The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

“To the right Wor[shipfu]ll and my very louinge freinde the Lady Powell …”: A 17th Century Letter Collection

a guest post by William Davis Part 1 of 3 Introduction We now have uploaded to our online image database the transcriptions of all the items in X.c.51 (1-46), a small collection of manuscript letters from 1630-60 or so, archived by date. The title of the collection in the online catalog record is, “Autograph letters signed to Lady Mary Powell and her husband Sir Edward Powell, bart.,… Continue Reading

The problems with adapting Coriolanus, and why we should try anyway

a guest post by Mallika Kavadi William Shakespeare’s Coriolanus opens with citizens of Rome “resolved rather to die than to famish,” (Act 1: Scene 1, 3) angered by a resource-hoarding ruling class profiteering off scarcity. Arguably Shakespeare’s most political play or at least the play with the most politically active citizenry, Coriolanus beckons for an interpretation, a more politically charged adaptation in the post-pandemic world of decaying liberal democracies and mass protests.… Continue Reading

Corpse Medicine

a guest post by Bradley Irish Content note: medical cannibalism In the process of writing a book about disgust in Shakespeare’s world and works, I encountered a number of revolting things: the brutal mutilation of condemned criminals, the secret dissection of human corpses in private residences, the festering rot of infectious diseases.  But I was perhaps most fascinated (and made most queasy) to learn about the contemporary practice that modern scholars call corpse medicine: that is, the early modern willingness to use the body parts of once-living people in pharmaceutical compounds that they both prepared and often ingested. … Continue Reading

A Bill of Lading and a Merchant of London (and of Venice)

a guest post by Jonathan Sawday The Folger Shakespeare Library possesses several examples of the document known as the “bill of lading,” the earliest dating from 1623, the others from the later seventeenth century. The 1623 bill of lading in the Folger is a seemingly insignificant sheet of paper. But it has a story to tell. Indirectly, we can connect it to a foundational moment in American history.… Continue Reading

A Master Tailor’s Manual

a guest post by Abner Aldarondo Master tailor Diego de Freyle’s 1583 manual, Geometria y traça para el oficio de los sastres (Geometry and patterns for the trade of tailoring), gives us a unique vantage point to consider the history of dress. We might ask ourselves: what role did tailor’s manuals take during Freyle’s time? And what might the patterns in Freyle’s book suggest about who dresses in what garments?… Continue Reading

Seasons’ Greetings

From the editorial team of The Collation, we wish all of our readers a peaceful, safe, and calm end of the calendar year. Whether you’re celebrating a holiday (or two or three), the break between terms, or a solstice, we extend you our best wishes. We are so grateful to everyone who makes this blog happen: our Folger staff writers, the legion of guest authors, and, of course, you our readers.… Continue Reading

Postcards in the (home) archive 1944-1945

a guest post by Stephen Grant Printed on address side: THE WASHINGTON NEWS COMPANY THIS SPACE FOR WRITING MESSAGES 14 436 ‘COLOURPICTURE’: PUBLICATION, CAMBRIDGE, MASS. U. S. A. POST CARD Written message: “Hello Little Chum, Haven’t seen this building as yet. Honestly Pat this Wash. gets me – Guess I’m just a country girl. Hope everything is going along smoothly at the office and with all your men –– Say hello to Paul for me!Continue Reading

Recipes for Survival

a guest post by Hannah Baker Saltmarsh [[content note: discussions of pregnancy and loss of pregnancies (both intentional and not)]] Jamaica Kincaid’s well-known short story, “Girl” (1978) presents a recipe of womanhood, concocted by patriarchal and colonial oppression but also inscribed with creative resistance. The knowledge passed from mother to daughter involves instructions on cooking, maintaining one’s social position, and keeping a home, but also includes tips about managing fertility.… Continue Reading

Twill tape, plus toggles, plus toggler, equals quick-ties

Several people got the general purpose of the device pictured in the December Crocodile Mystery, but no one described precisely how it works or what it is called. Indeed, it is used in the creation of the “quick ties” that provide a temporary means of keeping loose boards together with their associated text blocks. The device pictured was invented by a Folger staff member and doesn’t have an official name, but it’s generally known as a “toggler.”… Continue Reading