The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Posts By: Goran Proot

“Printed at Antwerp the fiue and twenty day of March”

This title page shows a strange combination of typographical features and language. Strange, at least, for someone who has seen a lot of title pages printed or published in Antwerp, and probably less so for people who are mainly dealing with the books in EEBO, ECCO, or those called up for in reading rooms of libraries with rich early modern English holdings.… Continue Reading

A ballet for the Polish prince

In my previous Collation post, I discussed a rare broadside announcing a Jesuit theater performance held in Brussels in September 1624. The Jesuits hoped that Ladislas Sigismund Wasa, who was traveling through Europe, would honor that event with his presence. Whether that happened remains uncertain, but thanks to a printed report, we do know that the Polish prince attended a ballet organized at the behest of the Archduchess Isabella Clara Eugenia.… Continue Reading

“Wherein True Bliss is Buried”: A Tragi-Comedy for the Prince of Poland, Brussels 1624

In the fall of 1960 an auction catalog was delivered to the Acquisitions Department of the Folger Shakespeare Library in which the following small typewritten notice was enclosed: The auction catalog was from Sotheby’s and it listed 544 lots of “valuable printed books, fine bindings, autograph letters, literary mss. and historical documents” originating from more than five different properties, to be sold on November 8–9, 1960.… Continue Reading

Measuring Hamlet and the golden section

It is an understatement to say that the layout of most books doesn’t show much daring, and that academic publications are among the most dull in this respect. But solid content and tasteful form do not necessarily exclude each other, as is convincingly demonstrated by the Canadian book designer Robert Bringhurst. Bringhurst’s The Elements of Typographic Style is not only a poetical account of his subject, it is a beautiful object that reflects the importance of its content.… Continue Reading

The Single Vine Leaf, aka the “Aldine Leaf”

I have always been a devotee of the “Aldine leaf”, even long before I knew its exact name or where it actually came from, and I am still delighted spotting it in early modern typography or when it is expertly used in current printed material. As with most delicate things in life, it should be applied with moderation and with consideration of the right time and place.… Continue Reading


Mors comoedia. A comedy a hundred years old brought to life again in 1726

Sheer chance is an important factor in research. Some sixteen years ago I was surveying a sammelband held at Antwerp University Library that contained 257 programs documenting theater performances in Jesuit schools in Flanders. And now, just a month ago, one of the many Neo-Latin theater plays in the Folger collections unexpectedly helped me to identify the author of one of the largely anonymous texts.… Continue Reading

Opening Ornamental Initials

During the last couple of months at the Folger, we have come across a number of exceptional ornamental initials in Flemish imprints, as we are processing these systematically together with two interns. These initials can be fascinating to study. For example, look at the beginning of the first book of Lodovico Melzo’s Regole militari […] sopra il governo e servitio della cavalleria, published in Antwerp by Joachim Trognesius in 1611: (Click on any image in this post to enlarge it.)… Continue Reading

An important auction

Let it be known that amongst the furniture of the late Duke of Aerschot, there are about 2000 paintings in all kinds of colors by a variety of excellent masters, such as Albrecht Dürer, Lucas van Leyden, Jan Gossaert, Hieronymus Bosch, “Florus Daych,” “Longue Pierre,” Titian, Veronese, and others.Continue Reading

Capital News from the Low Countries

What from a distance may look like a pasture, perhaps with oddly shaped poppies or some other flowers on the foreground and two buildings in the background, is actually much less pleasant. (Click any image in this post to enlarge it; once it opens in a new window/tab, click again to zoom in for details.)… Continue Reading