The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

A red proof sheet used as printer’s waste

Thank you for your guesses on this month’s crocodile mystery. The leaf pictured here shows text from the Litany printed in red. The blank space is where the text in black would have been printed in a second press run. This leaf belongs to a set of four flyleaves—each with text from the Litany printed in red on one side only—located in the binding of a copy of The Image of Gouernance translated from the Greek by Thomas Eliot and printed by Thomas Berthelet in 1544.… Continue Reading

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

Welcome to the May Crocodile Mystery! Take a look at this image: This sheet has been used as endpaper in a book (the image has been rotated to make the text more legible) but can you guess to what it was intended to be part of and used for? Leave your guesses in the comments below, and we’ll be back next week with more information!… Continue Reading

The “Greco Deco” Folger Shakespeare Library

The About page for this blog declares that The Collation “seeks to present bite-sized glimpses of the materials found within our walls.” That’s a bit tricky at the moment: like most of the rest of the Folger staff, I haven’t had a glimpse within those walls since March 13, when we began teleworking to help slow the spread of COVID-19. The District of Columbia is now under a stay-at-home order so I can’t even glimpse the outside of those walls.… Continue Reading

Marks in Manuals

A guest post by Bénédicte Miyamoto Are these manuals I spy in the workshop? It is impossible to read the spines of the books in the illustration of an artist’s workshop in Salomon de Caus’s 1612 La perspectiue: auec la raison des ombres et miroirs. They are stored in early-modern fashion, with their fore-edges facing outward. Was their content actually taught in the workshop?… Continue Reading

Hooked on Book Furniture…

… corners, clasps (and other interesting metal parts of a book)! A guest post by Dawn Hoffmann What makes these little (and some not so tiny) metal parts so intriguing? Why were they put on these books and who might have made them? How did the artisans get the materials and tools to make them? What kinds of metal are the pieces made of?… Continue Reading

Subscribing to the blog

As some of you have noticed (and kindly reached out to us about!), we’re having a little bit of technical difficulties with the built-in blog subscription module. (You may have noticed that the lovely “subscribe here!” box that usually lives on the right-hand side of the page has vanished…) We’re working on getting that sorted out, but in the interim, we do have a backup solution.… Continue Reading

The Many Different Ways to Make a Lacemaking Pattern Book: The Case of Vinciolo’s Book

  Early modern lacemaking pattern books are ‘eye catching’ picture books with pages after pages of intricate designs. Unlike most modern pattern books, they generally include very little instructions on how to execute their models, expecting readers either to already be experienced needleworkers or to simply enjoy browsing through their images. Some time ago I serendipitously found in our collections a copy of Federico Vinciolo’s lacemaking pattern book.… Continue Reading

All the Purposes of a Library: a piece of blue ephemera

Thanks to all of you who participated in guessing for this month’s Crocodile Mystery! As some of you noted, it is a book bound in eighteenth-century waste paper, particularly waste paper related to a late eighteenth-century edition of the Cyclopaedia: or, An Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences by Ephraim Chambers. The tricky part is figuring out exactly what kind of waste it is.… Continue Reading


First Folger Director: William Adams Slade, Part II

A guest post by Stephen Grant Part I of the William Adams Slade saga was largely deltiological, that is having to do with picture postcards. Part II will be deltiological in one instance. Let’s now pick up with chronological references linking Folgers and Slades. It’s interesting to note that in the 1930s two Shakespeare scholars are presidents of two of the Seven Sisters: Henry N.… Continue Reading