The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Posts By: Guest Author

Book History, Manuscript Studies, and Navigating Special Collections During COVID-19

A guest post by Breanne Weber and Tamara Mahadin In the midst of a pandemic, participants of the Folger Institute’s “Orientation to Research Methods and Agendas” gathered in a virtual seminar space this summer. Since the COVID-19 pandemic halted access to the archives in institutional libraries, this year’s seminar, in collaboration with Pennsylvania State University, was a different, yet eye-opening, experience.… Continue Reading

An Experiment in Following a Worm Through a Folded Letter

A guest post by William Davis Folger staff have long been interested in folding early modern letters for mailing. It comes up periodically when someone finds a letter with unusual folds. Both Heather Wolfe and Erin Blake have written Collation posts about discovering how certain types of folds were done and why. However, a digital surrogate is not usually a source that leaps to mind as a tool when confronted with folding questions.… Continue Reading

Postcards in the (home) archive: Folger postcards, 1936

A guest post by Stephen Grant Printed on picture side: FOLGER SHAKESPERIAN LIBRARY, WASHINGTON, D. C. 4A-H1791  Printed on address side: B. S. REYNOLDS CO., 918 D St., NORTHWEST WASHINGTON, D.C. “C. T. ART-COLORTONE” MADE ONLY BY CURT TEICH & CO., INC., CHICAGO, U.S.A. THIS SPACE FOR WRITING MESSAGES. THIS SPACE FOR ADDRESS ONLY. Written message: March 16, 1936 Dear Mrs Brubaker – The pale blue dress I am sending you has been cleaned only once – last week – so it is probably worth being dyed.Continue Reading

A Conservation Intern’s Observations on STC 2608

A guest post by Kevin Cilurzo (with particular thanks to Adrienne Bell) For a conservator, to disbind and rebind a book is a rare chance to study and understand its binding structure. With broken sewing and loose detached leaves, Folger STC 2608 needed major conservation treatment before it could be safely handled by readers. Folger STC 2608 is a hybrid book combining a manuscript and a printed text.… Continue Reading

Reading Anatomy Texts Like Poetry (and why we should do it more often)

A guest post by Whitney Sperrazza When we look at this page from Thomas Bartholin’s 1668 anatomy text (Folger B977), it’s easy to think of it as an objective document. We imagine we are seeing “data” about the womb and clitoris gathered by the anatomist during the dissection process. Reading science books, even old ones, this is the prevailing pattern, and one that scientists themselves continue to cultivate.… Continue Reading

Decoding Early Modern Gossip

A guest post by Alicia Petersen What comes to mind when you think of a coded letter? Political intrigue? Espionage? As the Folger Shakespeare Library’s 2014-5 exhibition Decoding the Renaissance: 500 Years of Codes and Ciphers highlighted, these guesses are pretty accurate. Particularly in the tense political climate surrounding the English Civil Wars (1642-1651), coded letters abounded in connection to plots and conspiracies.… Continue Reading

Postcards in the (home) archive: Folger postcards, 1935

A guest post by Stephen Grant Editor’s Note: Stephen’s previous post covers postcards of the Folger from 1934. Printed on picture side: Statue of Puck Folger Shakespeare Library Printed on address side: FIGURE OF PUCK, BY BRENDA PUTNAM   FOLGER SHAKESPEARE LIBRARY, WASHINGTON, D.C. ©RIDEOUT STUDIO    POST CARD    CORRESPONDENCE Written message: “Perhaps with a magnifying glass you can read what Puck is saying.Continue Reading

Facial Misrecognition

A guest post by Wan-Chuan Kao  Oliver Sacks, who brought to popular awareness many cognitive conditions that are simultaneously debilitating and fascinating—such as visual agnosia, of which face blindness is one type—observes that “our faces bear the stamp of our experiences and our character”; and “it is with our faces that we face the world, from the moment of birth to the moment of death.”… Continue Reading

Birds, Beasts, Maps, and Books: The Search for Richard Daniel, Esquire

A guest post by Danielle Skeehan Even before research libraries shut down in March 2020, digitization efforts had already changed how we access archives and how we can do research. From the comfort of my home, I can do a keyword search in Readex, EEBO, Shaw-Shoemaker, and other databases, and access thousands of results in seconds. But, of course, digital archives cannot replace the valuable feedback and support provided by archivists, library staff, your fellowship cohort, and often the fellow sitting next to you in the reading room.… Continue Reading

Postcards in the (Home) Archive: Folger Postcards, 1934

A guest post by Stephen Grant As I set out with “Folger Postcards 1934” to share my personal collection of Folger postcards in a systematic way with all you Collators, I have to pause. Why am I doing this? Yes, due to a) the building renovation, and b) COVID-19, I cannot access the Folger archives. But why has not someone else (until now) taken stock of all the picture postcards produced by or related to Folger—exterior, interior, artifacts—and the wealth of information one can gain from them?… Continue Reading