The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Posts Categorized: Acquisitions

A new copy of Foxe’s Actes and Monuments

The Folger Shakespeare Library already has two copies of John Foxe’s Actes and Monuments, published in 1570, so why would we want another, especially as it is only volume 1, of a two-volume set? The answer provides a good example of how we decide what rare items to add to the collection. We purchased this volume in June from Bonham’s auction house in London.… Continue Reading

The Return of the Prodigal Painting(s)

I’d guess that few people look at Appendix III in the back of William L. Pressly, Catalogue of Paintings in the Folger Shakespeare Library (Yale University Press, 1993). Appendix III is unillustrated, not very detailed, and rather depressing: it’s the list of paintings that are no longer part of the Folger collection. In all, sixty-three paintings were de-accessioned between 1961 and 1964.… Continue Reading

News of St. Bartholomew’s Day, 1572

When the Swann Auction Gallery catalog for the March 15 sale crossed my desk, I flipped through as usual, looking for things that might fit the Folger’s collection development policy. I wasn’t paying too much attention, since it was primarily a sale of Americana, but a German illustrated news sheet of the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre caught my eye, so I went to the online auction site for more information: It turned out to be one of Franz Hogenberg’s so-called Geschichtsblätter (“history broadsheets”), a series several hundred prints depicting the Wars of Religion that Franz Hogenberg and his successors published from 1569 to 1637.… Continue Reading

Dye to live, live to dye

The Folger has recently acquired some interesting hybrid books; that is, books which consist of a mixture of thematically-connected printed, manuscript, and graphic material gathered from a variety of sources into a single binding. Sidney scholar and Folger reader Margaret Hannay and I just spent some time with one of these acquisitions, an embellished copy of Mary Sidney, Countess of Pembroke’s translation of Philippe de Mornay’s treatise, A discourse of life and death (London, 1600), with 17 pages of manuscript texts and 4 pages of hand-colored prints appearing before and after the printed text, all tightly focused on the theme of the transitory nature of life.… Continue Reading

Another (sort of) happy reunion…

A few months ago I wrote about the joys of bringing together parts of an archive or collection that had gone astray, and provided three recent examples (Manuscript reunions).  Well, it has happened again, but this time, the story is about a single piece of paper that was split into three parts. The first part is an autograph letter from Sir Walter Raleigh to the London goldsmith Peter Vanlore, purchased by the Folger in 1995 (X.c.54). … Continue Reading

Librarians gone wild: an alternative spring break

A guest post by Sarah Wingo [Editor’s note: This is the second in an ongoing series of posts written by interns at the Folger. For the introduction to the series, see the first post.] I am a student working towards my Masters of Science in Information from the University of Michigan’s School of Information (UM-SI).  I recently had the opportunity, along with six of my peers, to volunteer my time at the Folger Shakespeare Library during the week of our spring break.… Continue Reading

The road to Acquisitions Night 2012

This Thursday is Acquisitions Night, the annual benefit to support Folger collections. It’s something of a three-ring circus: buffet dinner in the Great Hall, conservation demonstrations at one end of the Paster Reading Room, and—in the center ring—dozens of newly-acquired vault items spread through the rest of the reading room for visitors to enjoy and, perhaps, adopt. Since “Acq Night” is very much on my mind this week, I thought this might be a good opportunity for a curator’s-eye-view of the event.… Continue Reading

Manuscript reunions

Sometimes we come across a manuscript on the market that looks vaguely familiar, and sends us scrambling to Hamnet to figure out why. I was reminded of this last week when a bookseller offered us a “naval return for Queen Elizabeth I signed by Fulke Greville” (in his capacity as Treasurer of the Navy), consisting of the naval charges at Deptford for September 1600.… Continue Reading

A Trip to the Fair

Every November, the International Fine Print Dealers’ Association (IFPDA) holds a fair at the Park Avenue Armory in Manhattan. Colloquially known as the New York Print Fair, almost 100 dealers from the US, Canada, and Europe bring a selection from their stock for visitors to inspect, admire, and possibly purchase. There’s no obligation to buy anything more than an admission ticket, so it’s a great opportunity for people to see museum-quality art without velvet ropes or protective glass, and to take pictures of anything they want (using a flash is an etiquette violation because it disturbs others, and I didn’t want to lug around a proper camera, so for the “Photo by Erin Blake” credit on these images, please read “No-flash photo by Erin Blake, taken in haste with her phone, and very definitely not a Folger photo by Julie Ainsworth“).… Continue Reading

Interrogating a hermit

Three months ago the Folger was lucky enough to acquire a letter from Thomas Cromwell to George Talbot, earl of Shrewsbury. I say lucky because while roughly 350 letters from Cromwell survive, almost all of them are at either the British Library or the National Archives in Kew, and only one other letter by him has been sold at auction in over 30 years.… Continue Reading