The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Macbeth and the End of Slavery in the United States

What can Shakespeare say about the original sin of the United States, slavery? As two artists in the Civil War era thought, a lot. Two cartoons in the Folger’s collections, drawn around a decade apart, allude to Shakespeare’s Macbeth to comment on slavery and its place in U.S. society and politics. Through these cartoons we see the sea change that happened within that short span of time.… Continue Reading

The art of dying

a guest post by Eileen Sperry For early modern English Christians, dying was an art form. The bestseller list of the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, had there been one, would have been topped by some of the period’s many ars moriendi texts. These treatises, which took hold in England in the late 15th century and remained present through the country’s many doctrinal shifts, were wildly popular.… Continue Reading

Folger manuscripts out and about: a field trip to Penn!

During the Folger’s building renovation, we have been fortunate to be able to send a selection of twenty-nine pre-modern manuscripts up to the University of Pennsylvania Libraries’ Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts in Philadelphia. This exciting partnership allows for these rare items, produced in England and in continental Europe between the 13th and 16th centuries, to remain available to researchers during our extended period of closure.… Continue Reading

Frederick William MacMonnies, Shakespeare, circa 1895

Thanks for the great guesses about the object shown in the September Crocodile Mystery! Dawn Kiilani Hoffmann got it right. The photo shows the bottom of the bronze Shakespeare sculpture at the foot of the stairs from the Reading Room. The bronze base was cast separately from the statue itself, and the photo shows where large screws attach it to Shakespeare’s feet.… Continue Reading

“What manner o’ thing is your crocodile?”: September 2022

What manner o’ thing is this? Useless hint: like Antony’s eponymous crocodile, “It is shaped… like itself, and it is as broad as it hath breadth.” It does not, however, move “with it own organs.” Have a guess? Leave a comment and we’ll be back next week with more info.… Continue Reading