The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

A Recipe’s Place is in the Classroom

The Folger Shakespeare Library is many things: an internationally-renowned research library, a museum, a performance space, a center for innovative digital initiatives, and home to some of the best air conditioning on Capitol Hill (not something to be overlooked during our sticky Washington, D.C. summers). But it’s also a classroom, or even many different kinds of classrooms: education is central to the Folger mission, and every year the Folger offers hundreds of programs designed for all kinds of classrooms, from bright, lively elementary-school homerooms to spare, echoing college lecture halls, and from traditional school-houses filled with desks and chalkboards, to pioneering online learning communities populated by students from around the world.… Continue Reading

“To benefit the suffering Belgians”

As several readers quickly guessed, last week’s crocodile image was a photograph of a Russian edition of Shakespeare’s sonnets. The “ghost” type in the image is due to a glassine (translucent paper) jacket around the volume, which obscures the printed text of the cardboard cover below. This edition was translated by Modest Tchaikovsky (dramatist, librettist, and brother of the Romantic composer Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky), and published in 1914 by I.… Continue Reading


Uncut, unopened, untrimmed, uh-oh

Do you despair when when you hear “decimate” used to describe a reduction of more than ten percent? Does seeing the caption “Big Ben” on a souvenir postcard showing a London clock tower rather than the largest bell within it make you cringe? If so, heed this warning: never use the phrase “uncut leaves” when describing a book. Even though you know that you’re using it with precision, and even though I know that you know, using it at all keeps a confusing phrase in circulation.… Continue Reading

Introducing A Digital Anthology of Early Modern English Drama

You know your Shakespeare, but who else was writing for the early modern stage? What did drama look like between 1576 to 1642? How long did plays take to reach print? What playing companies appeared on the title page? Who printed drama? Last month, the Folger Institute launched A Digital Anthology of Early Modern English Drama, the Folger’s NEH-funded hub for early modern drama.… Continue Reading

Q & A: Amanda Herbert, Assistant Director for Fellowships Program, Folger Institute

Amanda Herbert recently became an Assistant Director at the Folger Institute, where she directs each aspect of the Folger fellowships program, from managing the applications process to fostering a sense of scholarly community. As part of the Folger Institute team, she’s also involved in current and future digital humanities (DH) initiatives. She has a PhD in history and her first book, Female Alliances: Gender, Identity, and Friendship in Early Modern Britain (Yale University Press, 2014), won the Best Book prize from the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women.… Continue Reading

Honing transcriptions with algorithms and acumen

A question I often hear from paleographers who contribute transcriptions to Early Modern Manuscripts Online (or EMMO) is: What are you going to do with all these transcriptions? It’s a good question—central to the whole project, actually—but it’s also a complicated one. The short answer I usually give goes something like this: We aim to gather multiple independent transcriptions for each digitized page and compare them to create an aggregate transcription which an expert paleographer then checks over for accuracy.… Continue Reading

Don Quixote on an Early Paper Cover

The Folger Shakespeare Library recently acquired a copybook with an intriguing pictorial paper cover, and it is, of course, the subject of the crocodile mystery we posted last week. This cover is made of thick paper (thicker than regular paper but thinner than boards) and is decorated with an engraving depicting Don Quixote mounted on his noble steed Rocinante, accompanied by his faithful servant Sancho Panza.… Continue Reading

“What manner o’thing is your crocodile?” August 2016

As July rapidly draws to a close, we have a pretty new puzzle for readers to ponder. This month’s mystery is about the picture on this paper cover: what is the image about and why is it on this cover? As always, leave your thoughts and guesses in the comments, and we’ll be back next week with the answer.… Continue Reading

Shakespeare the player: a new discovery sheds light on two Folger manuscripts

The reference to a coat of arms belonging to “Shakespeare the Player by Garter” in a manuscript at the Folger, V.a.350, has garnered much attention over the years. Folger MS V.a.350 is currently on loan to the British Library for their exhibition Shakespeare in Ten Acts, and Zoe Wilcox, one of the curators, recently highlighted it in “Shakespeare: Gentleman or Player?,” her post on the British Library’s English and Drama blog.… Continue Reading