The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Posts Categorized: Acquisitions

A “lost” drawing by Ellen Terry

Is it possible to lose something you never had? The other day I managed to “lose” a 1905 sketch of a theater interior by actress Ellen Terry (1847-1928). I had caught a glimpse of it when sorting through a small group of recently acquired letters, and was looking forward to having a closer look later. As far as I could tell in a glance, it was either a rough sketch looking out from the stage, like this 1768 engraving of the Amsterdam Schouwburg by Simon Fokke (1712-1784): …or it was a rough sketch looking towards the stage, like Simon Fokke’s companion engraving of the same theater: I didn’t want to interrupt my sorting, though, so anticipation about the mystery theater kept building.… Continue Reading

Imagining an 18th century Jane Doe

A fake woman with fake initials and a fake seal? What is going on with these early 18th century affidavits? Curator of Manuscripts Heather Wolfe explores burials, bureaucracy, and "ritualized compliance" in this post about two recent acquisitions.

A New Acquisition: from the workshop of the Naval Binder?

But upon the table—oh joy! the tailor gave a shout—there, where he had left plain cuttings of silk—there lay the most beautifullest coat and embroidered satin waistcoat that ever were worn by a Mayor of Gloucester. There were roses and pansies upon the facings of the coat; and the waistcoat was worked with poppies and corn-flowers. Beatrix Potter, The Tailor of Gloucester, 1903 On opening one of our new acquisitions, a bible in a fine Restoration binding, bound with a copy of the Book of Common Prayer and the Whole Book of Psalms, all I could think of was this scene from Beatrix Potter’s Tailor of Gloucester.… Continue Reading

Lost at Sea

Shakespeare liked shipwrecks, including one in at least five of his plays. Sea storms and shipwrecks were a convenient way to separate characters or bring them into conflict, as well as stranding them in a strange place. In the “Age of Exploration,” sea voyages became enticingly more possible over time, in spite of the dangers. But although Shakespeare himself never sailed to new lands, his printed words have circled the globe.… Continue Reading

New Vault Material Walks Into a Library…

New staff members (and researchers!) are sometimes surprised to find that on-order and newly received collection materials show up in Hamnet searches. Many special collections libraries keep that information staff-only until the material has arrived, been processed, and sent to the vault. But it doesn’t feel right to us to hide information that might be useful to researchers. Even if you can’t see an item right now because it was only ordered yesterday, you at least know that it exists, and is on its way.… Continue Reading

Purchases from the Robert S. Pirie Collection, Part 3: the manuscripts

In addition to the printed books and embroidered bindings described in last week’s post, the Folger also acquired 26 early modern manuscripts at the Robert S. Pirie sale at Sotheby’s (New York) in early December 2015. They should be arriving at the Folger soon, and we are eager to accession them, catalog them, and get them into the hands of our readers.… Continue Reading

Purchases from the Robert S. Pirie Collection, Part 2: the printed material

The Folger Shakespeare Library acquired 45 lots, 19 of them printed books, at the auction sale of the Pirie collection that took place on December 2–4, 2015, at Sotheby’s, New York (we’ve also put up the complete list of our acquisitions from this sale). As we described in our previous post about the sale, a great deal of preparation went into this auction, and part of that involved comparing our current holdings with the items offered in the sale.… Continue Reading

Purchases from the Robert S. Pirie Collection, Part I

The latter portion of 2015 included a bit more excitement than usual around the Folger, as we gathered for several days in early December to feast (on popcorn, primarily), drink (coffee and tea), and engage in that most merciless of blood sports: buying at auction. This occasion for festivity was Sotheby’s December 2015 sale of the magnificent collection of printed books and manuscripts belonging to Robert S.… Continue Reading

An Example of Printed Visual Marginalia

The Folger Shakespeare has recently acquired a copy of the 1706 English edition of the travel narrative A New Voyage to the North… (Folger 269- 090q), written by the French physician Pierre Martin de la Martinière (1637-1676?) and published posthumously around 1700. As the title indicates, the book was a sequel to an account of de la Martinière’s voyages to Nordic countries published in 1671.… Continue Reading

Publishing Against the King: French Civil War Pamphlets

From 1648 to 1653 a civil war, known as the Fronde, raged in France, with the nobility and most of the people of France on one side, and the royal government under the child-king Louis XIV and his hated chief minister, Cardinal Mazarin, on the other. The main cause of this civil war was resentment towards the royal government’s encroachment on ancient liberties and increasing taxation, but the Frondeurs were divided into factions and ultimately defeated.… Continue Reading