The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

My True Meaning: emotions in seventeenth-century wills

Anyone who has read early modern wills, whether in an attempt to confirm the names of family members or out of interest in material history, knows that they are full of emotion. Dying men and women describe their family members as “dear” or “loving,” or sometimes, more sadly, as “undutiful” or “ungrateful.”  Friends are characterized as “trusty” and “well-beloved.” People express their religious fervor, attempt to have the last word in old quarrels, make appeals for raising children, and pass on specific items to specific people.… Continue Reading

Performing Diplomacy and Selling Spectacle

a guest post by Nat Cutter In this post, following on from a previous one on Shakespeare and Beyond that introduced my ASECS-Folger Shakespeare Library Fellowship project, I’ll share some of the (still ongoing) findings of my research into North African diplomats, public performance, and newspaper advertising in London, 1681-1734. During this period, more than a dozen embassies from the Moroccan Empire and the Ottoman Regencies of Algiers, Tunis, and Tripolitania visited London and the surrounding regions.… Continue Reading

2022-2023 Folger Fellows

The Folger Institute is pleased to announce the 2022-2023 cohort of research fellows. Two years of virtual fellowships and programming have taught us the importance of supporting not only collections-based research, but also the various forms research support must take to create more equitable access to funding opportunities. Our virtual fellowships have supported and will continue to support time to write, summer teaching releases, caregiving responsibilities, digital humanities initiatives, and the creation of undergraduate course materials, in addition to time to consult online resources or request the digitization of materials.… Continue Reading

Europa into the Waves: John Dee and Meandering Research

a guest post by Dyani Taff Research feels nonlinear, like tracing a spiral, or a meandering river, or possibly like following ants’ pheromone trails, squiggly lines that crisscross each other and yet create a navigable chaos central to the ants’ communication. Sometime in 2017, I was reading Elizabeth Bellamy’s Dire Straits, and I learned that some scholars locate the earliest use of the phrase “British Empire” in a book by John Dee called General and Rare Memorials Pertayning to the Arte of Navigation, printed in 1577.… Continue Reading

Caught Inky Handed: Fingerprints of Practitioners

Thank you for your suggestions regarding these fingerprints. They are, indeed, the marks of two different fingers with different patterns. I tend to think, like Elizabeth, that they are the marks of a middle finger and an index or a ring finger. The description of the page I wrote last week, which was based only on a photograph taken more than two years ago, turned out not to be entirely correct.… Continue Reading

Happy Retirement, Hamnet!

After over a quarter century of devoted bibliographic service, the time has come to bid farewell to Hamnet, the Folger Shakespeare Library’s first OPAC (“Online Public Access Catalog”). Hamnet officially retires tonight, at the end of the last day of the Folger fiscal year. Earlier Collation posts (on 28 April and 1 June 2022) talk about the new Folger catalog, and you can visit it in person at,… Continue Reading

“What manner o’thing is your crocodile?”: July 2022

Whose fingerprint is it? Is it a reader’s, printer’s, or binder’s fingerprint? I’ve been asking myself this question since I saw this trace in a Reformation pamphlet . It is placed in the gutter of the page and it is of a dark brown color ink (rather than black). Any thoughts on this are welcomed.… Continue Reading

The Meaning/s of Massacre

a guest post by Georgie Lucas Content Note: Massacres, Assassination, Graphic Images In August 1572 thousands of French Protestants—known as Huguenots—were slaughtered in a surprise attack by their Catholic compatriots in Paris. The Huguenots had descended on the French capital to celebrate the wedding of the Catholic Princess Marguerite of the royal house of Valois to the Protestant Prince Henri of Navarre.… Continue Reading

Women Patrons as Playmakers

A guest post by Elizabeth Kolkovich In the summer of 1602, Alice Egerton, Countess of Derby, did something rather extraordinary. When Queen Elizabeth I visited her house, she brought to the forefront the female patrons who usually remained behind the scenes. As part of several days of pageantry and feasting, Alice hired the writer John Davies to devise a pageant—a mock “lottery”—celebrating the influential women who gathered at Harefield estate for the event.… Continue Reading