The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

When the Body is Ill, The Mind Suffers: Shakespeare’s Unravelling of Women’s Hysteria and Madness in the Elizabethan Era

a guest post by Alexandria Zlatar During my research fellowship with the Folger Institute, my investigation has undertaken an exploration into a highly under-represented aspect of mental health and has focused on lived-in experiences of mental illness in Shakespearian England. What did it mean not only to treat mental illness but also create art and write about these experiences? There have been dominant answers to this question throughout literary studies, which have traditionally emphasized the focus of “illness” and reinforced the notion that people were too un-fit to function.… Continue Reading

Stealing Signs

Thanks to everyone who shared their guesses on last week’s post and congratulations to those of you who guessed correctly! Sermo mirabilis: or the silent language by Charles de La Fin, London, 1693. Folger call number: L174 The mystery image comes from an instruction manual on sign language communication by Charles de La Fin entitled Sermo mirabilis: or the silent language.… Continue Reading


My True Meaning: emotions in seventeenth-century wills

Anyone who has read early modern wills, whether in an attempt to confirm the names of family members or out of interest in material history, knows that they are full of emotion. Dying men and women describe their family members as “dear” or “loving,” or sometimes, more sadly, as “undutiful” or “ungrateful.”  Friends are characterized as “trusty” and “well-beloved.” People express their religious fervor, attempt to have the last word in old quarrels, make appeals for raising children, and pass on specific items to specific people.… Continue Reading

Performing Diplomacy and Selling Spectacle

a guest post by Nat Cutter In this post, following on from a previous one on Shakespeare and Beyond that introduced my ASECS-Folger Shakespeare Library Fellowship project, I’ll share some of the (still ongoing) findings of my research into North African diplomats, public performance, and newspaper advertising in London, 1681-1734. During this period, more than a dozen embassies from the Moroccan Empire and the Ottoman Regencies of Algiers, Tunis, and Tripolitania visited London and the surrounding regions.… Continue Reading

2022-2023 Folger Fellows

The Folger Institute is pleased to announce the 2022-2023 cohort of research fellows. Two years of virtual fellowships and programming have taught us the importance of supporting not only collections-based research, but also the various forms research support must take to create more equitable access to funding opportunities. Our virtual fellowships have supported and will continue to support time to write, summer teaching releases, caregiving responsibilities, digital humanities initiatives, and the creation of undergraduate course materials, in addition to time to consult online resources or request the digitization of materials.… Continue Reading