The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Re-discovering three-cornered notes

A couple of years ago, when I had Saturday Duty in the Reading Room, a group of early-19th-century letters came across the desk. I noticed right away that one of them had unusual diagonal fold lines: It was a slow Saturday, so I spent some time figuring out how the creases lined up with each other, then folding sheets of scrap paper to match.… Continue Reading

Postcards of the Folger: Midsommer, Romeo and Ivliet, Merchant of Venice

A guest post by Stephen Grant It is my pleasure to show you two early sets of picture postcards of the Folger’s bas-reliefs by John Gregory. On the left you have photographic cards printed on Kodak (AZO) Paper. I’m hoping someone will identify the photographer. On the right you have gravure cards printed by the Meriden Gravure Company of Meriden CT.… Continue Reading

A guided tour of an incunabulum from 1478

A guest post by Sujata Iyengar Typography—the design of individual printed letter-shapes—makes printed books easier to read, and it can also shape our understanding and experience of the text and the content that an individual book contains. At first, early printed books imitated the layout and typography of scribal manuscripts. As this new medium—print—matured, however, printers, and even authors, learned how to use the affordances, or media-specific qualities, of printed sheets in order to indicate what kind of book they were creating, what kind of audience they were seeking, and even what kind of emotion they wished to evoke.… Continue Reading

Thoroughly Modern Helena

What do Robert Browning, Anna Maria Hall, Geraldine Jewsbury, John Ruskin, and Anna Swanwick, have in common? Quite a bit, actually. But in the Folger’s collection, they were the five “recipients” of Helena Faucit’s essays that formed the volume On Some of Shakespeare’s Female Characters. Helena Faucit (Lady Martin, later in life—her husband Theodore Martin was knighted as reward for his biography of Prince Albert, and both were confidants of Queen Victoria) began her London theatrical career in 1836, at the age of 22.… Continue Reading

Birdbrained

Thanks to everyone who took a guess on this month’s Crocodile Mystery! As several of you pointed out, the teaser image is of some breed of cockatoo or cockatiel. Although I usually know a hawk from a handsaw, I will leave questions about exactly which species or sub-family of Cacatuidae this artistic rendition is meant to represent to experts. The hand-colored print itself is an early- to mid-nineteenth-century lithograph of Act III, sc.… Continue Reading

“What manner o’ thing is your crocodile?”: September 2020

Welcome back for another Crocodile post! As you face the new challenges Fall brings to us, take a few moments to breathe out, and take a look at this month’s mystery. What’s going on in this image? Where is it from, and what does it show? Leave your guesses in the comments below and we’ll be back next week with more info!… Continue Reading

Introduction to a Slightly Modified Theme: Postcards in the (home) archive

A guest post by Stephen Grant The thematic series I started Aug. 12, 2019, “Postcards in the Folger Archives,” has come to a pause.  It has not escaped my dear collational readers’ attention that in my most recent post I relied more heavily on artifacts from my personal collection. It is time to make a prepositional change. I will shift from analyzing postcards in the Folger archives—not accessible due to the building renovation—to postcards for the Folger archives, lying untapped in my Arlington VA home.  … Continue Reading

The “Quartermaster’s Map” of England and Wales

Thanks for the excellent guesses on the identiy of the August Crocodile Mystery! If you’ll permit me to indulge myself, I’ll prolong the suspense a little longer by showing some examples of what it might have been, but isn’t (and if you won’t permit me, no one’s stopping you from scrolling down now to read the answer). As several people pointed out, the tall and skinny binding is the sort of thing you’d expect for a ledger or some other kind of  financial account book.… Continue Reading

“What manner o’ thing is your crocodile?”: August, 2020

Some types of publication have fairly standard proportions. For example, you can be pretty sure this oblong volume isn’t a Bible or a play text: If I had to guess, I’d say it’s probably a Berlemont-style international phrase book or a penmanship manual. As it happens, I don’t have to guess: it’s a penmanship manual, namely, an edition of Martin Billingsley’s The pen’s excellencie (call number: Folger STC 3062.3).… Continue Reading

2020-2021 Folger Research Fellows

The Folger Institute is pleased to announce our 2020-2021 cohort of Folger Institute Research Fellows. From the outset, we knew this year would be different. The Folger Institute marks its fiftieth anniversary this year, and the Folger Shakespeare Library is embarking on its major building project. While our Reading Room is closed, the Folger Institute remains committed to building community and supporting collections-based research, and to providing scholars with the resources they need to pursue and advance their work away from the Folger.… Continue Reading