The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Posts By: Sarah Werner

Pen facsimiles of early print

As the commenters on last week’s crocodile guessed, the mystery image showed writing masquerading as print or, to use the more formal term, a pen facsimile (click on any of the images in the post to enlarge them): It’s telling that two of the three guesses focused not on the blackletter but on the roman font and the decorated initial. Both of those aspects, I think, are easier to spot as being somehow “off” in comparison to what we expect from print.… Continue Reading

First Folios online

Editor’s Note, March 30, 2016: Sarah now is maintaining an up-to-date list of digitized First Folios on her personal site. When you’ve finished reading this post, please head over there to check out the current list. I imagine that you’re all thinking the same thing I’m thinking in the lead-up to April 23rd, Shakespeare’s birthday/deathday: Where can I find a good online facsimile of the First Folio?… Continue Reading

Secret histories of books

This month’s crocodile mystery was a bit more challenging than recent ones (perhaps not helped by my cryptic “suitable for April” introduction), but Aaron Pratt guessed the gist of it: the image was a detail of a page printed in black, usually referred to as a mourning page. Here is the full context, with the bit we were looking at taken from the middle of the left-hand page:… Continue Reading

The seven ages of man, rendered movingly

In my last post, I described this month’s crocodile mystery as more of a rhetorical device than a question to be answered: what does this box prompt us to imagine what might be? And what does it contain? Both a stage and a book. But it’s not just any stage and not just any book. The Globe Theatre is the setting for a miniature book that picks up on all the possibilities of staging:  “Presenting the Seven Ages of Man / by Mr William Shakespeare / As Rendered Movingly by Mrs.… Continue Reading

“What manner o’ thing is your crocodile?”: March 2013

I’m a bit early with the March crocodile, but sometimes it’s hard not to wish February done. And so here’s another variation on our crocodile mystery theme, this time asking you not what an item is, but what it might be. It wouldn’t take long to guess that this is some sort of box, so I’m not going to ask what it is.… Continue Reading

a Henry for her time

So the short answer to last week’s crocodile mystery is that this is a picture of Gwen Lally in the role of Henry V: How did I know that’s who this was? Well, click on the image and you’ll be taken to the file in Luna, where the metadata clearly indicates that it is “Gwen Lally as Henry V” and the bottom of the image (which I trimmed off for the crocodile post) is labelled “Henry V.”… Continue Reading

Teaching and collaborating

Last weekend, the Folger Institute and the Folger Undergraduate Program held a 3-day workshop on Teaching Book History. 50 librarians and faculty gathered from a wide range of institutions—small liberal arts colleges to regional schools to highly selective research universities—bringing a wide range of perspectives with them on how we might engage undergraduates in book history. Much of the work that we did collectively in the workshop is ongoing, so it’s perhaps premature to issue a report on what we learned and what will come of this experience.… Continue Reading

Volvelles

As three of you immediately identified in your comments, last week’s crocodile mystery was the fastening in the center of a volvelle, holding the various layers in place and allowing them to turn: Volvelles are paper wheels that are fastened to a leaf so that the discs spin independently. Some of the earliest volvelles were used for prognostication; Ramon Llull is credited with bringing the volvelle to the West in the late thirteenth century for use in his Ars Magna.  … Continue Reading


embroidered bindings

So last week’s crocodile mystery was nailed by Aaron Pratt within a half-hour of my posting: what you see below is, as he notes, an embroidered binding depicting David and Goliath and covering a Book of Psalms, in this instance, one from 1639. … Continue Reading