The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Visualizing Shakespeare’s Birds

a guest post by Missy Dunaway Greetings! I was the Folger Shakespeare Library’s artist-in-residence in November of 2021. I dedicated my Folger Institute Fellowship to a painting project entitled Birds of the Bard. This growing collection of paintings will catalog every bird mentioned in Shakespeare’s plays and poems—at least 65 species. My paintings aim to present natural science facts and literary analysis about each species.… Continue Reading

18th-century watchpapers

Thanks for the great guesses about the March 2022 Crocodile Mystery! All were different, all were plausible, and all were incorrect. It would have been easier if I’d included other examples of the same type of print,  because they’re always circular: It also would have been easier if I’d included something for scale, because they’re all between about an inch and a half to two inches in diameter (4 cm to 5 cm).… Continue Reading

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

As you’re waiting for the interminable month of February to finally expire, distract yourself with the following thought: Prints like this one were useful as well as decorative. What use did they serve? Leave your thoughts and guesses in the comments below, and we’ll be back next week with more information.… Continue Reading

A Folger Original: Edwin Eliott Willoughby

a guest post by Stephen Grant “Until he finally reached retirement age, Willoughby was a problem,” penned Louis B. Wright in Of Books and Men (University of South Carolina Press, 1976, p.135), looking back on two decades as Folger Director, 1948–1968.  I had not thought about Edwin Willoughby for years. Then, on September 20, 2021, I visited Mary L. Martin Ltd, the world’s largest postcard shop, located near the Susquehanna River in Havre de Grace, MD.… Continue Reading

Interview and excerpt: Paul Dover, The Information Revolution in Early Modern Europe

At the Folger, we are proud to sponsor research inquiry within a vibrant and intellectually generous community. Periodically, as that research is published, we circle back to talk with recent authors to showcase the role of collections-based inquiry on their methods and arguments. Today, we pose a series of questions to 2015-2016 NEH Long-term Fellow Dr. Paul M. Dover that get at the heart of his research at the Folger, followed by an excerpt from Dr.… Continue Reading

Alcohol, Armies, and Contested Sovereignty in Early Modern Ireland

a guest post by Lila Chambers The association between Ireland and excessive drinking is a pervasive one, from fifteenth century texts detailing treacherous feasts held by Irish opponents to Henry II, to Edmund Spender’s A View of the Present State of Ireland (1596), to simian caricatures promoted in Victorian-era Punch cartoons, to the present-day effluvia of t-shirts, buttons, and banners that linger after St.… Continue Reading

Slurrop! An ode to soup

In 1595, English writer William Fiston (or Phiston) produced a translation of a French book of manners for children. Topics included proper behavior that was important for Church and school, but also a section on table manners. Here, Fiston admonishes his readers: …beware thou soupe not thy pottage, but eate it leisurely with a spoone, without taking it into thy mouth greedily, forcibly drawing thy breath with it, as some clownes do use, sounding at the receipt of euery spoonefull Slurrop.… Continue Reading


Q & A: Ashley Buchanan, Associate Director for Fellowships, Folger Institute

The Folger Institute is pleased to introduce Dr. Ashley Buchanan, our new Associate Director for Fellowships. Dr. Buchanan received her Ph.D. in early modern history in 2018 from the University of South Florida and comes to the Folger with experience as the study abroad coordinator at Mercer University and as a postdoctoral fellow in the Plant Humanities Initiative at Dumbarton Oaks.… Continue Reading

George Goodwin, neo-Latin poet, identified as George Goodwin, rector of Moreton, Essex

Today’s Collation post is short and sweet, and courtesy of Heather Wolfe, the Folger’s Curator of Manuscripts. Heather is currently on sabbatical in the UK, having been awarded the 2021–22 Munby Fellowship at Cambridge University Library, but she still occasionally sends gems back to Folger catalogers. This particular gem, and permission to blog about it, arrived just in the nick of time: the post I’d planned to publish today turned out to require material that’s inaccessible during the Folger’s multi-year renovation.… Continue Reading