The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

“What manner o’ thing is your crocodile?”: December 2014

Another new month, another new crocodile mystery! What manner of thing is this? Please leave wild guesses, informed opinions, witty remarks, and so on, in the Comments section. All will be revealed later this week (or sooner, depending on how the Comments go). UPDATE December 9: All is revealed in “Mezzotint!“… Continue Reading

How the “Mastiffs” reached the Folger

In June 1878, the novelist Anthony Trollope and a dozen of his friends boarded the yacht “Mastiff” in Scotland for its maiden voyage, a trip to Iceland. They stayed just over a week, but the episode provided Trollope with enough material for a book, How the ‘Mastiffs’ Went to Iceland. It was published barely two months later by Virtue & Co.… Continue Reading

So much for goats, or, cute creatures in coats of arms

John Guillim’s partial manuscript draft of A Display of Heraldry (ca. 1610) was featured in our recently closed exhibition, “Symbols of Honor: Heraldry and Family History in Shakespeare’s England.” We showed an opening depicting “Fishes skynned” and “Crusted fishes” and compared it to a similar opening in the printed Display of Heraldry (London, 1611). This was a difficult decision, since the fish were competing against so many other completely wonderful monsters, mammals, birds, minerals, plants, trees, fruits, stars, elements, and humors—as well as buildings, clothing, tools, weapons, and other “artificial” charges.… Continue Reading

Research round-up

One of the best bits of my job as a reference librarian here at the Folger (oh, who am I kidding? They’re all “best bits”) is answering research questions from scholars who are not on site. I really enjoy being someone’s hands and eyes, to look at our collection materials when they cannot. These questions have sent me off in directions I never would have dreamed of; there is no better way to learn a collection than to use it, and I am certainly getting the opportunity to explore the depth and breadth of our collection.… Continue Reading

Folger Tooltips: The limits of “Set Limits” in Hamnet

Following up on last month’s post about the new-and-improved “Limit location” in Hamnet, the one that lets you quickly limit your search to one of four locations, including just Vault material, I thought I should say a few words about the limits of the “Set Limits” feature. Set limits first When you go to a Search screen, the system very helpfully puts the cursor in the text box, prompting you to start typing.… Continue Reading

Dalí as you like him

The change of pace in this month’s crocodile mystery is thanks to Salvador Dalí. Surely you, like our commenters, recognized those elongated legs. And if I’d shared the companion image, you’d have guessed that immediately as well. But what’s he doing in the Folger Shakespeare Library’s collections? Sharing his designs for As You Like It, obviously!… Continue Reading

“What manner o’ thing is your crocodile?”: November 2014

Perhaps the question for this month’s mystery is less about crocodiles and more about elephants: It’s been a while since we’ve done a mystery along these lines, so enjoy letting your imagination run free: What is this and what’s it doing in the collections of the Folger Shakespeare Library? As always, leave your comments, questions, and brainstorming below and come back next week for the reveal!… Continue Reading

Ohel or Dod? Ideal copies and messy print

When is a repair to a title page more like a clue to a bibliographical puzzle? This question has intrigued me since, some years ago, I first consulted a Folger copy of John Rogers’s 1653 Ohel or Beth-shemesh. A Tabernacle for the Sun: Or Irenicum Evangelicum. An Idea of Church-Discipline, in the Theorick and Practick Parts (135- 312q). The Folger Institute’s recent faculty weekend seminar, “Narratives of Conversion in Reformation Europe, ca.… Continue Reading

A carousel of tragedy

We are used to thinking of productions of Shakespeare’s plays as creating new works of art that demonstrate the vitality of the centuries-old drama. But in the right hands, books can achieve the same effect. Emily Martin’s The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare, published by Naughty Dog Press in 2012 and acquired by the Folger last year (ART Vol.… Continue Reading

19th-century faces in a 16th-century manuscript

A mother and her two daughters unexpectedly greet you when you open the binding of Folger MS V.a.174. Turn to the back of the volume and there they are again. Who are these late-nineteenth-century women, and why is their image affixed in perpetuity to the Elizabethan binding of a 1576 manuscript version of the Book of Common Prayer? … Continue Reading