The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

“What manner o’thing is your crocodile?”: August 2021

This month’s Crocodile post brings to mind the classic board game Guess Who? (19th century edition!). Does your person have a giant mustache? Yes. Are they wearing a crown? Yes… Do they look annoyed? YES! For those of who you might struggle with this one, here’s a clue: “he is an Englishman.” Lock in your guesses in the comments below and be sure to check back next week for the big reveal!… Continue Reading

Postcards in the (home) archive: Folger postcards, 1936

A guest post by Stephen Grant Printed on picture side: FOLGER SHAKESPERIAN LIBRARY, WASHINGTON, D. C. 4A-H1791  Printed on address side: B. S. REYNOLDS CO., 918 D St., NORTHWEST WASHINGTON, D.C. “C. T. ART-COLORTONE” MADE ONLY BY CURT TEICH & CO., INC., CHICAGO, U.S.A. THIS SPACE FOR WRITING MESSAGES. THIS SPACE FOR ADDRESS ONLY. Written message: March 16, 1936 Dear Mrs Brubaker – The pale blue dress I am sending you has been cleaned only once – last week – so it is probably worth being dyed.Continue Reading

2021-2022 Folger Research Fellows

The Folger Institute is pleased to announce the 2021-2022 cohort of Folger Institute Research Fellows! With the Folger Shakespeare Library building renovation project well and truly underway, the Folger collections remain unavailable for in-person consultation. However, the Folger Institute is committed to continuing its support of collections-based research, and to providing scholars with the resources they need to pursue and advance their work.… Continue Reading

A Conservation Intern’s Observations on STC 2608

A guest post by Kevin Cilurzo (with particular thanks to Adrienne Bell) For a conservator, to disbind and rebind a book is a rare chance to study and understand its binding structure. With broken sewing and loose detached leaves, Folger STC 2608 needed major conservation treatment before it could be safely handled by readers. Folger STC 2608 is a hybrid book combining a manuscript and a printed text.… Continue Reading

Reading Anatomy Texts Like Poetry (and why we should do it more often)

A guest post by Whitney Sperrazza When we look at this page from Thomas Bartholin’s 1668 anatomy text (Folger B977), it’s easy to think of it as an objective document. We imagine we are seeing “data” about the womb and clitoris gathered by the anatomist during the dissection process. Reading science books, even old ones, this is the prevailing pattern, and one that scientists themselves continue to cultivate.… Continue Reading

Decoding Early Modern Gossip

A guest post by Alicia Petersen What comes to mind when you think of a coded letter? Political intrigue? Espionage? As the Folger Shakespeare Library’s 2014-5 exhibition Decoding the Renaissance: 500 Years of Codes and Ciphers highlighted, these guesses are pretty accurate. Particularly in the tense political climate surrounding the English Civil Wars (1642-1651), coded letters abounded in connection to plots and conspiracies.… Continue Reading

Expurgation with decoration: type ornaments as replacement text

Thanks for the great comments on last week’s Crocodile Mystery. Everyone scores ten points, with full marks going to the two commenters who correctly identified the publication. It is, in fact, a block of nonsense that replaces an expurgated paragraph of text. I wish I could show you the whole page of the Folger copy, but unfortunately, the visual note-to-self shown here is all I’ve got until the Folger re-opens after major renovations.… Continue Reading

“What manner o’thing is your crocodile?”: July 2021

This month’s Crocodile Mystery comes from a 17th-century publication: What’s going on in this photo? Please speculate, elucidate, and/or procrastinate in the “Comments” section. Also, in case you, like I, had misremembered the source of the catchphrase we use for our monthly WTF (“What-the-Folger”) post, “What manner o’ thing is your crocodile?” is a line from Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra, act 2, scene 7.… Continue Reading

New Acquisition: Photographs of an early 20th-century production of Hamlet in Japan

Welcome to a new regular series here on The Collation! Curatorial staff will be writing short pieces focusing on new acquisitions, hopefully giving our readers a glimpse into how we’re building our collections. Today, I’m excited to share a small set of photographs documenting a production of Hamlet that was performed in Japan in 1933. We acquired these photographs from Rose Counsell at Hozuki Books, whose apt description provides the basis for this short post.… Continue Reading

Folger-Penn Press interview and excerpt: Megan Heffernan, Making the Miscellany

In 2015, The Folger Shakespeare Library and the University of Pennsylvania Press established a cooperative agreement to publish volumes emerging from work substantially shaped by engagement with the Folger collections, often under the aegis of Folger Institute funding. Authors published under the agreement address topics and methodological approaches as broad as those of the collections and research activities of the Folger itself.… Continue Reading