of this. The inclusion of these newsletters in the Shakespeare’s World site has led to the transcription of a large portion of them, which in turn leads to a greater understanding of the collection as a whole.… Continue Reading

Printed Elizabethan poetry now included in Union First Line Index

As of September 2019, researchers have 35,261 more reasons to use the Union First Line Index of English Verse, hosted by the Folger Shakespeare Library. The database now contains all first lines, not just manuscript first lines, from Elizabethan poetry: a bibliography and first-line index of English verse, 1559-1603, by Steven W. May and William A. Ringler, Jr., the three-volume landmark published in 2004 (London and New York: Thoemmes Continuum, 2004).… Continue Reading