The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Postcards of the Folger: Macbeth, Ivlivs Caesar, King Lear

A guest post by Stephen Grant The next three bas-reliefs along the Folger’s north wall are Macbeth, Julius Caesar, and King Lear. The images shown here are from the same two sets of postcards that were discussed in the previous post.     This post will focus on an anecdote related to the third of these bas-reliefs, the one of King Lear. … Continue Reading

Introducing the Folger Reference Image Collection

Sometimes when people contact the Folger to ask questions about items in our collections, the easiest way to provide an answer is to take a quick photo of a particular detail. This has resulted in a growing collection of smartphone images of collections materials. We are now making them available in the Folger Reference Image Collection. These images are shared under the CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication License (CC0 1.0), so anyone can copy, modify, distribute, and perform the work, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission. … Continue Reading

An Unfinished Title Page Border?

Many thanks for your answers to last week’s post. They convey the puzzling nature of this title page border: Is it an unfinished work? Was it intended to be completed by readers of the book? Does it look different in other copies? To our eyes, indeed, the border design may look incomplete: the figures in the foreground, which we would expect to be highly finished, are either barely ‘legible’, suggested or simply not worked out.… Continue Reading

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

Welcome to another Crocodile Mystery! This month we ask you to look at the image below and tell us what you think might be going on? What sort of questions does this image generate? As always, leave your thoughts in the comments below, and we’ll be back next week with more information.… Continue Reading

Who was a refugee in early modern England? The “Poor Palatines” of 1709

A guest post by Jeremy Fradkin Today’s Collation post is a little bit different. It showcases materials held in archival collections at the British Library and the National Archives, both in the United Kingdom. It is the product of an exciting new kind of opportunity—a non-residential fellowship—offered by the Folger Institute at the Folger Shakespeare Library to its 2020-2021 Fellows. In May 1709, Queen Anne received an unusual petition from 512 men and women who were not her own subjects – at least, not yet.… Continue Reading

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