The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Posts Categorized: Crocodile-mystery

“What manner o’ thing is your crocodile?”: May 2015

This month’s crocodile is more of a challenge than a mystery. We are looking for paleographer beginners and lifers to have a stab at these lines and tell us the truth about sugar. If you think you know whose handwriting this is, even better … Please leave your answers in the comments below. You don’t need to worry about transcription conventions, but if you’d like, you can consult the transcription guidelines we follow on The Collation.… Continue Reading

Keeping your Jesus and Judas straight

Co-written by Sarah Werner and Mitch Fraas One might think that when printing the New Testament, one would want to avoid at all costs mixing up Jesus and Judas. However, this month’s crocodile shows that such mistakes did happen: As two commentators simultaneously identified the mystery, the image shows a well-known misprint from the 1610 Geneva Bible (STC 2212) in John 6:67, in which instead of Jesus speaking to the apostles, Judas is identified as the speaker.… Continue Reading

“What manner o’ thing is your crocodile?” April 2015

Our crocodile series was disrupted by the work that went into creating the Folger’s new website, but we’re back in action this month with a perhaps appropriately timed mystery item: It’s just a snippet of thing, but leave your comments below and come back for the discussion of its mystery tomorrow!… Continue Reading

Mezzotint!

Simran Thadani’s wild guess for the December Crocodile Mystery, backed up by Martin Antonetti and Deborah J. Leslie, is our winner. This month’s image is a close-up of the lower right edge of a mezzotint engraving. The lines that look like warp and weft are, in fact, rows of tiny black dots crossing each other at right angles. This happens to be a fairly coarse mezzotint, with the grain easily visible to the naked eye.… Continue Reading

“What manner o’ thing is your crocodile?”: December 2014

Another new month, another new crocodile mystery! What manner of thing is this? Please leave wild guesses, informed opinions, witty remarks, and so on, in the Comments section. All will be revealed later this week (or sooner, depending on how the Comments go). UPDATE December 9: All is revealed in “Mezzotint!“… Continue Reading

Dalí as you like him

The change of pace in this month’s crocodile mystery is thanks to Salvador Dalí. Surely you, like our commenters, recognized those elongated legs. And if I’d shared the companion image, you’d have guessed that immediately as well. But what’s he doing in the Folger Shakespeare Library’s collections? Sharing his designs for As You Like It, obviously!… Continue Reading

“What manner o’ thing is your crocodile?”: November 2014

Perhaps the question for this month’s mystery is less about crocodiles and more about elephants: It’s been a while since we’ve done a mystery along these lines, so enjoy letting your imagination run free: What is this and what’s it doing in the collections of the Folger Shakespeare Library? As always, leave your comments, questions, and brainstorming below and come back next week for the reveal!… Continue Reading

When is an inscription not an inscription?

Two folks identified the key elements of this month’s crocodile mystery in their comments: Misha Teramura correctly noted that the inscription in the middle of the page—“pp. 184-190 refer to the progress of religion westward toward America”—refers to George Herbert’s final poem from The Temple, “The Church Militant.” And David Shaw noted that the other inscriptions—“8652” on the top left and “A176” on the bottom right—look to be an accession number and a shelf mark.… Continue Reading

“What manner o’ thing is your crocodile?”: October 2014

What might we say about this month’s crocodile mystery? As always, the mystery is not only what this thing actually is, but why it might be of interest. Leave your guesses in the comments below and come back next week for the reveal! Update October 7, 2014: The reveal is now revealed in “When is an inscription not an inscription?“… Continue Reading

Constructing volvelles

As Elizabeth Bruxer correctly identified within a few short hours of its posting, this month’s crocodile mystery showed the inner disc of an unconstructed volvelle from a copy of the 1591 edition of Giambattista della Porta’s De furtivis literarum  notis (STC 20118). The key to her identification lay in recognizing the image as being part of a volvelle and guessing that it was connected to ciphers.… Continue Reading