The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Written in the Margent: Frances Wolfreston Revealed

A guest post by Sarah Lindenbaum “And what obscured in this fair volume lies / Find written in the margent of his eyes” (Romeo and Juliet, 1.3.87–88) Recently, two Shakespeare quartos held by the Folger Shakespeare Library were determined to likely be from the library of early modern reader Frances Wolfreston. The books themselves—copy 4 of the fifth quarto of Romeo and Juliet (1637) and a 1636 edition of Venus and Adonis—have been digitized through LUNA and are meticulously cataloged.… Continue Reading

A Pamphlet War in England, 1641-1643

A guest post by Brittney Washington Since my time as the 2017-2018 Nadia Sophie Seiler Rare Materials Resident is quickly approaching an end, I’ve been taking some time to look back on what I’ve learned about the amazing collection here at the Folger Shakespeare Library. My work focused specifically on cataloging printed materials found in the Wing bibliography (known formally as Short title catalogue of books printed in England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and British America, and of English books printed in other countries, 1641-1700).… Continue Reading

Engraved to Sell

Printed ephemera can be exciting, especially when it reveals information that can be found nowhere else. When it is also a very rare piece with only a couple of extant copies recorded, and its design is intriguing, the discovery is even more interesting. I was thus thrilled when, following a tip from a colleague, I found in the Folger stacks this small seventeenth-century engraved print containing information on where in London one could subscribe to John Ogilby’s English Atlas.… Continue Reading

On looking into Chapman’s Homer once again

A guest post by Jessica Wolfe If the name George Chapman rings a bell, it is likely because you once read John Keats’s 1816 sonnet, “On first looking into Chapman’s Homer,” which describes the Romantic poet’s experience of reading Chapman’s translation of Homer for the first time. I have spent the past eight months conducting research for the first full-length biography of Chapman (ca.… Continue Reading

Proof print from the Boydell Shakespeare Gallery

As a couple of you guessed correctly last week, the June Crocodile Mystery is a proof for the Boydell Shakespeare Gallery print of Lady Macbeth illustrating Macbeth, act 1, scene 5.1 In the finished state, which was printed from the same plate after additional work was done on it, the background is darker, and figure of Lady Macbeth has been filled in.… Continue Reading


Polyglot Poetics: Transnational Early Modern Literature, part II

A guest post by Nigel Smith I believe I am writing a book about the early modern city as a site of literary activity: the constant factor during the notable and extreme transformations and disruptions that took place between c. 1485 and c. 1700. There are other significant literary arenas to which I pay attention in a forthcoming study, but no one in Europe can rule without the consent of an urban population, and from cities emerge the texts of resistance, difference and revolution that are among my central concerns.… Continue Reading

The IIIF Community Comes to Washington

This week, we at the Folger welcome members of the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) community to Washington for an annual conference together with our fellow hosts, the Smithsonian Institution and the Library of Congress. The IIIF community is a profoundly exciting movement of digital tools creating new opportunities for research and enjoyment.… Continue Reading

Early modern head lice remedies; or, dealing with pediculosis, Renaissance-style

With assistance by Beth DeBold This post is dedicated to all those parents and caregivers who have gotten the dreaded phone call while at work: “your child has lice.” You have to drop everything and retrieve your child from school, promising not to return until all traces of nits and bugs have been eradicated. And then the fun begins: two weeks of nightly combing sessions to make sure they NEVER come back, even though you know they will (my tools of choice are a ribbed comb called the “LiceMeister” and an electric zapper called the “Robicomb”).… Continue Reading

Hinman, Redux

A Guest Post by Andrew R. Walkling Over this past winter and spring I have been dodging periodic snowstorms across the Mid-Atlantic region, journeying back and forth to Washington for a project that draws upon one meaning of the word from which this blog derives its name: collation. My project—comparing printed “states” of the libretto for an extravagant 1692–93 operatic adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream called The Fairy-Queen—started last year, while I was at Harvard University’s Houghton Library on a Katharine F.… Continue Reading

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