The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Early modern straws; or, quills are not just for writing

This post is brought to you by John Ward, who observed in the 1660s that a good way to “avoid drinking too much Beer” is to “suck itt in with a quill.” While we tend to think of quills quite narrowly as writing implements, quills in fact had many uses in early modern England. Because they were hollow shafts made of sturdy waterproof keratin, which is perfect for storing and conveying air, liquid, and powder, they had medical, culinary, recreational, and criminal applications as well.… Continue Reading


The Newsy Baronet: how Richard Newdigate (per)used his newsletters

A guest post by Elisabeth Chaghafi Large collections of books or manuscripts may be interesting for two reasons: the actual content of the items they contain, and also what they reveal about the collector who compiled them. The Folger’s Newdigate family collection of newsletters (Folger MS L.c.1-3950) is an excellent example of this. The inclusion of these newsletters in the Shakespeare’s World site has led to the transcription of a large portion of them, which in turn leads to a greater understanding of the collection as a whole.… Continue Reading

Printed Elizabethan poetry now included in Union First Line Index

As of September 2019, researchers have 35,261 more reasons to use the Union First Line Index of English Verse, hosted by the Folger Shakespeare Library. The database now contains all first lines, not just manuscript first lines, from Elizabethan poetry: a bibliography and first-line index of English verse, 1559-1603, by Steven W. May and William A. Ringler, Jr., the three-volume landmark published in 2004 (London and New York: Thoemmes Continuum, 2004).… Continue Reading

Emily Jordan Folger’s Deltiological Profile

A guest post by Stephen Grant It would be more than a stretch to claim that Henry and Emily Folger were deltiologists, that is, as Collins Dictionary reminds us, persons who collect and study picture postcards. However, postcards played a definite role in each of their lives. Emily’s deltiological profile includes picking out a postcard and slipping it in an envelope along with a letter.… Continue Reading

Got Gout? Eighteenth-Century Global “Remedies” in Mary Kettilby’s Receipt Book

A guest post by April Fuller and Laurel Bassett In her early eighteenth-century recipe, “A Drink for the Gout,” Mary Kettilby’s list of ingredients contain both homegrown roots and objects of empire “pressed into service” for the recovery of the English subject against “Sharp Humours that occasion that dismal Tormenting Distemper.” The availability of spices, in quantity and at more affordable prices in the eighteenth-century, made it possible for men and women up and down the social ladder to take familiar English recipes and add an international twist.… Continue Reading

2019-2020 Folger Fellows

The Folger Institute is pleased to announce our 2019-2020 cohort of Fellows. This year we will welcome forty-four Fellows to the Folger, including five long-term scholars: Clarissa Chenovick, John Kuhn, Kathleen Long, Anna More, and Seth Stewart Williams. In anticipation of the Folger Shakespeare Library’s upcoming building renovation project, the Folger Institute has awarded a unique set of fellowships for the 2019-2020 fellowship year.… Continue Reading

Book Stamps

Many thanks for your guesses. What you see in this picture is the verso of a title page leaf. The stamp at the top of the picture is indeed the one of the Basel Public Library. The coat of arms beneath it depicts the arms of the Gufer von Reinhardsberg family from Bamberg, active at least until the early 18th century.… Continue Reading


Summer Retrospective: Deciphering Signature Marks

It seems appropriate to finish up our summer retrospective series with one of the earliest (and perennially most popular) posts. Whether it’s a back-to-basics refresher for you or an answer to the question you’ve been asking yourself, Deciphering Signature Marks is a must-read for all of our followers. We hope you’ve enjoyed this foray into some of our previous posts. There is so much great content on this blog, the results of hundreds of hours of research and writing by our staff and guest authors, and we hope you’ll keep exploring it on your own, as well as enjoying the new content we continue to post.… Continue Reading