The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

“What manner o’ thing is your crocodile?”: June 2013

The last few crocodile mysteries have zoomed in on details. Here, for a change of pace, we’re zooming out to a full-page spread: June crocodile (click to enlarge) In the past crocodiles have been about categories of objects, not necessarily the specifics. But a few of you might recognize exactly what this is and who is responsible for it, and you can leave those answers in the comments below.… Continue Reading

Folger Tooltips: Hamnet access to e-books, part one

Greetings Dear Readers! Today’s tooltip introduces new e-book resources we are in the process of rolling out through Hamnet, including: ACLS Humanities E-Book (HEB), a nonprofit online collection of over 3,700 current and recent titles in the humanities, “offering a curated titlelist, recommended and reviewed by scholars.” Early English Books Online and — in an exciting recent development — we are pleased to now also be a partner library of and to provide onsite access to the Early English Books Online Text Creation Partnership, with full-text searchable access to transcriptions of tens of thousands of page images from the EEBO corpus.… Continue Reading

Proof prints, part one

Last time I posted on The Collation (Two disciplines separated by a common language, 30 April 2013), I went off on a bit of a rant about vocabulary barriers between printed pictures and printed words. Guess what? There’s more! That post mentioned edition, copy, state, impression, and plate, but deliberately omitted the word “proof.” Those other terms all fit the tidy pattern of meaning one thing in one discipline, and something else in the other.… Continue Reading


Looking like a book

Last month I wrote about a book—nay, a leaf of a book—and the secret histories it reveals about how it was made, from the growth of the tree that became the woodblock to the valleys and hills that formed during the making and printing of the paper. I promised then that I’d write another post that took us into the afterlife of that book, the ways in which the future imprinted itself on it.… Continue Reading

Learning to write the alphabet

Learning to write the alphabet is one of the first stages of writing literacy. For early modern English children, this meant first learning to read the letters of the alphabet (printed in black letter) from a hornbook. Hornbook (London?, 1630). Folger Shakespeare Library STC 13813.5. Click on this and all other images to enlarge.They then learned to write the letters of the alphabet in one or both of the two main handwritten scripts, secretary and italic.… Continue Reading

Pen facsimiles of early print

As the commenters on last week’s crocodile guessed, the mystery image showed writing masquerading as print or, to use the more formal term, a pen facsimile (click on any of the images in the post to enlarge them): pen facsimile of the 1611 Authorized Bible (STC 2216), sig. ^2^2A6r It’s telling that two of the three guesses focused not on the blackletter but on the roman font and the decorated initial.… Continue Reading

“What manner o’ thing is your crocodile?”: May 2013

Another month, another mystery for your riddling. What might be going on in this image? I’m not asking you to identify the text 1 but to look at it and speculate on what we might see and say about it. Click on the image to enlarge it (you’ll need to click twice, once to open it in and again to zoom in on it), leave your comments below, and come back next week when the answer is revealed!… Continue Reading

Two disciplines separated by a common language

I should have seen it coming when the Art History professor and the English professor started talking with each other about “print culture” (names omitted to protect reputations). It soon became clear that one had been talking about the circulation of printed pictures, the other had been talking about the circulation of printed words, and neither wanted to let on that they hadn’t been talking about both all along.… Continue Reading

Mors comoedia. A comedy a hundred years old brought to life again in 1726

Sheer chance is an important factor in research. Some sixteen years ago I was surveying a sammelband held at Antwerp University Library that contained 257 programs documenting theater performances in Jesuit schools in Flanders. 1 And now, just a month ago, one of the many Neo-Latin theater plays in the Folger collections unexpectedly helped me to identify the author of one of the largely anonymous texts.… Continue Reading

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