The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

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. This new OI-FI fellowship will support scholars—from advanced graduate students to senior scholars—with strong interests in Atlantic history, colonial history, literary studies, performance history, and material culture. Fellows will receive a stipend of $2,500 to make use of the collections at the Folger Shakespeare Library for one month, and they will participate in the Folger Institute’s intellectual community. A one-day workshop for recipients of the fellowship will occur each year, with Omohundro Institute editors joining Folger Institute staff for a roundtable discussion of each fellow’s work-in-progress.

Founded in 1943 as the Institute of Early American History & Culture, the Omohundro Institute produces an award-winning series of scholarly monographs; publishes the leading journal in the field of early American studies, the William and Mary Quarterly; and sponsors conferences each year designed to bring together scholars at various levels of career achievement for robust exchange. The OI also sponsors a number of short and long-term fellowships, including a prestigious OI-NEH fellowship program that brings postdoctoral scholars to Williamsburg for two years of research and teaching. It also has a rigorous training program for editorial apprentices. The name of benefactors Mr. and Mrs. Malvern H. Omohundro, Jr., were added in 1996 in recognition of their generous support of the Institute.

The Folger has a wide range of materials—both in manuscript and print, as well as art, etchings, woodblocks, and drawings—which are of interest and use to scholars of the early modern American and Atlantic worlds. A unique and complete set of mixed-media manuscript and print indentures, all bonded in one year (1682/3), by one office in London, document the lives of sixty-five women and men who promised their future labor in exchange for passage to Barbados, Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. Etchings by the artist Wenceslaus Hollar capture the likenesses of four seventeenth-century children of African descent (we do not know whether they were enslaved or free), as well as one young Algonquian-speaking man.

Portrait of an African boy, Wenceslaus Hollar (ART 236023 (size XS))
Portrait of an African boy, Wenceslaus Hollar (ART 236023 (size XS))
Unus Americanus ex Virginia, aetat, Wenceslaus Hollar, 1645. (ART Box H737.5 no.29)
Unus Americanus ex Virginia, aetat, Wenceslaus Hollar, 1645. (ART Box H737.5 no.29)

Printed texts, such as Hariot’s 1590 Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia, Herbert’s Some Yeares Travels into Divers Parts of Asia and Afrique (1638), Ogilby’s 1670 edition of his book Africa, and Ward’s Trip to Jamaica (1698), document European reactions to and interpretations of the people and places they encountered in their conquest and exploitation of Atlantic and Pacific worlds, and are joined by mediated sources such as John Pory’s 1600 translation of Leo Africanus’ Geographical Historie of Africa.

The Folger also holds an extensive collection of early maps, including a rare hand-tinted copy of Ephraim Pagitt’s polemical 1636 Christianography, as well as other cartographic works by Mercator, Ogilby, Ortelius, Ralegh, Seller, and Speed.

Christianography, Ephraim Pagitt, 1640. (STC 19112, folded plate facing leaf a4 verso)
Christianography, Ephraim Pagitt, 1640. (STC 19112, folded plate facing leaf a4 verso)

All of these printed works in English are matched by an equally impressive collection of sixteenth-, seventeenth-, and eighteenth-century books in French, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish, many of which are relatively undiscovered as their records are currently contained in the on-site card catalog alone. Many of the Folger’s texts are heavily annotated, with extensive marginalia, deletions, and commentary; these kinds of editions are a hallmark of the collection, as the library’s founder, Henry Folger, placed particular value upon books that had been marked and used by their early modern readers.

Applicants should submit their applications directly to the Omohundro Institute. They should include an electronic file with a brief project description (1,000 words maximum) and a c.v. In addition, two letters of recommendation should be sent to the Omohundro Institute via e-mail ( Applications are due no later than April 1, 2017.


  • The description of the circlet headband worn by the young Algonquian in Hollar’s Unus Americanus ex Virginia tells us that they are teeth, Do we know what animal they are from? (They look more like bobcat claws to me.)

    • I couldn’t find anything specific talking about what kind of teeth/claws the headband might be. I did find one article that definitely came down on the side of “claws” though:

      “In terms of shell, however, claw-shaped forms do not appear archaeologically until after ca. 1650. Curiously, there is some ethnohistorical evidence for them during the 1640s. The well known print of a “Unus Americanus ex Virginia. Age 23” by Wencelaus Hollar, dated 1645, depicts a young man with a headband of claw-shaped forms, in addition to other shell ornaments. Although usually identified as a “Virginia Algonquian” (Feest 1978:261 Figure 6), recent archival research by George Hamell has identified this individual as “Jacques, a Munsee from New Netherland” who was taken to the Dutch Republic in 1644 where Hollar drew him the following year.” — James W. Bradley, “RE-VISITING WAMPUM AND OTHER SEVENTEENTH-CENTURY SHELL GAMES,” in Archaeology of Eastern North America, Vol. 39 (2011), pp. 25-51

      If you ever come across something that identifies them more specifically, I’d love to know!

Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)