The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

“What manner o’thing is your crocodile?”: May 2019

Welcome to another Crocodile Mystery! This month, we ask that you look at the images below and tell us what they have in common. (Yes, we know there are many possible answers to this. Yes, we are looking for one in particular. And do excuse the blurriness; this is the last time we try to take zoomed in shots without a proper lens!) Leave your thoughts in the comments and we’ll be back next week with the answer.… Continue Reading

The Location of Plates in a Book

When consulting a book with plates (that is, inserted leaves printed separately from the text), it is best not to assume that they have been placed in the same location in all copies of the same edition nor that their location in the book reflects the one intended by the author or the publisher. In our copy of Hiob Ludolf’s book on the ancient Ethiopian language of Ge’ez, for example, the portrait of the Ethiopian abbot Gregory was inserted between leaves E1 and E2 (or pages 34-35): while in the Bavarian State Library copy, it is located before leaf A, after the preliminary leaves including the author’s preface.… Continue Reading

One page, four inscriptions, three households

A guest post by Rebecca Laroche I began transcribing Folger manuscript V.a.681 because I recognized from the dealer’s description the name of a family, the Shirleys, and its house, Staunton Harold; I had previously found another book owned by another female member of that house in my work on women’s ownership of herbals. At first glance, this relatively new acquisition into the Folger’s receipt book collection promises a door into that noble house of the late seventeenth century.… Continue Reading

British Book Illustrations

Good news, picture-seekers! If you’ve ever tried to search Luna for a picture of something specific, you’ve probably noticed that relatively few digital images match one-to-one with their source descriptions. For example, although a keyword search for “dog” will bring up depictions of dogs in single items from the art collection (like this one who seems to making good an escape, and this one who has stopped to smell the flowers), it will also bring up all 140 images of a manuscript that’s described as including recipes “for the bite of a mad dog.” It will not, however, bring up any of the seven pages depicting dogs in Edward Topsell’s Historie of foure-footed beastes: Topsell’s book has a lengthy catalog record, but the word “dog” does not appear anywhere in it.… Continue Reading

The evolution of collection practices: a case study

A guest post by Lauren Liebe There is nothing quite as exciting in archival research as stumbling upon an unexpected connection between two objects. When I called up L852 copy 3 and D2292, I had not realized that they shared a Folger case file number (indicating that they were both purchased by Henry and Emily Folger, likely around the same time); but even that information would not have told me that the two volumes, both sammelbands of Restoration-era drama, were part of a four-volume set.… Continue Reading

Mapping Shakespeare’s plays: an experiment

A guest post by Charles Webb Friends, Romans, Countrymen: lend me your eyes For the past eight months I have split my time between working at the Folger Shakespeare Library and at Dumbarton Oaks as a Dumbarton Oaks Humanities Fellow. I am fortunate to work as a part of the Digital Media and Publications team here at the Folger, where I have had the opportunity to define my own digital project this year.… Continue Reading