The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Dancing Skeletons and Human Hair: Remembrance, Memento Mori, and Material Culture

A guest post by Catherine Elliott Tisdale How do you remember loved ones who have passed away or family members who have scattered across the four winds? Today if we lose someone, we turn to photos, family films, emails, texts, voicemails, screenshots from Skype or Facetime, letters, birthday cards, Facebook profiles (there are currently 30 million active “Remembrance” profiles for the deceased and counting), and of course, the memories and stories we share with one another.… Continue Reading

What is Lost is Found Again: the Lost Plays Database

We had one answer right on the money for this July’s Crocodile Mystery—each of the images featured evidence of lost plays. The first image is a scrap from the Henslowe papers, recording a payment for John Day for the third part of The Blind Beggar. The second image shows a payment for the performance of Sir John Oldcastle (probably not the one spuriously attributed to Shakespeare, but a later play) before the King and Queen on March 12, 1630/1.… Continue Reading


Written in the Margent: Frances Wolfreston Revealed

A guest post by Sarah Lindenbaum “And what obscured in this fair volume lies / Find written in the margent of his eyes” (Romeo and Juliet, 1.3.87–88) Recently, two Shakespeare quartos held by the Folger Shakespeare Library were determined to likely be from the library of early modern reader Frances Wolfreston. The books themselves—copy 4 of the fifth quarto of Romeo and Juliet (1637) and a 1636 edition of Venus and Adonis—have been digitized through LUNA and are meticulously cataloged.… Continue Reading

A Pamphlet War in England, 1641-1643

A guest post by Brittney Washington Since my time as the 2017-2018 Nadia Sophie Seiler Rare Materials Resident is quickly approaching an end, I’ve been taking some time to look back on what I’ve learned about the amazing collection here at the Folger Shakespeare Library. My work focused specifically on cataloging printed materials found in the Wing bibliography (known formally as Short title catalogue of books printed in England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and British America, and of English books printed in other countries, 1641-1700).… Continue Reading

Engraved to Sell

Printed ephemera can be exciting, especially when it reveals information that can be found nowhere else. When it is also a very rare piece with only a couple of extant copies recorded, and its design is intriguing, the discovery is even more interesting. I was thus thrilled when, following a tip from a colleague, I found in the Folger stacks this small seventeenth-century engraved print containing information on where in London one could subscribe to John Ogilby’s English Atlas.… Continue Reading