The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

The Journey is Underway for Before ‘Farm to Table’

By now, you may have read about—or participated in—several activities linked to the project Before ‘Farm to Table’: Early Modern Foodways and Cultures. They have included food-related pop-up exhibitions at Folger public programs (the next one is for A Christmas Messe); Frances Dolan’s “Digging the Past: Writing and Agriculture in the Seventeenth Century” weekend seminar, which included a field trip to Smith Meadows Farm in Berryville, Virginia; a Material Witness seminar on readings about coffee and tea; sessions with distinguished scholars like Ken Albala, known for his food recreation research, and Craig Muldrew, whose numbers-based research assesses early modern food costs, caloric intakes, and more; and even a Thanksgiving-themed adapted recipe for early modern biscuits.… Continue Reading

The key to removing a card catalog rod (literally)

Thanks for all the great guesses at the identity of the December Crocodile! In fact, the mystery object is a tool for removing the rod from a particular type of card catalog drawer (see Folgerpedia‘s Card catalogs article for information about our card catalogs and how to use them). Ironically, Richard M. Waugaman’s tongue-in-cheek proposal that it’s a worn-out corkscrew comes closest to the actual function: this type of card catalog rod is removed by jamming the tool onto the end of the rod and pulling, just like you’d pull a cork from a bottle.… Continue Reading


Spanish Book Collection at the Folger

Andres Alvarez-Davila was a Dumbarton-Oaks intern at the Folger Shakespeare Library in 2017-2018. One of Andres’ projects was to determine the scope of the Spanish book collection at Folger, which is, for the most part, only searchable in the card catalog, and therefore can only be discovered by readers onsite. A longer version of Andres’s post as well as a spreadsheet including a list of over a thousand titles with their subject headings will be available shortly in Folgerpedia.… Continue Reading

Coding Elizabeth’s Court: A Digital Experiment

With Danielle Rosvally The Dataset Gathered by Marion E. Colthorpe, The Elizabethan Court Day by Day (ECDbD) is a record of the people, places, and events of the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. Colthorpe consulted state papers, diaries, government records, and other primary source documents to bring together details about what happened on each day of Elizabeth’s reign. The events of ECDbD depict the movers and shakers of Elizabethan England at play and at work.… Continue Reading

What is an Aesopian fable in the Renaissance? The case of the Renaissance Catwoman

A guest post by Liza Blake What is an Aesopian fable in the Renaissance? This post is about where our modern Aesopian fables come from, drawing on the Folger Shakespeare Library’s incredibly rich collections of animal fables. For more detail and proper notes, I recommend the recently published volume Arthur Golding’s A Moral Fabletalk and Other Renaissance Fable Translations, which I co-edited with Kathryn Vomero Santos—a copy of which is also held at the Folger.… Continue Reading

De Acupunctura: Willem ten Rhijne and Bringing Eastern Medicine to Europe

I am continually in awe of the depth and breadth of knowledge that our readers possess. Y’all are truly excellent. Yes, the answer to the Crocodile Mystery is, as several people answered, a chart of the acupuncture points on the head. Here is a slightly wider shot of this part of the diagram: And here is the diagram in full, showing the points on the back side of the body: This diagram, along with several others, appears in a book written by the Dutch physician Willem ten Rhijne, published in London in 1683 (but more on that in a moment).… Continue Reading

“What manner o’thing is your crocodile?”: November 2018

As October draws to a close, we bring you a new Crocodile Mystery. (If you’re new around these parts and totally confused as to why we refer to our monthly mystery post as a “Crocodile”, this post will explain it.) For this month’s mystery, we ask that you look at the image below and let us know what it is depicting.… Continue Reading

Tracing the transmission of medical recipes

A guest post by Elisabeth Chaghafi A lot of early modern recipe books are eclectic compilations that reflect the interests or needs of the people who compiled them. Often they do not even separate between cookery and medical recipes but include a mixture of both. Two examples of such eclectic recipe books in the Folger’s collection are V.a.140 and X.d.469. V.a.140 was compiled in about 1600.… Continue Reading

Minding the Gaps of Early Modern Drama

A Guest Post by Heidi Craig The history of early modern drama and theatre is punctured with gaps, unknowns, and absences. Over half of the estimated 3,000 professional plays performed before the closure of the theatres in 1642 have evaporated without a trace. About 750 plays endure as only fragments, such as a play title or extract, that point to complete scripts otherwise lost; the number of these lost plays and our knowledge of them continues to grow, thanks to the ongoing work of The Lost Plays Database, edited by Roslyn Knutson, David McInnis and Matthew Steggle, and hosted by the Folger.… Continue Reading