The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

An argent lion rampant: coats of arms in 17th-c. books

In recent months, the Folger Shakespeare Library added a rare emblem book to its holdings, a thin quarto bound in pasteboards holding 24 unnumbered leaves . The emblem book presents itself as a “new year’s gift” containing 13 engravings: one coat of arms and twelve emblems executed by the prolific engraver Frederik Bouttats. The author of the text is a Jesuit who remains anonymous.… Continue Reading

Let’s make a model!

Co-written by Heather Wolfe and Jana Dambrogio In 2010, Jana Dambrogio and I were thinking independently about slits and stabs in early modern letters. Jana, after having had made many models of the letters of Tomaso di Livieri from the 1580s and 1590s (housed in the Fondo Veneto, Sezione II, in the Vatican Secret Archives), had just seen a letter in London from Elizabeth I that was similar in structure to a format used by her humble Venetian.… Continue Reading

Fun in cataloging, or, the mysterious 12mo

On occasion, interesting and unusual aspects of books, manuscripts, and prints catch the attention of the cataloger at work on them.  The office of the Cataloging and Metadata Department (located on Deck A right below the Paster Reading Room) is an open area with a large table in the center, which makes it really easy to show each other the cool stuff we come across.… Continue Reading

Hidden notes, “bibliographic nightmares,” and STC call numbers

Sometimes when keyword searching Hamnet, the results include mystery matches: when you Ctrl-V to find the word you’re looking for on the page, it’s not there. That’s because some fields only display on the “MARC view” tab. Usually the information isn’t worth making public. For example, what displays as: is served up by this underlying Machine Readable Cataloging, or MARC:  The only hidden piece of information is “CMS 20101102” – the initials of the cataloger who created the record and the date the record was finished.… Continue Reading

Four states of Shakespeare: the Droeshout portrait

So the mysterious eye of this month’s crocodile belongs to no other than Shakespeare, as some readers immediately recognized: More specifically, it is Shakespeare’s left right eye as depicted in the third state of the Droeshout engraving from one of the Folger’s copies of the First Folio. If you’re wondering why I chose his eye as the June crocodile, that previous sentence is key: the portrait of Shakespeare engraved by Martin Droeshout for the First Folio exists in 4 different states, 3 of which can be seen in copies of the First Folio (the fourth state wasn’t introduced until the Fourth Folio in 1685).… Continue Reading


Steady sellers

Recently, Jan van de Kamp, a scholar from the Netherlands, contacted me with the question of whether I knew a method to extract all religious steady sellers from the Short Title Catalogue, Netherlands (STCN). He would like to use that information to prepare a contribution to the Brill Companion to Dutch Protestant Piety, 1480–1820, in which Jan will discuss the production of edifying literature published in the Netherlands in the period 1570–1820.… Continue Reading

Making a Karibari board

In conservation, the drying or humidification of paper poses particular challenges when dimensional and visual characteristics of the original paper are to be retained. Because of this, the drying of an artifact is a key step in its treatment. There are a range of paper drying techniques from which the conservator can select and adapt in order to enhance the outcome of each treatment.… Continue Reading

Timon of Athens: nine not-actually-lost drawings by Wyndham Lewis

In 1998, modernist art and literature scholar Paul Edwards wrote about “a set of watercolours and (apparently) ink drawings on the theme of Shakespeare’s Timon of Athens” by Wyndham Lewis that had been published as a portfolio in 1913. Why only “apparently” in ink? Until Professor Edwards came across the nine drawings in the Folger’s digital image collection, art historians thought the drawings had been lost.… Continue Reading

A digital adieu

The time has come for me to say farewell as my National Digital Stewardship Residency placement at the Folger Shakespeare Library comes to a close later this month. It has been a wonderful nine months working with born-digital assets here at the Folger and I’m thankful to the Library and to you, the Folger’s audience, for your hospitality. To bid you adieu, I’ve revisited the various NDSR Collation posts generated during my tenure and will discuss where you might find more information regarding related digital projects at the Folger in the future:… Continue Reading