The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Unsung Travelers: a history of global mobility from below

A guest post by Ananya Chakravarti In March 2017, not long after President Trump stormed into office on a platform decrying “globalists,” the historian Jeremy Adelman published an essay asking whether “the short ride” of global history had come to a bumpy end. Lynn Hunt’s 2014 prognostication that global historians would help remake the world in their cosmopolitan image of the past, much as national historians had molded nations, seemed suddenly premature.… Continue Reading

Paper Trades

Thank you for your insightful comments on our Crocodile Mystery, which I enjoyed reading as usual. My heartfelt thanks also to Andrew Hare, Supervisory East Asian Painting Conservator, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art, for identifying the various papers and prints in the book; and to my Folger colleague Wenqi Han for locating a copy of the book Wan shou sheng dian chu ji: yi bai er shi juan.Continue Reading

“What manner o’thing is your crocodile?”: September 2021

For folks on an academic calendar, we’d like to extend our best wishes and support for a safe, happy, and/or productive new year. For those who aren’t quite ready to come to grips with the fact that tomorrow is September already, we have here a nice distraction. Rather than ponder the turning of the seasons, turn your thoughts to this mystery image and tell us, if you can, what on earth is going on with this 17th century engraved folded plate??… Continue Reading

Focus on a Decade of Folger Institute Research and Community

In the past decade, seventy-five different Guest Authors have published over one hundred posts in The Collation. Roughly half of these contributors wrote posts about their experiences working with the Folger collections and researcher community through Institute-sponsored programming. Many fellows took this opportunity to share an “in progress” look at their research—what they were learning, what was surprising, and what was still challenging—and to showcase the materials they examined while in residence.… Continue Reading

The Production of Whiteness in the Anglo-French Match (1625)

A guest post by Mira Assaf Kafantaris Meghan Markle’s incorporation into the British monarchy, and her subsequent departure from it, has thrown into high relief the ideologies of whiteness at the heart of royal European traditions. Even though the symbolism of her nuptials with Prince Harry was touted as the United Kingdom’s ultimate act of reconciliation with its brutal colonial past, Markle’s inclusion in the beau monde of white Britain remained conditional.… Continue Reading

When Blog History Meets Book History

[Editor’s Note: The Collation began on August 18, 2011. In honor of the 10th anniversary/birthday of this blog, we invited the blog’s founder, Sarah Werner, to write the post for today.] When I was starting my transformation from a theater scholar to a book historian around 2006, the world of social media, as we now call it, was not only a source of community and information about the field, but a view into the evolving world of media technologies that seemed directly connected to shifting world of early modern media technologies.… Continue Reading

Book History, Manuscript Studies, and Navigating Special Collections During COVID-19

A guest post by Breanne Weber and Tamara Mahadin In the midst of a pandemic, participants of the Folger Institute’s “Orientation to Research Methods and Agendas” gathered in a virtual seminar space this summer. Since the COVID-19 pandemic halted access to the archives in institutional libraries, this year’s seminar, in collaboration with Pennsylvania State University, was a different, yet eye-opening, experience.… Continue Reading

The Collation by the numbers

Happy Anniversary to us! This blog was started on August 18, 2011, making it ten years old. That’s pretty old in dog years and absolutely ancient in internet years. For this, our 661st post, we would like to take you on an enumerative journey, and so we proudly present: The Collation by the numbers! The Basics This is our 661st post, which comes out to just over 1 post per week.… Continue Reading

An Experiment in Following a Worm Through a Folded Letter

A guest post by William Davis Folger staff have long been interested in folding early modern letters for mailing. It comes up periodically when someone finds a letter with unusual folds. Both Heather Wolfe and Erin Blake have written Collation posts about discovering how certain types of folds were done and why. However, a digital surrogate is not usually a source that leaps to mind as a tool when confronted with folding questions.… Continue Reading

The Pirates of H.M.S. Pinafore

The mystery man in the Crocodile Mystery image is the Englishman W.S. (William Schwenck) Gilbert, the librettist and playwright, in costume as King Claudius. Gilbert, along with composer Arthur Seymour Sullivan, created during the 19th century some of the most beloved and enduring works of comic opera, such as H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance, The Mikado, and Ruddigore.… Continue Reading