The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

How to Make a Librarian Panic

Co-authored by Elizabeth DeBold (Curatorial Assistant), Renate Mesmer (Head of Conservation), Austin Plann Curley (Book Conservator), and Adrienne Bell (Book Conservator). With special thanks to Kevin Cilurzo (Conservation Intern).   As some of our respondents observed in their comments on this month’s Crocodile Post, there is a strange-looking deposit on the leather of this book. The book is, as others correctly identified, one of the volumes from the Folger’s multi-volume set of Famiglie celebri Italiane…, an eighteenth-century work published in Torino, which focuses on Italian heraldry.… Continue Reading

“What manner o’thing is your crocodile?”: August 2017

We’re in the heat of summer (at least here in Washington D.C.) as we approach the end of July. So to help everyone cool off (or at least provide a distraction), we’ve pulled another Crocodile Mystery from our vaults. Tell us, if you would, what exactly is going on in this picture below: As always, leave your thoughts and guesses in the comments below, and we’ll be back next week with the answer.… Continue Reading

I learned to read Secretary Hand!!!! (And so can you)

Ever seen little kids at the swimming pool excitedly shouting “Look what I can do!!!!” after daring to jump off the big-kid diving board? That’s me right now, having just returned from Rare Book School in Charlottesville, Virginia, where I took Heather Wolfe’s week-long paleography class, “The Handwriting & Culture of Early Modern English Manuscripts.” Look what I can do!!!! I can read Secretary Hand!!!!… Continue Reading

Shakespearian novelties- er, novelettes

I was pretty intrigued when I pulled this case marked “Shakespearian novelties” from the shelf in the Vault… … then I realized that it actually said “Shakespearian novelettes,” and my excitement dimmed a little. Novelizations and other prose adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays (and sometimes even poetry) are not exactly uncommon these days. Narrative stories based on Shakespeare’s plays have abounded since the publication of Charles and Mary Lamb’s Tales from Shakespear in 1807.… Continue Reading

A Photographic Facsimile from 1857

The July Crocodile Mystery showed a “detail from a printed play” and asked what’s up with the strangely uneven tone of the page. What’s up is that although the text is printed, it is not printed in ink. It is a severely and unevenly faded photographic print. Here is the full page: Every leaf in this facsimile of a 1617 edition of The famous victories of Henry the fifth is an actual photograph, printed on light-sensitive paper.… Continue Reading