The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Posts Categorized: Manuscripts

Interpreting Systems that Make Place

a guest post by Lehua Yim It’s not often that one has the opportunity to study a fully digitized, 420-ish year old, almost 750 page manuscript that never went where it was supposed to go. This manuscript, Folger MS V.b.182, is barely mentioned in scholarship, with only a handful of scholars interested in its contents. Instead, it mostly appears as a kind of footnote in the biography of an Elizabethan administrator whose influential relationship to Shakespeare’s plays, sixteenth-century English pageantry and theater history, and government censorship drives most interest in his life and work.… Continue Reading

When Past is Prologue: Munro, Malley, and the #IranRevolution

a guest post by Nedda Mehdizadeh I’m currently revising an essay for publication that centers on a Persian-language manuscript I found at the Folger Shakespeare Library while on fellowship in 2017. The catalog entry for the manuscript, S.b. 122, includes information about its ownership and acquisition in the metadata, which is also summarized in its assigned title: “Copy in the hand of Sir Thomas Munro of The Mussulman and the Jew, a Persian MS [manuscript], 1786.”… Continue Reading

An Italian Naturalist in England

Thank you for your guesses. “Aldrovandus” is indeed the first word of the sentence, “Gesner” is the last one. The whole sentence reads: “Aldrovandus does not take things vp pon trust alltogether so much as Gesner:” This transcription was produced by the amazing “Folger Ward Team,” made up of Folger staff and other volunteers, who are transcribing the complete set of Ward’s diaries.… Continue Reading

Condicions agreed vppon: a 17th century Polish-Turkish treaty

a guest post by Carrol Benner Kindel Introduction The subject manuscript, page 237 of Folger MS V.b.303, is contained within a “collection of political and parliamentary documents” compiled between the middle of the 16th and middle of the 17th centuries. It is a one-page list of conditions (condicions in this manuscript) proposed for an agreement between the Turkish Emperor, Osman II (1618-1622), and the Polish King, Sigismund III (1587-1632) following a war between their empires.… Continue Reading

The Fairy King’s Grimoire

A guest post by Alexander D’Agostino I am an artist working with queer histories and images, through performance and visual art. During my Artist Research Fellowship with the Folger, I am creating The Fairy King’s Grimoire: a reimagining of the magic and rituals outlined in Manuscript V.b.26, The Book of Magic with instructions for invoking spirits, etc. while considering needs and beliefs of queer people today.… Continue Reading

Folger manuscripts out and about: a field trip to Penn!

During the Folger’s building renovation, we have been fortunate to be able to send a selection of twenty-nine pre-modern manuscripts up to the University of Pennsylvania Libraries’ Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts in Philadelphia. This exciting partnership allows for these rare items, produced in England and in continental Europe between the 13th and 16th centuries, to remain available to researchers during our extended period of closure.… Continue Reading

My True Meaning: emotions in seventeenth-century wills

Anyone who has read early modern wills, whether in an attempt to confirm the names of family members or out of interest in material history, knows that they are full of emotion. Dying men and women describe their family members as “dear” or “loving,” or sometimes, more sadly, as “undutiful” or “ungrateful.”  Friends are characterized as “trusty” and “well-beloved.” People express their religious fervor, attempt to have the last word in old quarrels, make appeals for raising children, and pass on specific items to specific people.… Continue Reading

Warwick Castle Shakespeare Library

Whoof, it looks like the numbers and letters in this month’s Crocodile Mystery were a bit too cryptic! In this case, the alphanumeric collections are shelf marks. In particular, they are shelf marks from the Warwick Castle Shakespeare Library, ca. 1890. And what are they doing in the Folger’s collection? Well, pull up a chair and a cup of tea, because that’s a bit of a tale.… Continue Reading

Printed Pamphlets for the Witch of Wapping

During September of last year, while browsing digital resources in the London Metropolitan Archives, a familiar name caught my eye. It was a 1652 indictment from the Middlesex quarter sessions, which tried criminal cases, where a woman named Joan Peterson (or Micholson) was accused of murdering a wealthy older woman through witchcraft. The Folger has an interesting (and heartwrenching) document that I’ve shown before to visitors who are interested in witch trials: the lone such document in a group of letters related to the Lenthall and Warcup families, it appears to be a transfer, or warrant, describing the same woman.… Continue Reading

Slurrop! An ode to soup

In 1595, English writer William Fiston (or Phiston) produced a translation of a French book of manners for children. Topics included proper behavior that was important for Church and school, but also a section on table manners. Here, Fiston admonishes his readers: …beware thou soupe not thy pottage, but eate it leisurely with a spoone, without taking it into thy mouth greedily, forcibly drawing thy breath with it, as some clownes do use, sounding at the receipt of euery spoonefull Slurrop.… Continue Reading