The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Book History, Manuscript Studies, and Navigating Special Collections During COVID-19

A guest post by Breanne Weber and Tamara Mahadin In the midst of a pandemic, participants of the Folger Institute’s “Orientation to Research Methods and Agendas” gathered in a virtual seminar space this summer. Since the COVID-19 pandemic halted access to the archives in institutional libraries, this year’s seminar, in collaboration with Pennsylvania State University, was a different, yet eye-opening, experience.… Continue Reading

The Collation by the numbers

Happy Anniversary to us! This blog was started on August 18, 2011, making it ten years old. That’s pretty old in dog years and absolutely ancient in internet years. For this, our 661st post, we would like to take you on an enumerative journey, and so we proudly present: The Collation by the numbers! The Basics This is our 661st post, which comes out to just over 1 post per week.… Continue Reading

An Experiment in Following a Worm Through a Folded Letter

A guest post by William Davis Folger staff have long been interested in folding early modern letters for mailing. It comes up periodically when someone finds a letter with unusual folds. Both Heather Wolfe and Erin Blake have written Collation posts about discovering how certain types of folds were done and why. However, a digital surrogate is not usually a source that leaps to mind as a tool when confronted with folding questions.… Continue Reading

The Pirates of H.M.S. Pinafore

The mystery man in the Crocodile Mystery image is the Englishman W.S. (William Schwenck) Gilbert, the librettist and playwright, in costume as King Claudius. Gilbert, along with composer Arthur Seymour Sullivan, created during the 19th century some of the most beloved and enduring works of comic opera, such as H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance, The Mikado, and Ruddigore.… Continue Reading

“What manner o’thing is your crocodile?”: August 2021

This month’s Crocodile post brings to mind the classic board game Guess Who? (19th century edition!). Does your person have a giant mustache? Yes. Are they wearing a crown? Yes… Do they look annoyed? YES! For those of who you might struggle with this one, here’s a clue: “he is an Englishman.” Lock in your guesses in the comments below and be sure to check back next week for the big reveal!… Continue Reading

Postcards in the (home) archive: Folger postcards, 1936

A guest post by Stephen Grant Printed on picture side: FOLGER SHAKESPERIAN LIBRARY, WASHINGTON, D. C. 4A-H1791  Printed on address side: B. S. REYNOLDS CO., 918 D St., NORTHWEST WASHINGTON, D.C. “C. T. ART-COLORTONE” MADE ONLY BY CURT TEICH & CO., INC., CHICAGO, U.S.A. THIS SPACE FOR WRITING MESSAGES. THIS SPACE FOR ADDRESS ONLY. Written message: March 16, 1936 Dear Mrs Brubaker – The pale blue dress I am sending you has been cleaned only once – last week – so it is probably worth being dyed.Continue Reading

2021-2022 Folger Research Fellows

The Folger Institute is pleased to announce the 2021-2022 cohort of Folger Institute Research Fellows! With the Folger Shakespeare Library building renovation project well and truly underway, the Folger collections remain unavailable for in-person consultation. However, the Folger Institute is committed to continuing its support of collections-based research, and to providing scholars with the resources they need to pursue and advance their work.… Continue Reading

A Conservation Intern’s Observations on STC 2608

A guest post by Kevin Cilurzo (with particular thanks to Adrienne Bell) For a conservator, to disbind and rebind a book is a rare chance to study and understand its binding structure. With broken sewing and loose detached leaves, Folger STC 2608 needed major conservation treatment before it could be safely handled by readers. Folger STC 2608 is a hybrid book combining a manuscript and a printed text.… Continue Reading

Reading Anatomy Texts Like Poetry (and why we should do it more often)

A guest post by Whitney Sperrazza When we look at this page from Thomas Bartholin’s 1668 anatomy text (Folger B977), it’s easy to think of it as an objective document. We imagine we are seeing “data” about the womb and clitoris gathered by the anatomist during the dissection process. Reading science books, even old ones, this is the prevailing pattern, and one that scientists themselves continue to cultivate.… Continue Reading

Decoding Early Modern Gossip

A guest post by Alicia Petersen What comes to mind when you think of a coded letter? Political intrigue? Espionage? As the Folger Shakespeare Library’s 2014-5 exhibition Decoding the Renaissance: 500 Years of Codes and Ciphers highlighted, these guesses are pretty accurate. Particularly in the tense political climate surrounding the English Civil Wars (1642-1651), coded letters abounded in connection to plots and conspiracies.… Continue Reading