The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Posts By: Caroline Duroselle-Melish

The Location of Plates in a Book

When consulting a book with plates (that is, inserted leaves printed separately from the text), it is best not to assume that they have been placed in the same location in all copies of the same edition nor that their location in the book reflects the one intended by the author or the publisher. In our copy of Hiob Ludolf’s book on the ancient Ethiopian language of Ge’ez, for example, the portrait of the Ethiopian abbot Gregory was inserted between leaves E1 and E2 (or pages 34-35): while in the Bavarian State Library copy, it is located before leaf A, after the preliminary leaves including the author’s preface.… Continue Reading

What is the scope of the STC?

John Lancaster’s guess for March’s crocodile post is correct: This catechism, printed in Basel by Andreas Gesner, has an STC number because it follows the use of Salisbury; it therefore belongs to the group of books not in English printed abroad “according to British ‘use’” described in Katharine Pantzer’s introduction to the second edition of the Short-Title Catalogue of Books Printed in England, Scotland, and Ireland, and of English Books Printed Abroad (STC).… Continue Reading

The Drury Lane printshop

Jeffrey Meade’s guess is correct: this type inventory includes a great variety of large sized type. It belongs to a longer document made in June 1819 recording the furniture of the Theatre Royal at Drury Lane when the theater was put for sale by its Company of Proprietors (Folger MS W.b.383). Drury Lane was acquired later that year by the actor and manager Robert William Elliston.… Continue Reading

Engraved to Sell

Printed ephemera can be exciting, especially when it reveals information that can be found nowhere else. When it is also a very rare piece with only a couple of extant copies recorded, and its design is intriguing, the discovery is even more interesting. I was thus thrilled when, following a tip from a colleague, I found in the Folger stacks this small seventeenth-century engraved print containing information on where in London one could subscribe to John Ogilby’s English Atlas.… Continue Reading

Cracks in Etched Plates

Originally, I was going to do a crocodile post about the binding of this architecture book by Jacques Androuet du Cerceau: But after I thought about it, it seemed more appropriate to talk about the prints in the book. Andrea Cawelti guessed right: the wavy lines on this image correspond to cracks in the plate, which retained ink and printed. Other prints in this book show the same type of defects: As well as some corresponding to cracks at the edge of the plate: Several prints also show plate scratches: and a certain ink smudginess: In addition to these blemishes, several plates have one-sided beveled edges: and one print shows a plate corner missing: Clearly something was wrong with the set of plates used for this book.… Continue Reading

The Reformation at Folger

As this year marks the 500th anniversary of Luther’s 95 theses and along with it, the beginning of the Reformation, a blog post on the Folger Shakespeare Library’s Reformation collection is in order. Our collections in this area became prominent in 1977 when the library acquired the books and pamphlets collected by the Swiss writer Emanuel Stickelberger (1884-1962). Stickelberger’s collection contained 850 titles, 516 of which were printed before 1531.… Continue Reading

A Yellow Book

Thank you to those who have tried to solve this month’s Crocodile mystery regarding the yellow color of a book, which can be found in the Stickelberger collection of Reformation at the Folger Shakespeare Library (more on this collection in a future Collation post!). While we had many interesting guesses, we still cannot fully explain what caused the coloring of the paper in this book.… Continue Reading

Sophisticating the First Folio

This week we will continue our discussion of the First Folios currently on display in the Folger Shakespeare Library exhibition, First Folio! Shakespeare’s American Tour. This post will look at their “sophistication.” A “sophisticated” or made-up book is a defective book that has been perfected with leaves supplied from other copies, or from a pen or printed facsimile. Missing leaves in a book are the most likely motivation for its sophistication although, other explanations exist.… Continue Reading

Ben Jonson’s Library

While last week we brought up the anniversary of Ben Jonson’s first folio and discussed copies of this book that are held at the Folger Shakespeare Library, this week we’ll discuss Jonson’s library and his books at Folger. Jonson is listed in thirteen Hamnet records either as a “former owner” (when his ownership of the book has been confirmed), an “annotator” (when the book includes his annotations), or as an “associated name” (when his ownership is doubtful or has not been proven).… Continue Reading

Don Quixote on an Early Paper Cover

The Folger Shakespeare Library recently acquired a copybook with an intriguing pictorial paper cover, and it is, of course, the subject of the crocodile mystery we posted last week. This cover is made of thick paper (thicker than regular paper but thinner than boards) and is decorated with an engraving depicting Don Quixote mounted on his noble steed Rocinante, accompanied by his faithful servant Sancho Panza.… Continue Reading