The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Investigating the origins of a Folger manuscript

With this post we inaugurate a series by people working at the Folger as Interns.

Classroom work and professional training never quite capture the true nature of the j – o – b. Therefore, for those pursuing advanced degrees in librarianship or museum studies, an internship or field study can be an extremely important way to gauge one’s aptitude and interest in the day-to-day work, and to strengthen knowledge and skills in areas not adequately covered in library or museum school programs. (Plus, an intern can often get course credit for it!)

For small institutions like the Folger, adding short-term staffing by way of internships is an important strategy for pushing projects forward. And for independent academic institutions like the Folger, without a ready supply of work-study undergrads or graduate assistants, this strategy can be essential. An active internship program also provides us with an important educational opportunity to “pay it forward,” as it were: assisting with the professional development and training of those who may be new to the profession helps to ensure that they are well acquainted with what we see as best practices.

Many intern projects on Deck A consist of turning typescript finding aids and descriptions with fading, and often cryptic, pencil annotations into online finding aids encoded in EAD. We always think it’s going to be a straight-forward process until our interns start pointing out ambiguities and anomalies. Staff has learned a lot about our collection from the efforts of interns, and we are happy for the opportunity to share their discoveries and insights more widely.

With that introduction out of the way, let us just add a heartfelt “thank you” to all of our past and present interns! And for those future interns among you, be sure to check out our “Employment and Internships” page on the Folger website.

A guest post by Folger Intern Ashley Behringer

Folger MS G.b.10 is a bound collection of copies of state papers and other materials dating from 1607 to 1625 and most likely copied shortly thereafter. At first glance, the items seem to be selected and arranged at random. They seem that way at second glance as well: letters of recommendation for Englishmen abroad, petitions to the king concerning property disputes, excerpts from a book about Ireland, requests for printing rights, plans to make a fortune in Virginia. Organization is neither chronological nor thematic. Most are copied from the papers of Ralph Winwood, a diplomat under Elizabeth and Secretary of State from 1614 to his death in 1617.

This volume has historically been attributed to one “D. Burton” because of the signature on the first leaf, “Sum D. Burton” (I am D. Burton). When I began converting the typescript finding aid into an online EAD-tagged finding aid for my intern project, I decided to try to find more information about the mysterious D. Burton. Leaf 112v in G.b10 is a copy of a letter from James I to Drue Burton of Sleaford, Lincolnshire for a forced loan of five pounds, receipted May 6, 1612. This information alone, however, is not enough to confirm the identity of the D. Burton on the title page.

His identity was waiting in the Folger’s online catalog Hamnet where a name browse for Burton, D revealed a receipt signed by a Drue Burton who “flourished” at the same time as the materials in G.b.10. The signature on the receipt (V.b.360, p. 120-121) matches the signature of the first leaf of G.b.10.

Signature from Folger MS G.b.10 - Sum D. Burton


Signature from Folger MS V.b.360 - By me D. Burton


The receipt Drue Burton signed in 1621 does not merely provide the full name of D. Burton, but it also reveals that he was the secretary to Sir Francis Crane. Taking this information to the State Papers online, I found a manuscript in the National Archives, Kew, which reveals that in 1630, Burton drew Crane’s ire by writing to Charles I accusing Crane of financial misconduct concerning an order for tapestries. Crane thereafter fired Burton (SP 16/80, fol. 90).

In the following year, Burton wrote to Henry Montagu, Earl of Manchester, asking for help to receive fees due to him for his auditorship (SP 16/540/1, fol. 157). Montagu’s nephew married Ralph Winwood’s daughter in 1633. In fact, most of Winwood’s papers were held by the descendant of the Montagus, the Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry, at the time the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts examined his collection in 1895. G.b.10 itself has “Bucleigh” written along the spine—the history of the Winwood papers and this inscription suggest that G.b.10 was long held by the Montagus, although its known provenance only goes back to the collector Thomas Phillipps (1792-1872). Presumably, the Winwood papers came to the Montagus when Ralph Winwood’s daughter Anne married into the family and brought with her Winwood’s home, Ditton Park. This estate is mentioned several times in G.b.10. At any rate, what we know is that Drue Burton, newly unemployed, wrote his name on a transcription of Winwood papers at about this time or several years thereafter. The most likely explanation for this is that Burton in some way worked for the Montagus.

At the time Burton wrote his name in the book, the Montagus were not yet related to the Scotts of Buccleuch. That union came in 1767. Since “Bucleigh” is written on the book (and in a hand later than that of the contents of the book), presumably G.b.10 was still held by the descendants of the Montagus at that time. Also written on the spine of the book is what appears to be “-owich.” This might mean Sandwich—Edward Montagu, Second Baron Montagu was MP for Sandwich in the Cavalier Parliament and a more distant branch of Montagus were the Earls of Sandwich.

This internship started as a simple “retrospective conversion” project, but once I found the critical clue of the matching Burton signatures, it turned into a miniature research project greatly assisted by the Folger’s subscriptions to State Papers Online and the Dictionary of National Biography.

The finding aid for G.b.10 is now available in the Folger Shakespeare Library Finding Aid Database.

ASHLEY S. BEHRINGER is completing her internship in Collection Information Services at the Folger. As a History/Library Science graduate student at the University of Maryland, she studies early modern Europe and archives.

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