The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Postcards in the (home) archive: Folger postcards, 1937

A guest post by Stephen Grant Printed on picture side: FOLGER SHAKESPEARE LIBRARY, WASHINGTON, D.C. 60063 Printed on address side: PUB. BY THE WASHINGTON NEWS COMPANY, WASHINGTON, D.C. FOLGER SHAKESPEARE LIBRARY. Folger Shakespeare Library. East Capitol and 2nd Streets. This important addition to the cultural wealth of the nation was the gift of the late Henry C. Folger. The Collection includes more than 70,000 volumes, as well as pictures and other relics of the great poet’s life and work.… Continue Reading

The Folger G.K. Hall Catalogs, or How to fit an entire card catalog on your bookshelf

I had the good fortune of learning to do scholarly research during the transition from card catalogs to Online Public Access Catalogs or ‘OPAC’s, as they are known in libraries. I have a particular fondness for card catalogs because they allow for precision and recall when searching. Keyword searches can retrieve an interesting scattershot set of results, but when someone stands in front of a card catalog and looks for a particular name, title, or subject, they can see exactly how many cards are in the catalog with the search term.… Continue Reading

A briefing on brevigraphs, those strange shapes in early printed texts

Most people reading this will know that “&” and “and” mean the same thing. Some will also know that the ampersand’s “&” shape originated from the handwritten word “et” (Latin for “and”). The  “e” and the “t” are combined into a single character, making “&” the best-known example of a brevigraph. Instead of writing out “et cetera” you can simply write “&c.”… Continue Reading

Unsung Travelers: a history of global mobility from below

A guest post by Ananya Chakravarti In March 2017, not long after President Trump stormed into office on a platform decrying “globalists,” the historian Jeremy Adelman published an essay asking whether “the short ride” of global history had come to a bumpy end. Lynn Hunt’s 2014 prognostication that global historians would help remake the world in their cosmopolitan image of the past, much as national historians had molded nations, seemed suddenly premature.… Continue Reading

Paper Trades

Thank you for your insightful comments on our Crocodile Mystery, which I enjoyed reading as usual. My heartfelt thanks also to Andrew Hare, Supervisory East Asian Painting Conservator, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art, for identifying the various papers and prints in the book; and to my Folger colleague Wenqi Han for locating a copy of the book Wan shou sheng dian chu ji: yi bai er shi juan.Continue Reading

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

For folks on an academic calendar, we’d like to extend our best wishes and support for a safe, happy, and/or productive new year. For those who aren’t quite ready to come to grips with the fact that tomorrow is September already, we have here a nice distraction. Rather than ponder the turning of the seasons, turn your thoughts to this mystery image and tell us, if you can, what on earth is going on with this 17th century engraved folded plate??… Continue Reading

Focus on a Decade of Folger Institute Research and Community

In the past decade, seventy-five different Guest Authors have published over one hundred posts in The Collation. Roughly half of these contributors wrote posts about their experiences working with the Folger collections and researcher community through Institute-sponsored programming. Many fellows took this opportunity to share an “in progress” look at their research—what they were learning, what was surprising, and what was still challenging—and to showcase the materials they examined while in residence.… Continue Reading

The Production of Whiteness in the Anglo-French Match (1625)

A guest post by Mira Assaf Kafantaris Meghan Markle’s incorporation into the British monarchy, and her subsequent departure from it, has thrown into high relief the ideologies of whiteness at the heart of royal European traditions. Even though the symbolism of her nuptials with Prince Harry was touted as the United Kingdom’s ultimate act of reconciliation with its brutal colonial past, Markle’s inclusion in the beau monde of white Britain remained conditional.… Continue Reading

When Blog History Meets Book History

[Editor’s Note: The Collation began on August 18, 2011. In honor of the 10th anniversary/birthday of this blog, we invited the blog’s founder, Sarah Werner, to write the post for today.] When I was starting my transformation from a theater scholar to a book historian around 2006, the world of social media, as we now call it, was not only a source of community and information about the field, but a view into the evolving world of media technologies that seemed directly connected to shifting world of early modern media technologies.… Continue Reading

Book History, Manuscript Studies, and Navigating Special Collections During COVID-19

A guest post by Breanne Weber and Tamara Mahadin In the midst of a pandemic, participants of the Folger Institute’s “Orientation to Research Methods and Agendas” gathered in a virtual seminar space this summer. Since the COVID-19 pandemic halted access to the archives in institutional libraries, this year’s seminar, in collaboration with Pennsylvania State University, was a different, yet eye-opening, experience.… Continue Reading