The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Dining with the Hermaphrodites: Courtly Excess and Dietary Manuals in Early Modern France

A guest post by Kathleen Long In 1605, a satirical novel, now known under the title L’Isle des Hermaphrodites (The Island of Hermaphrodites) was circulating on the streets of Paris. It was very popular at the time, according to contemporary accounts, and it was republished several times in the eighteenth century. Since its first publication, it has been read as being a criticism of the excesses of the French court during the reign of Henri III.… Continue Reading

A late 15th-century tapestry fragment with visible restorations

Yes, indeed, the Folger collection item the March 2020 Crocodile Mystery is two-toned because of fading (and yes, indeed, it is a tapestry). Congratulations and thanks to Elisabeth, Ed, and Carolyn for their comments. The mystery wasn’t quite solved, though: the darker areas were not protected from light by being folded under or covered by something opaque, as was proposed in the comments.… Continue Reading


First Folger Director: William Adams Slade, Part I

A Guest Post by Stephen H. Grant Dear Collators, at a Fall 2019 reception in the Great Hall, I captured a rare historic moment in the Library’s history. We contemplate the personification of more than a third of a century of recent Folger leadership, side by side, in flesh and blood. Werner Gundersheimer was Folger director from 1984 to 2002. Gail Kern Paster succeeded Werner as Folger director in 2002 and stepped down in 2011.… Continue Reading

“Lusty” sack possets, fertility, and the foodways of early modern weddings

A guest post by Sasha Handley Take ye yolks of 14 Egs & six whites & boyle them very well strain them into a pewter Bason put a quarte of a pint of Sack to them a grated nutmeg a little senemond [cinnamon] as much white shuger as you thinke fitt sett them upon a chafin dish of charcoles keep it stiring till it is prety hot lett a quart of milke boyle up upon the fier put a peece of butter and two sponefulls of shuger in it when the egs are hott power in the milke upon them then cover it up presently close and lett it stand a quarter of an hower then sett it upon a cold stone This recipe for “sack posset,” dating to c.1672, can be found in the recipe book of Constance Hall in the Folger Shakespeare Library.… Continue Reading

Mellow Yellow and 50 Shades of Grey: the challenges of bi-tonal images

Well, I’m afraid our mystery image might have been a little too mysterious. For those of you still playing along, the mystery image from last week is an image from a microfilm of Folger MS D.a.6 that seems to show multiple pages on top of each other. Here is the full double page opening for context: Doesn’t help much, does it?… Continue Reading