The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Portrait of a Young African Woman

A guest post by Alicia Meyer The Folger Shakespeare Library houses three etchings of African diasporic people by Wenceslaus Hollar. While we may never know the identities of the figures in these images, Hollar’s artistic choices direct how we see and remember seventeenth-century black lives. In this set of images, the vulnerabilities of youth, gender, and rank, as well as skin color, refract the figures’ agency and influence the viewer’s gaze to different ends.… Continue Reading

Drawn by Hayman, etched by Gravelot, preserved in Folger ART Vol. b72

For the June 2019 “Crocodile Mystery” we asked you to spot the differences between these two pictures: The main difference, of course, is that one is pretty much the reverse of the other. There are significant compositional differences too, though: Background figures in A do not appear in B Running man holds out an open palm in A and a sword in B Scabbards and legs in A make oblique angles; in B they are parallel or near-parallel (they’re also moved so that figures in both A and B can draw their swords right-handed).… Continue Reading

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

Last month’s Crocodile Mystery asked you to name what the images had in common. This month we ask the opposite: what’s different? Click the image for a larger view. Much MUCH larger versions of both pictures are available, but we’re only interested in differences that can be spotted at this scale. Please do not attempt to count the leaves (or, if you do, please do not expect Folger staff to verify your count).… Continue Reading

A Wild and Woolley Week

A guest post by the Before ‘Farm to Table’ team This week the Before ‘Farm to Table’: Early Modern Foodways and Cultures team turned their collective attention to Hannah Woolley (or Wolley), a British woman writer who was among the first women in early modern Britain to earn a living by her writing. She wrote across various genres during her life, providing readers with instructions on how to cook, how to perform household tasks, and how to manage employees.… Continue Reading

Snakes! on a … book?

“What is that?” someone asks, pointing to the corner of one of the books open for display. “This? Oh, it’s a book snake. Most useful object in the library!” I reply. This conversation happens once in nearly every book display I do. People are fascinated by these little objects that are so ubiquitous in a special collection reading room that many of us hardly notice them.… Continue Reading

“Run away”: a life in 78 words

A guest post by Simon Newman His name was Quoshey [sic], an Akan day name that tells us he was quite likely born on a Sunday on the Gold Coast of West Africa. But on Christmas Day 1700 Quashey was a frightened teenager who was a long, long way from home, as this short newspaper advertisement reveals. A Negro, named Quoshey, aged about 16 years, belonging to Capt.… Continue Reading