The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Posts Categorized: Crocodile-mystery



“What manner o’ thing is your crocodile?”: February 2020

Welcome back to our monthly Crocodile Mystery! For those of you (ahem) mystified by this designation for our reoccurring series of posts, take a look at the post where it was named! For the question this month, we’re returning to our roots and asking “what manner of thing is this?” aka what is going on here? what do you notice about the image below?… Continue Reading

“What manner o’thing is your crocodile?”: December 2019

Welcome to the final Crocodile Mystery of 2019! As we close out the year (and the decade!), we invite you to look at the image below and tell us, if you can, what on earth it’s talking about?! Leave your thoughts and guesses in the comments below, and we’ll be back next week with an explanation.… Continue Reading

What are ancient coins doing at the Folger Shakespeare Library?

Thanks for the great guesses at the identity of the November 2019 Crocodile. It’s tempting to pick one at random and just run with it (“Why yes, it is King Lear’s lost button!”) but in fact, Robin Swope’s guess that it’s an old coin is correct. It is, in fact, a bronze prutah of Porcius Festus, Roman procurator of Judea. It’s dated the 5th year of Emperor Nero’s rule, which means it’s from 58 or 59 CE.… Continue Reading




“What’s in a Name?” or, Going Sideways

When, in Act 2 of William Shakespeare’s famous teen suicide play Romeo and Juliet, Juliet muses “[w]hat’s in a name? That which we call a rose / [b]y any other word would smell as sweet,” it’s lucky for her that she isn’t speaking to a librarian. Although her sentiment is poetic, we librarians prefer to be a bit more precise when it comes to terminology.… Continue Reading