The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Posts By: Erin Blake

Hidden notes, “bibliographic nightmares,” and STC call numbers

Sometimes when keyword searching Hamnet, the results include mystery matches: when you Ctrl-V to find the word you’re looking for on the page, it’s not there. That’s because some fields only display on the “MARC view” tab. Usually the information isn’t worth making public. For example, what displays as: is served up by this underlying Machine Readable Cataloging, or MARC:  The only hidden piece of information is “CMS 20101102” – the initials of the cataloger who created the record and the date the record was finished.… Continue Reading

Timon of Athens: nine not-actually-lost drawings by Wyndham Lewis

In 1998, modernist art and literature scholar Paul Edwards wrote about “a set of watercolours and (apparently) ink drawings on the theme of Shakespeare’s Timon of Athens” by Wyndham Lewis that had been published as a portfolio in 1913. Why only “apparently” in ink? Until Professor Edwards came across the nine drawings in the Folger’s digital image collection, art historians thought the drawings had been lost.… Continue Reading

Cataloging questions: How should we display variant titles?

Do you use Hamnet, the Folger’s online catalog? Do you want to help make it better? Of course you do! This is the first in what I hope will be an ongoing series of conversations designed to keep me from playing around with the display settings in whatever way strikes my fancy just because I happen to know the master password.… Continue Reading

V, u/v, and library transcription rules

You know the saying, “the great thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from?” You know Sarah’s post about the transcription practices used in The Collation, and Goran’s posts about V and U in titles and imprints of 17th-century Flemish books in the STCV? Welcome to the Anglo-American cataloging rules for transcription in early modern texts, which differ from both.… Continue Reading

A print pricked for transfer

So, what’s up with the crocodile mystery for March? As I said in the comments, Tom Reedy was verrrrry close with “It looks like some sort of device using punctures along a line to allow powder or ink to pass through and transfer the outline of a drawing to another surface.” It isn’t itself such a device. Rather, it is evidence of such a device having been made.… Continue Reading

See the 1960s Royal Shakespeare Company, now at the Folger!

Want to see Patrick Stewart in his mid-20s? How about photos of set design models for Peter Hall’s 1959 Coriolanus, starring Laurence Olivier? Come see the Folger’s newly acquired Gordon Goode Collection of Royal Shakespeare Company photographs. Gordon Goode (1931–2008) ran a freelance photography studio in Stratford-upon-Avon between 1958 and 1968, the decade that coincided with the formative years of the Royal Shakespeare Company.… Continue Reading

Happy New Year’s “E”

Perpetual calendars in the early modern period relied on knowing a given year’s “dominical letter” or  “Sunday letter”—the letter corresponding to the date of the first Sunday in January where A=1, B=2, C=3, and so on. This New Year’s Eve, we’re five days away from Sunday, so 2014’s dominical letter is the fifth letter of the alphabet: E. Armed with that knowledge, a quick glance at this William Faithorne engraving tells me, for example, that May 20 is a Tuesday:… Continue Reading

Mr. Folger’s most expensive painting

There’s a persistent rumor that “Mr. Folger never paid more than x for a painting.” The value of x depends on who’s telling the story, but it’s generally around $2,000 and is used as evidence that he wasn’t interested in paintings. The rumor probably began with Mr. Folger himself. When negotiating with dealers, he sometimes allows as how he might consider purchasing the item in question, but it’s really not the sort of thing he usually collects, and in any case, he’s never paid more than some small amount for such a thing… You get the idea.… Continue Reading

Can you spot the differences?

Have a look at the coat of arms worn by Edwin Booth (1833–1893) in the title role of Shakespeare’s King Richard III. Notice something wrong? Hint: The conventions Victorian aesthetics aren’t the same as the conventions of medieval heraldry. Give up? Aesthetic rules call for heavier design elements below lighter ones (hence a pyramid of fleurs-de-lis) and bilateral symmetry (hence sets of lions facing each other).… Continue Reading

Picture cataloging: new rules for old

Ta daaaa! I’m happy to introduce to you Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Materials (Graphics)—DCRM(G) for short—the latest publication in a suite of manuals that provides descriptive cataloging rules for primary source materials in special collections libraries. The official announcement will be made by the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section of the Association of College and Research Libraries jointly with the Library of Congress, but I figure it’s okay to leak the news to Collation readers since I led the editorial team.… Continue Reading