The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Posts Categorized: Books

Early women buying books: the evidence

In 1684, Bridget Trench bought herself a copy of the Rev. Samuel Clarke’s General Martyrologie, a collection of biographies of those who had been persecuted for their beliefs in the history of the church in England. The book contains a lot of good stories whose interest is heightened by the promise on the title page of “cruel, horrid, and inhumane sufferings.” Bridget really wanted this book, but it was expensive, so she had been saving for some time.… Continue Reading

“To Madame Sarah”

Sarah Bernhardt is, for many, synonymous with the melodramatic. One of the most well-known and celebrated actresses of the late-19th and early-20th centuries, she was described by contemporaries as “indefatigable;” “an actress without a rival;” and “a queen of art.” Actor Sir Herbert Tree called her, simply, “the greatest woman I have ever known.”  She was so iconic, some referred to her as “the Bernhardt” or “the divine Sarah.” Critics commented on her “glorious” voice (“soft and deep, and capable of infinite modulation…”) and her “long, catlike step.” It is not a stretch to say that she transfixed the theatrical world entirely.… Continue Reading

Following the Trail of Counterfeits in the Folger’s Reformation Collection

A guest post by Drew Thomas Among the many collections at the Folger, besides its magnificent Shakespeare Collection, is the Stickelberger Collection of Reformation Tracts. This valuable collection, purchased by the Folger in 1977, was compiled by the Swiss writer and collector Emmanuel Stickelberger (1884-1962). Combined with the previously acquired collection of Reformation pamphlets from the library of Sir Thomas Phillips (1792-1872), the Folger’s Reformation holdings make it a leading center of Reformation resources in North America.… Continue Reading

A red proof sheet used as printer’s waste

Thank you for your guesses on this month’s crocodile mystery. The leaf pictured here shows text from the Litany printed in red. The blank space is where the text in black would have been printed in a second press run. This leaf belongs to a set of four flyleaves—each with text from the Litany printed in red on one side only—located in the binding of a copy of The Image of Gouernance translated from the Greek by Thomas Eliot and printed by Thomas Berthelet in 1544.… Continue Reading

Marks in Manuals

A guest post by Bénédicte Miyamoto Are these manuals I spy in the workshop? It is impossible to read the spines of the books in the illustration of an artist’s workshop in Salomon de Caus’s 1612 La perspectiue: auec la raison des ombres et miroirs. They are stored in early-modern fashion, with their fore-edges facing outward. Was their content actually taught in the workshop?… Continue Reading

The Many Different Ways to Make a Lacemaking Pattern Book: The Case of Vinciolo’s Book

  Early modern lacemaking pattern books are ‘eye catching’ picture books with pages after pages of intricate designs. Unlike most modern pattern books, they generally include very little instructions on how to execute their models, expecting readers either to already be experienced needleworkers or to simply enjoy browsing through their images. Some time ago I serendipitously found in our collections a copy of Federico Vinciolo’s lacemaking pattern book.… Continue Reading

All the Purposes of a Library: a piece of blue ephemera

Thanks to all of you who participated in guessing for this month’s Crocodile Mystery! As some of you noted, it is a book bound in eighteenth-century waste paper, particularly waste paper related to a late eighteenth-century edition of the Cyclopaedia: or, An Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences by Ephraim Chambers. The tricky part is figuring out exactly what kind of waste it is.… Continue Reading

A Wyncoll’s Tale

Let’s face it, every special collections library has at least a few mystery items in the vault that are quietly passed down over the decades from curator to curator (or cataloger to cataloger, or acquisitions librarian to acquisitions librarian). These items exist in a liminal space of low-level awareness and quietly dissipating institutional knowledge, awaiting the elusive day when they can be remembered and identified.… Continue Reading

Dining with the Hermaphrodites: Courtly Excess and Dietary Manuals in Early Modern France

A guest post by Kathleen Long In 1605, a satirical novel, now known under the title L’Isle des Hermaphrodites (The Island of Hermaphrodites) was circulating on the streets of Paris. It was very popular at the time, according to contemporary accounts, and it was republished several times in the eighteenth century. Since its first publication, it has been read as being a criticism of the excesses of the French court during the reign of Henri III.… Continue Reading

Sizing Shakespeare’s Sonnets

A guest post by Faith Acker I still remember the first rare book I handled in a library. It was Thomas Caldecott’s copy of the Shake-speares Sonnets. Neuer before imprinted (Thomas Thorpe, 1609) a beautiful quarto that Caldecott presented to the Bodleian Library in 1833, and that the Bodleian allowed me to hold and read while I was working on my M.Litt.… Continue Reading