The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

“What manner o’thing is your crocodile?”: April 2021

Never smile at a crocodile…mystery, that is. Especially when Shakespeare looks this shocked. Which 20th century performer is holding Shakespeare’s terrified, Yorick-ified head? If you’re not too scared, leave your guesses in the comments below and come back next week for the answer!… Continue Reading

Documenting mistakes in our documentation

If someone points out a typo in an online Finding Aid or a Hamnet catalog record, we gratefully say thank-you, fix it, and (usually) move on. Sometimes, though, a big enough mistake has been around for a long enough time that we can’t just move on. We have to take extra steps to find the source of the mistake, and make sure its ghost doesn’t come back to haunt scholarship.… Continue Reading

Pre-pandemic phone photo fails

As we hit the one year mark of special collections reading rooms closing around the world because of the pandemic, “primary source research” for many of us now consists of scrolling through our phones in search of photos of collection items from early 2020, the last time many of us set foot inside a reading room. While my daughters no longer complain, “Ugh, Mom, why do you have so many pictures of dumb manuscripts on your phone?,”… Continue Reading

Making rum in unexpected places

Note from the editors: we are testing a new image viewer in this post, and there are some bugs still to work out. If any of the images aren’t loading for you and you see a blank box instead, try clearing your browser’s history/cache and refreshing the page. A guest post by Jordan Smith For many US-based academics, late February/early March marks the one-year anniversary of our last taste of normalcy.… Continue Reading

Marks on Bindings

Thank you for your witty guesses to this month’s Crocodile, they are great! I also need to make a disclaimer: I am far from having collected enough evidence to answer this mystery, so like you, I only have guesses to offer and they may not be as funny as yours… Like many of you, I’m leaning towards the hypothesis that this book was used as a board mat to cut something (most likely paper).… Continue Reading

“What manner o’thing is your crocodile?”: March 2021

We’ve come full circle—it’s (almost) March again. Or maybe it’s always been March? Instead of breaking your brain wondering how that can possibly be, here’s a new crocodile mystery to ponder: can you guess what happened to this binding and why there are cuts on it? Leave your guesses below and as always, we’ll be back next week with the answer.… Continue Reading