The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Reading Shakespeare in English in Eighteenth-Century Spain

a guest post by John Stone Deanne Williams, who was a Folger fellow in 2003, tells the story of how her work on early modern girlhood took shape just after her daughter was born—she began thinking about histories of gender, development, reading and the stage in a new way. My interest in English print in old-regime Spain likewise began with my kids.… Continue Reading

The Harmsworth Collection

Book collecting is a passion, or as Nicholas Basbanes famously called it, “a gentle madness,” that affects no few people. Henry and Emily Folger were two such bibliophiles, amassing the largest private collection of Shakespeareana in the world. This collection now forms the core of the Folger Shakespeare Library, which as an institution gives shape to their larger vision of making the study, appreciation, and enjoyment of Shakespeare’s works available to all.… Continue Reading

Postcards in the (home) archive: 1941

a guest post by Stephen Grant Printed on picture side: W7. THE FOLGER SHAKESPEARE LIBRARY, WASHINGTON, D.C. H. H. Rideout. Printed on address side: The Folger Shakespeare Library, an important addition to the culture 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 famous poet’s life and work.… Continue Reading

Not for the faint of heart

Thanks to everyone who registered a guess for this month’s Crocodile Mystery and congratulations to those of you who answered correctly! As many of you pointed out, the oddity in the final disposition of characters is Macbeth’s full-bodied presence on the stage—usually we just see his head, held aloft by Macduff! Read on for the gory details… A while ago, I wrote about the stinky ingredients used to create the effect of the witches’ cauldron in Macbeth.… Continue Reading

Invitation to preview our new catalog

Psssst…. we’re working on a new online catalog for the Folger collection. Do you want to help out by having an early look? If so, please keep reading! The link is deliberately buried deep in this blog post because there’s some context we want you to have, and some important warnings about the parts that we’re still working on.… Continue Reading

“What manner o’thing is your crocodile?”: May 2022

Hello everyone, and welcome back to the Crocodile Mystery for May. This month, take a moment to examine this image from a 19th century printed text of Macbeth published as a promptbook for performance. What is odd about the disposition of characters in the book’s suggestion for the play’s final staging? Lock in your guesses in the comments below. See you next week for the big reveal!… Continue Reading

Reading the Past and Researching During COVID-19

a guest post by Daniel Davies I defended my Ph.D. dissertation on April 3, 2020. The defense happened on Zoom, which has become standard academic operating procedure by now but at the time felt like an extreme oddity. ‘Zoom is a really easy-to-use program and is more reliable, and flexible, than Skype,’ I wrote to my advisor on March 12, without any sense of how this program would come to define our lives.… Continue Reading

Postcards in the (home) archive 1940

a guest post by Stephen Grant Printed on picture side: FOLGER SHAKESPEARIAN LIBRARY, WASHINGTON, D. C. Printed on address side: THE UNION NEWS COMPANY 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

Different versions of a print, or different states?

When I began working on the March 1 Collation post about watchpapers, I saw right away I’d need to make a correction to the catalog record for Mr. Quin in the character of Sr. John Falstaff. Hamnet gave the publisher’s address as the Golden Buck “opposite Felter Lane.” My dissertation involved close study of mid-18th-century London print publishing, so I know there’s no such address.… Continue Reading

Printed Pamphlets for the Witch of Wapping

During September of last year, while browsing digital resources in the London Metropolitan Archives, a familiar name caught my eye. It was a 1652 indictment from the Middlesex quarter sessions, which tried criminal cases, where a woman named Joan Peterson (or Micholson) was accused of murdering a wealthy older woman through witchcraft. The Folger has an interesting (and heartwrenching) document that I’ve shown before to visitors who are interested in witch trials: the lone such document in a group of letters related to the Lenthall and Warcup families, it appears to be a transfer, or warrant, describing the same woman.… Continue Reading