The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Posts By: Caroline Duroselle-Melish

Purchases from the Robert S. Pirie Collection, Part 2: the printed material

The Folger Shakespeare Library acquired 45 lots, 19 of them printed books, at the auction sale of the Pirie collection that took place on December 2–4, 2015, at Sotheby’s, New York (we’ve also put up the complete list of our acquisitions from this sale). As we described in our previous post about the sale, a great deal of preparation went into this auction, and part of that involved comparing our current holdings with the items offered in the sale.… Continue Reading

“Extravagantly Large Paper”

While working on the exhibition “Age of Lawyers” (currently on view at the Folger Shakespeare Library), I came upon several interesting copies of Thomas Littleton’s Tenures, the first textbook written on English land law. There are five different copies of Littleton’s book printed in London 1588 and 1591 by Richard Totell. The text in all of them lies in the inner top quadrant of each page, creating unusually wide margins on each side and below the text.… Continue Reading

An Example of Printed Visual Marginalia

The Folger Shakespeare has recently acquired a copy of the 1706 English edition of the travel narrative A New Voyage to the North… (Folger 269- 090q), written by the French physician Pierre Martin de la Martinière (1637-1676?) and published posthumously around 1700. As the title indicates, the book was a sequel to an account of de la Martinière’s voyages to Nordic countries published in 1671.… Continue Reading

A Pin’s Worth: Pins in Books

The object you see tucked in the gathering of the book in this month’s Crocodile Mystery is a pin. Recently, I have become aware of the presence of pins in a number of books at the Folger Shakespeare Library. At one time, curators and conservators removed them from the books and placed them in curatorial files. Now, we leave pins where we find them if they do not risk harming the book or the reader.… Continue Reading

Publishing Against the King: French Civil War Pamphlets

From 1648 to 1653 a civil war, known as the Fronde, raged in France, with the nobility and most of the people of France on one side, and the royal government under the child-king Louis XIV and his hated chief minister, Cardinal Mazarin, on the other. The main cause of this civil war was resentment towards the royal government’s encroachment on ancient liberties and increasing taxation, but the Frondeurs were divided into factions and ultimately defeated.… Continue Reading

A Renaissance best-seller of love and action

The Folger Shakespeare Library’s 26 copies of various editions of Lodovico Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso attest to its success during the 16th and early 17th centuries (a success that continued for much longer, but that is another story).  An epic poem replete with love and action, Orlando Furioso was an international bestseller worth having in one’s library even if one did not read it.… Continue Reading

How an 18th-century clergyman read his Folio

The Folger Shakespeare Library has never acquired another copy of a Shakespeare Folio since the Folgers’ time—until now. We recently added number 38 to our collection of Fourth Folios (S2915 Fo.4 no.38). Published in 1685, this was the last of the four great printings of Shakespeare’s collected plays during the 17th century. It was followed in 1709 by the first “modern” edition, by Nicholas Rowe, who followed the Fourth Folio text but added scene divisions, stage directions, and a character list (dramatis personae) for each play.… Continue Reading