The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Posts By: Sarah Werner

“What manner o’ thing is your crocodile?”: October edition

Once again, given the vagaries of The Collation‘s schedule and upcoming federal holidays, I’m posting the next month’s crocodile mystery at the end of this month. So don’t worry about how quickly the year is flying by: it is still September for a few more days! Some of you will immediately recognize what category of object this is, so I invite additional speculations in the comments below about the nature of this object, its details, and what we might learn from studying it.… Continue Reading

Early modern book history: it’s not just for English majors

Every seminar I teach on early modern book history, I like to start with a class asking what is book history? We read Robert Darnton’s essay, of course, along with pieces from D. F. McKenzie and Roger Chartier, along with some supplemental readings (this year, those included a piece on medieval books and some work from a pair of economic historians).… Continue Reading

“What manner o’ thing is your crocodile?”: September edition

Don’t panic—it’s still August, but rather than wait until the middle of September to share the new crocodile mystery,  I’m going to share it now and Heather will discuss it next week. At initial glance, it’s pretty clear what’s illustrated below: an address leaf of a letter, in this case a newly acquired letter from Thomas Cromwell to Nicholas Wotton, 8 November  [1539].… Continue Reading

Deciphering signature marks

So, as those of you who have spent any time working with early modern printed books probably recognized, this month’s crocodile mystery focuses on signature marks. Below is the photo I posted last week, now with the signature mark circled in red: Signature marks are those letters, numbers, and sometimes symbols at the bottom of the first portion of gatherings to help binders assemble the sheets of a book into the right order.… Continue Reading

“What manner o’ thing is your crocodile?”: August edition

Like last month’s crocodile mystery, this one has two levels of answers. The first, of course, is to identify what genre of thing this is. The second is to offer explanations for why this genre and this instance might be worth discussing. I will clarify that what I’m focused on here is the last line of type on the page; I’ve cropped the image down so that we’re seeing only the bottom few inches of the entire page.… Continue Reading

Learning from readers

Sometimes the beauty of our blog is that we can share with you items in our collections: new acquisitions, recently restored works, or long-held pieces worth a closer look. Sometimes its beauty is that it makes it easy to share information with you: details of a new finding aid, tips on using on of our digital resources, or insight into the workings of the Library.… Continue Reading

Armorial bindings

The reveal to this month’s crocodile mystery isn’t much of a reveal; both John Overholt and Philip Allfrey posted the answer in last week’s comments. It’s the stamp that George Granville Leveson-Gower, the 1st Duke of Sutherland (1758-1833) used in his armorial bindings. … Continue Reading

“What manner o’ thing is your crocodile?”: July edition

Okay, folks, it’s time for another crocodile mystery. It’s pretty obvious, I think, what genre of thing this is (though do go ahead and identify it anyway), so let’s take this to the next level: what specifics can you supply about this particular example? Don’t forget that, as always, if you click on the image a larger version will open up in a new window; clicking on that image should enlarge it further, if need be.… Continue Reading

Binding clasps

Some close observation and deductive reasoning led commenters in the right direction in solving the June crocodile mystery. Here’s image that I posted last week, with a bit more context: With that bit of the surrounding context, it’s much clearer that it’s a picture of the catch to a clasp on a fifteenth-century calf binding.  … Continue Reading

“What manner o’ thing is your crocodile?”: June edition

This month’s crocodile mystery will hopefully be less mysterious than last month’s, which was a bit unclear as to what you were meant to be focusing on. Take a gander at the picture below, keeping in mind, as always, that the object might not be depicted at life-size and that you can click on the image to enlarge it in a new window.… Continue Reading