The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Early women buying books: the evidence

In 1684, Bridget Trench bought herself a copy of the Rev. Samuel Clarke’s General Martyrologie, a collection of biographies of those who had been persecuted for their beliefs in the history of the church in England. The book contains a lot of good stories whose interest is heightened by the promise on the title page of “cruel, horrid, and inhumane sufferings.” Bridget really wanted this book, but it was expensive, so she had been saving for some time.… Continue Reading


“To Madame Sarah”

Sarah Bernhardt is, for many, synonymous with the melodramatic. One of the most well-known and celebrated actresses of the late-19th and early-20th centuries, she was described by contemporaries as “indefatigable;” “an actress without a rival;” and “a queen of art.” Actor Sir Herbert Tree called her, simply, “the greatest woman I have ever known.”  She was so iconic, some referred to her as “the Bernhardt” or “the divine Sarah.” Critics commented on her “glorious” voice (“soft and deep, and capable of infinite modulation…”) and her “long, catlike step.” It is not a stretch to say that she transfixed the theatrical world entirely.… Continue Reading

Inside the Folger Archives: Uncle Henry’s Pipers

As we all adjust to social distancing and teleworking, I have been reflecting on similar disruptions at the Folger during World War II. And in that vein, I would like to share with Collation readers the story of Uncle Henry’s Pipers—a short-lived recorder quartet—as revealed by ephemera and correspondence in the Folger’s Institutional Archives. The recorder was a popular instrument with minstrels and the upper class in the early modern world.… Continue Reading

First Folger Director: William Adams Slade, Part III

A guest post by Stephen Grant Similar to First Folger Director William Adams Slade, Part II, Part III will be deltiological in only one instance, as we continue to examine connections between Folgers and Slades (for readers seeking more deltiological content, Part I should fulfill those wishes). Closing this series on William Adams Slade, we are able to present a kaleidoscopic picture of the little-known first director of the Folger by drawing from a variety of sources: Mr.… Continue Reading

Following the Trail of Counterfeits in the Folger’s Reformation Collection

A guest post by Drew Thomas Among the many collections at the Folger, besides its magnificent Shakespeare Collection, is the Stickelberger Collection of Reformation Tracts. This valuable collection, purchased by the Folger in 1977, was compiled by the Swiss writer and collector Emmanuel Stickelberger (1884-1962). Combined with the previously acquired collection of Reformation pamphlets from the library of Sir Thomas Phillips (1792-1872), the Folger’s Reformation holdings make it a leading center of Reformation resources in North America.… Continue Reading