The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Posts By: Abbie Weinberg

Faire Europe: Ortelius, Mercator, and the continents

Maps, today, are ubiquitous. We have them in our phones, on our public transit, on walls and signs everywhere you turn. Many people learn to read and interpret them from an early age. Conventions that we don’t even know are conventions guide our understanding of maps. Of course, this wasn’t always the case. For people in the 16th and 17th centuries, geography and cartography were rapidly changing and expanding fields, as European knowledge of other parts of the world grew by leaps and bounds.… Continue Reading

Music Manuscripts

Recently, I have found myself answering a number of reference questions concerning our musical holdings (a reference librarian manifestation of the frequency illusion perhaps?). Whatever the reason, it has been a nice reminder that some of our manuscript holdings contain more than traditional text. The Folger holds a great deal of music in manuscript form. The most complete source for the manuscript music is An Annotated Catalogue of the Music Manuscripts in the Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington D.C.Continue Reading

In Defense of the Card Catalog

Whenever I am giving a tour of our Reading Rooms, or introducing a new Reader to our collection, I always make it a point to mention that we still have a card catalog room (two, in fact—one primarily for our printed collections, and one primarily for our manuscripts and art collections), which together hold forty separate series of cards. The responses I get to this fact are varied, ranging from “Oh thank goodness, I’m so much more comfortable using a card catalog!”… Continue Reading

Letter Scraps

Yes, indeed. As several readers astutely figured out, this scrap of paper most likely bears the tail-end of the phrase “Sotheby sale.” As for why it’s in our collection? Well, part of that answer comes with one more piece of information: the handwriting is that of Henry Folger. Several weeks ago, Meaghan wrote about her search for Percy Fitzgerald’s copy of Love’s Sacrifice, and how that led her to a sale catalog from our collection.… Continue Reading

Documents, in microcosm

I have been part of the team that has been working to create Shakespeare Documented, which launched on January 20, 2016. In the last few weeks before launch, one of my main duties became the creation the thumbnail image for many of the nearly 500 items that are showcased on the website. What are thumbnails? In the context of a website, they are small images that represent larger images—sort of a preview, if you will, of what’s on the full image.… Continue Reading

The Secret History (of a publication)

Yes. As our readers quickly reported, this month’s mystery image is the imprint on Procopius’s The secret history of the court of the Emperor Justinian. In fact, it is the imprint of the very first English translation of Procopius’s Secret work. The history behind the Secret History is a tale in and of itself. Procopius of Cesarea was a legal advisor (and chronicler) associated with the Roman Emperor Justinian’s court in the middle of the 6th century.… Continue Reading

‘I Grapple him to my Soul with hooks of Steel’

I’m sure all of our readers know that moment when you’re looking for one thing but find something else entirely (some call it serendipity—I just call it research). Such as doing a Name Browse in Hamnet for “Adams” (I believe at the time I was looking for something edited by our former director, Joseph Quincy Adams), and discovering the heading “Adams, Abigail, 1744-1818, correspondent.”… Continue Reading

State Papers Online: tips and tricks, part 2

In my first post on the State Papers Online, I discussed how to search the database for a document that you already had some sort of reference to, whether that was the document/entry number, or a page number. In this post, I will look at ways to search State Papers Online more broadly. In general, searching State Papers Online is much like searching any other database, but there are a few things to keep particularly in mind.… Continue Reading

State Papers Online: tips and tricks, part 1

The Calendar of State Papers is a well-known historical resource for early modernists across a variety of disciplines. This “calendar,” or register, documents the workings of the British government during the reigns of the Tudors and Stuarts, 1509–1714. For decades, researchers used printed volumes of these calendars to search for the existence of specific documents. With the advent of online databases, and the cooperation of repositories such as the British Library and National Archives (where many of the documents recorded by the calendars are preserved), a database called the State Papers Online was created.… Continue Reading

Guten Tag! Como vai? Parlez-vous français?

Spring is Conference Season for many academics, allowing us to travel far and wide for our academic and professional enrichment. Sometimes, we find ourselves traveling in places where the local language is not one of the ones we are most comfortable with. (Until someone invents a time machine, my relative fluency in classical Latin isn’t going to help me order dinner, is it?)… Continue Reading