The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Posts By: Abbie Weinberg

De Acupunctura: Willem ten Rhijne and Bringing Eastern Medicine to Europe

I am continually in awe of the depth and breadth of knowledge that our readers possess. Y’all are truly excellent. Yes, the answer to the Crocodile Mystery is, as several people answered, a chart of the acupuncture points on the head. Here is a slightly wider shot of this part of the diagram: And here is the diagram in full, showing the points on the back side of the body: This diagram, along with several others, appears in a book written by the Dutch physician Willem ten Rhijne, published in London in 1683 (but more on that in a moment).… Continue Reading

Happy 500th Birthday!

On a recent tour, I was showing a book published in 1518, and mentioned that clearly we were celebrating its 500th birthday by showing it off to a group of very appreciative folks. But that got me thinking—what other books in our collection turn 500 years old this year? 500 is a rather significant number. So let’s take a look at some of the cohort of books in our collection that have been around for half a millenium.… Continue Reading

Portia in Absentia

The guesses on this month’s Crocodile Mystery definitely pointed in the right direction: the mystery image this month is indeed the monogram signature of an artist. But rather than PH, it is PA: Percy Anderson. Anderson (1851-1928) was a well-respected theatrical designer, doing set and costume designs in both London and New York. In London, beginning in 1888, he most frequently worked for Richard D’Oyly Carte at his Savoy Theatre.… Continue Reading

Book Reviews from the Royal Society

Book reviews are a staple of many academic journals. They are a way to learn about new books in the field and to see what your fellow scholars think of them. And they’ve been around for a really long time. In my recent work, I have been searching through the early issues of one of the first scientific journals, the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society (many of which are freely digitized and searchable by the Royal Society) and I was bemused to discover that book lists and reviews were part of this early journal almost from the get-go.… Continue Reading

News, News, News

How do you get your news today? TV? Radio? Printed newspapers? Online news sites? Social media? Today we seem to be inundated by the news 24/7 and it sometimes takes a conscious effort to step away from the barrage. News consumption habits have changed drastically in the last twenty years. But while the speed at which news reaches us may be at unprecedented levels, the multiplicity of delivery methods for the news is nothing—ahem—new.… Continue Reading

“Whose least part crackt, the whole does fly”: early views on Prince Rupert’s Drops

Honor is like that glassy Bubble That finds Philosophers such trouble, Whose least part crackt, the whole does fly, And Wits are crack’d to find out why. Samuel Butler, Hudibras, Part II, Canto II, lines 385-89. In the second part of Samuel Butler’s satirical poem Hudibras, published in 1664, the four lines quoted here reference a phenomenon that has perplexed material scientists for over 350 years, and is only now being fully understood.… Continue Reading

Happy Birthday, Elias Ashmole!

Today is the 400th anniversary of the birth of Elias Ashmole. Perhaps best known today for giving his name (and the founding collection of antiquities and “curiosities”) to the Ashmolean Museum at the University of Oxford, this 17th-century antiquarian had a wide range of interests, including astrology and alchemy. Ashmole’s first appearance in print was due to his interest astrology. In 1647, two of his translations appeared in William Lilly’s The Worlds Catastrophe.… Continue Reading

Pietro Mattioli and the Everlasting Woodblocks

Yes, last week’s Crocodile Mystery was a close-up image of a woodblock. This woodblock, in particular: And in fact, it is the woodblock that was used to print this image: You can compare this section of the woodblock with the (hand-colored) print that it created: So what’s going on here? What is this book and why is the woodblock used for one of the illustrations still with it?… Continue Reading

Spirit rapping and other things that go bump in the night

This month’s Crocodile Mystery was a bit of a trick, rather than a treat (although hopefully this post will fulfill the treat aspect)—as far as I know, it really is just a fancy, decorated letter A. This is one of those situations where context is everything! It appears at the top of the hand-written cover of the 1864 second edition of A discovery concerning ghosts: with a rap at the “spirit-rappers” by George Cruikshank.… Continue Reading

The Other First Folio

Although many people talk about Shakespeare’s First Folio, we often forget another, perhaps equally important, First Folio that arrived slightly earlier, in 1616. While most of the attention this year has been on the anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, this other 400th anniversary is also worthy of recognition. In the fall of 1616, The workes of Beniamin Ionson was published in a large, imposing folio volume.… Continue Reading