The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Posts By: Rachel B. Dankert

Three chords and the truth

There are moments when a song is the best way to convey an emotional message. Even though songs are mostly public things, they still can feel intensely personal. Popular songs in early modern England were sung in ballad form. At the intersection of oral, print, visual, and dance cultures, ballads had a wide appeal across class and rural/urban divides. Their broad appeal and presence in everyday life, combined with emotionally profound subjects made ballads the perfect accent to scenes in Shakespeare’s plays onstage.… Continue Reading

The Pirates of H.M.S. Pinafore

The mystery man in the Crocodile Mystery image is the Englishman W.S. (William Schwenck) Gilbert, the librettist and playwright, in costume as King Claudius. Gilbert, along with composer Arthur Seymour Sullivan, created during the 19th century some of the most beloved and enduring works of comic opera, such as H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance, The Mikado, and Ruddigore.… Continue Reading

A recipe for brioche (knitting)

…a Collation KAL (knit-along). Cast on We built our friendship with knits and purls over coffee in the Folger Tea Room. Sharing patterns, exchanging techniques, and giving fiber recommendations are still staple conversation topics for us seven years after we first met. It seemed a natural fit, then, for us to co-author a post about a knitting surprise we found in the Folger collection (and not this kind).… Continue Reading

Play it again, Ham

As a Folger staff member, I am used to seeing Shakespeare’s face everywhere, but the image from this month’s Crocodile Mystery made even me do a double take. This month’s mystery was a stumper! The Hamlet behind Shakespeare/Yorick was Edwin “Eddie” Foy, a famous comic performer of the vaudeville era. Of all the roles available to a performer in Foy’s irreverent domain, it is curious that Hamlet is the one that haunts this jokester’s career.… Continue Reading

This Post Stinks, or, ‘I hope that the stuff will not smell too vilely’

John Masefield has a burning question he needs answered. Literally. Writing from his home Hill Crest in Boar’s Hill, Oxford, the Poet Laureate asks theater production veteran Allan Wade a crucial question about staging his home theatrical production of Macbeth.1 He registers a particular anxiety about the potential for stinking up the place—and not with bad acting. Autograph letter signed from John Masefield, Oxford, to Wade [manuscript], 19th or 20th century, [after 1917].… Continue Reading

Idols of the Reformation

Thank you to all who weighed in on this month’s Crocodile Mystery! Many people recognize October 31, 1517 as a major milestone in the beginning of the Protestant Reformation—the date that it is said Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the church door in Wittenburg. To mark that occasion, I thought it would be fitting to have a Reformation-themed Crocodile post!… Continue Reading

Folger Collections related to Dramatic Performance

In hopes that we can help theater historians discover more about relevant Folger holdings through their own explorations, we have created this post on “named” collections at the Folger that relate to actors, dramatic performance, and the texts used by actors to stage drama. We hope it elucidates some of the “librarian’s short-hand” that we started to demystify in a previous post.… Continue Reading

A New Era: The Folger Now Uses Aeon!

Arrive at the Folger and grab a locker. Check in at the Registrar desk. Find that perfect spot in the Reading Room—not too cold, with just the right amount of light. Say hello to the wonderful staff and pick up a stack of call slips. Fill them out and let the research begin! Now imagine checking into the Reading Room and stopping by the circulation desk to pick up the books you already requested before your visit.… Continue Reading

The Folger as a Collection of Collections

The next time a scholar of early modern Europe tells you that they don’t look to the Folger as their research home because they don’t work on Shakespeare, you might gently suggest that there are other parts of the Folger’s collection that may be relevant to their work. Chances are, if they work on any topic involving literature, religion, history, or culture from between 1450 to 1750 in Western Europe, the Folger has material for them.… Continue Reading