The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Posts Categorized: Manuscripts

Pandemic Paleography

“I may be losing what are left of my marbles, but in L.b.21 look at the middle wiggly bits of the brackets on the right hand side of 5r (second & third brackets), 5v (1st bracket) 6v (1st & 2nd brackets). Do you see faces in profile with a dot for the eye?”   @Noumenon, a volunteer transcriber living in Australia, posed this question a couple of weeks ago on the Talk feature of Shakespeare’s World, a crowdsourced Zooniverse project from 2015 to 2019.… 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

“Lusty” sack possets, fertility, and the foodways of early modern weddings

A guest post by Sasha Handley Take ye yolks of 14 Egs & six whites & boyle them very well strain them into a pewter Bason put a quarte of a pint of Sack to them a grated nutmeg a little senemond [cinnamon] as much white shuger as you thinke fitt sett them upon a chafin dish of charcoles keep it stiring till it is prety hot lett a quart of milke boyle up upon the fier put a peece of butter and two sponefulls of shuger in it when the egs are hott power in the milke upon them then cover it up presently close and lett it stand a quarter of an hower then sett it upon a cold stone This recipe for “sack posset,” dating to c.1672, can be found in the recipe book of Constance Hall in the Folger Shakespeare Library.… Continue Reading

Mellow Yellow and 50 Shades of Grey: the challenges of bi-tonal images

Well, I’m afraid our mystery image might have been a little too mysterious. For those of you still playing along, the mystery image from last week is an image from a microfilm of Folger MS D.a.6 that seems to show multiple pages on top of each other. Here is the full double page opening for context: Doesn’t help much, does it?… Continue Reading

The Eighteenth-Century Manuscript Verse Miscellany

A guest post by Betty Schellenberg Recently I’ve been exploring the very active literary lives of eighteenth-century lower gentry and middle-class individuals. Many of these socially obscure people not only composed and exchanged verse in manuscript form within their own social networks, but also copied out and arranged contemporary poetry that they found in printed sources. My primary evidence for this is the manuscript verse miscellany.… Continue Reading

The Wandering Soul: On Meeting Theadora Wilkin

A guest post by William Cook Miller While at the Folger Shakespeare Library over the summer, I came across a manuscript so exciting, so intriguing, so multifaceted, that I spent a full week combing through it, photographing it, trying to crack its mysteries. That manuscript is by a little-known—or rather, as far as I have been able to find, totally unknown—writer named Theadora Wilkin, and it bears the daunting title, The WANDERING SOUL in Conference with ADAM, NOAH, and SIMON CLEOPAS (Folger MS W.a.131-132) While the manuscript is not dated, it was probably a work long in progress.… Continue Reading

Let there be light! Kliegl lights on the New York Stage

Once again, I seem to have underestimated the level of esoteric knowledge held by our readers. Y’all are delightful (and I’m guessing have worked technical theater at some point…). Yes, yes, indeed. The Crocodile Mystery posted last week does seem to be referring, despite the… umm… creative spelling, to a Klieglight. The image itself comes from Folger manuscript T.a.81, which contains lighting plots for productions of Romeo and Juliet, Twelfth Night, Taming of the Shrew, Merchant of Venice and Hamlet.… Continue Reading

The Newsy Baronet: how Richard Newdigate (per)used his newsletters

A guest post by Elisabeth Chaghafi Large collections of books or manuscripts may be interesting for two reasons: the actual content of the items they contain, and also what they reveal about the collector who compiled them. The Folger’s Newdigate family collection of newsletters (Folger MS L.c.1-3950) is an excellent example of this. The inclusion of these newsletters in the Shakespeare’s World site has led to the transcription of a large portion of them, which in turn leads to a greater understanding of the collection as a whole.… Continue Reading

All the world and half a dozen lemons

A guest post by Lauren Working Thomas Wood’s 1576 letter to Richard Bagot begins conventionally enough. Wood was sending some artichoke “slips” with his letter, and he begins by describing the optimal way to plant the specimens to guarantee their growth. He accompanies this description with a simple sketch in the margin before turning to news from the Continent, including the story of a Polish duke who had “turned Turk,” or converted to Islam.… Continue Reading

One page, four inscriptions, three households

A guest post by Rebecca Laroche I began transcribing Folger manuscript V.a.681 because I recognized from the dealer’s description the name of a family, the Shirleys, and its house, Staunton Harold; I had previously found another book owned by another female member of that house in my work on women’s ownership of herbals. At first glance, this relatively new acquisition into the Folger’s receipt book collection promises a door into that noble house of the late seventeenth century.… Continue Reading