The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Posts Categorized: Manuscripts

Exploring Bess of Hardwick’s letters

As mentioned in a previous post, several online finding aids for manuscript collections at the Folger now include links to digital images of the documents, providing another avenue of access to both onsite and offsite researchers. Finding aids provide detailed descriptions about the creation, historical context, arrangement, and content of collections, helping researchers find items in a collection that are relevant to their interests.… Continue Reading

Don’t try this at home (unless you are a professional brewer)

Here’s a little transcription exercise for our Crocodile readers: This is the title of a recipe in a book of culinary and medical receipts compiled between approximately 1675 and 1750 by a few generations of related women: Rose Kendall and Ann (Kendall) Cater of Kempstone, Bedfordshire, 1682; Elizabeth Clarke; and Anna Maria Wentworth of Wolley, Yorkshire, whose grandfather was Giles Clarke of Lyons Inn, London, and who later married Peter Bold of Bold Hall, Lancashire, 1725/26 (I’ve taken this information directly from the Hamnet record).… Continue Reading

Bridging past and present

As I hope Collation readers know by now, the Folger is committed to openly accessible resources. Last week provided one example of the exciting results from such a scholarly pooling of knowledge. The story begins with a conference held at the Library on bindings, the culmination of a two-year project creating an online database of images of bindings at the Folger.… Continue Reading

Is that bleed-through?

In some ways, this image is a perfectly ordinary one (well, ordinary if it’s possible to think of an autograph manuscript of Mary Wroth’s important sonnet sequence Pamphilia to Amphilanthus [Folger V.a.104] as ordinary): Heather Wolfe was showing this image to the participants of the Folger Institute’s recent summer NEH institute, Early Modern Digital Agendas, as part of a transcription exercise.… Continue Reading

Margents and All: Thomas Milles between manuscript and print

Co-written by Heather Wolfe and Bill Sherman Margins are exciting places, full of possibility. Early modern authors use them to guide readers, emphasize important passages, and add commentary. Early modern readers use them to highlight memorable text and make notes on their reading. Early modern scholars like to hang out in margins in order to witness these interactions, and then draw conclusions about the particular reader(s) or work, or about reading practices in general.… Continue Reading

Noticing the weirdness of texts

Sometimes it’s fun just to look at books without worrying what they are and who printed them and what the text says. And sometimes, when you do that, you notice all sorts of ways in which they’re weird—they mix manuscript and print together, they play with layout and movement, they come in different shapes and sizes, we find them in unexpected places.… Continue Reading

Shakespeare’s personal library, as curated by William Henry Ireland

Co-written by Heather Wolfe and Arnold Hunt It’s every bibliophile’s dream. You’re in a bookshop, or maybe at a local auction, browsing idly along the shelves. It’s late in the afternoon and you’re just preparing to leave, when you spot a bundle of old pamphlets loosely piled in a cardboard box. At the very bottom of the bundle you pull out a slim volume bound in old calf. … Continue Reading

Annotating and collaborating

This month’s crocodile mystery was, as Andrew Keener quickly identified, an image from Gabriel Harvey’s copy of Lodovico Domenichi’s Facetie and (Folger H.a.2): There is a lot that could be said about Gabriel Harvey and his habits of reading.  He was a scholar, a writer, and a prolific reader who heavily annotated his books, about 200 of which survive (the Folger holds seven of his annotated books).… Continue Reading

Learning to write the alphabet

Learning to write the alphabet is one of the first stages of writing literacy. For early modern English children, this meant first learning to read the letters of the alphabet (printed in black letter) from a hornbook. They then learned to write the letters of the alphabet in one or both of the two main handwritten scripts, secretary and italic. For this, they relied on manuscript or printed copybooks or exemplars, usually supplemented by instruction from a writing master at a writing school, a private tutor or family member, or usher in a grammar school.  … Continue Reading

Pen facsimiles of early print

As the commenters on last week’s crocodile guessed, the mystery image showed writing masquerading as print or, to use the more formal term, a pen facsimile (click on any of the images in the post to enlarge them): It’s telling that two of the three guesses focused not on the blackletter but on the roman font and the decorated initial. Both of those aspects, I think, are easier to spot as being somehow “off” in comparison to what we expect from print.… Continue Reading