The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

“What manner o’thing is your crocodile?”: January 2018

Happy Boxing Day! We’ve brought you another crocodile mystery to open with your holiday goodies. This month’s mystery comes in two forms and appears in two places. Tell us, if you would, what these mysterious numbers suggest to you?     As usual, leave your thoughts and guesses in the comments below and we’ll be back in the new year with an answer.… Continue Reading

Twentieth-century illustration technique revealed in a “snow Globe”

While looking through the Folger collection for snow scenes (it’s that time of year!) I stumbled across this image of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, drawn in the 1960s by C. Walter Hodges: It is one of about 900 items in the “C. Walter Hodges collection of Elizabethan and other theatre drawings” acquired by the Folger between 1986 and 1990. Hodges drew it for the 1968 edition of his book The Globe Restored: A Study of the Elizabethan Theatre, published by Oxford University Press.… Continue Reading

Folger Collections related to Dramatic Performance

In hopes that we can help theater historians discover more about relevant Folger holdings through their own explorations, we have created this post on “named” collections at the Folger that relate to actors, dramatic performance, and the texts used by actors to stage drama. We hope it elucidates some of the “librarian’s short-hand” that we started to demystify in a previous post.… Continue Reading

A Sophisticated Leaf

There were several good guesses about this month’s Crocodile Mystery—a crease in the paper, or an off-center, pre-stamped envelope. But, Elisabeth Chaghafi was right on the money with her guess: this is a leaf that was missing a corner, which someone attempted to render “complete” by cutting and pasting the relevant bit from a different copy. In fact, both the fragment used for repair and the torn leaf have a distinguished lineage: they are both fragments from copies of two 1623 editions of Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies.… Continue Reading


Collecting the world in seventeenth-century London

Guest post by Surekha Davies  From at least the sixteenth century, overseas artifacts found their way into European princely and scholarly collections. There they were catalogued, analyzed, and displayed alongside natural and artificial curiosities from classical cameos to blowfish. I am currently at the Folger Shakespeare Library working on a new book project, Collecting Artifacts in the Age of Empire, and thinking through the ways in which collections and collecting practices shaped early modern European attempts to understand human variety around the world.… Continue Reading