The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Theatrical Bills and Receipts

Folger manuscripts W.b.110 and W.b.111 are an oddly mis-matched pair. W.b.110 is nearly 46cm tall (almost 18 inches, for those playing along at home) and nearly 160 leaves, while W.b.111 is a good 10cm shorter and about a third the length. But both have nearly identical titles in our catalog: “Bills and receipts for the wardrobe, stage properties, writings and printing” (W.b.111 adds that they were “used in productions of Shakespearean and other plays” but the same is true of the contents of W.b.110 as well).… Continue Reading

Folger collections in times of war

As you guessed, the image from last week’s Crocodile Post is a hand-drawn plan for a vault. This particular one was intended to store the Folger’s rare books during World War II. The hand-drawn plan is the work of Stanley King, the president of Amherst College from 1938-1946. Ever since the death of Henry Folger in 1930, the Folger Shakespeare Library has been under the administrative auspices of Amherst College—Folger’s alma mater.… Continue Reading


The Charming Mr. Stoker and the Monster Within

A guest post by Jason McElligott Let me begin with a confession that may not endear me to many friends of the Folger: I don’t enjoy Shakespeare. To be completely honest, I find him hard work. Now, I am not a complete ignoramus. I do understand the importance of his work, and as a teenager studying for school exams there was a brief period when I knew the entirety of Julius Caesar and King Lear off-by-heart.… Continue Reading

The Journey is Underway for Before ‘Farm to Table’

By now, you may have read about—or participated in—several activities linked to the project Before ‘Farm to Table’: Early Modern Foodways and Cultures. They have included food-related pop-up exhibitions at Folger public programs (the next one is for A Christmas Messe); Frances Dolan’s “Digging the Past: Writing and Agriculture in the Seventeenth Century” weekend seminar, which included a field trip to Smith Meadows Farm in Berryville, Virginia; a Material Witness seminar on readings about coffee and tea; sessions with distinguished scholars like Ken Albala, known for his food recreation research, and Craig Muldrew, whose numbers-based research assesses early modern food costs, caloric intakes, and more; and even a Thanksgiving-themed adapted recipe for early modern biscuits.… Continue Reading

The key to removing a card catalog rod (literally)

Thanks for all the great guesses at the identity of the December Crocodile! In fact, the mystery object is a tool for removing the rod from a particular type of card catalog drawer (see Folgerpedia‘s Card catalogs article for information about our card catalogs and how to use them). Ironically, Richard M. Waugaman’s tongue-in-cheek proposal that it’s a worn-out corkscrew comes closest to the actual function: this type of card catalog rod is removed by jamming the tool onto the end of the rod and pulling, just like you’d pull a cork from a bottle.… Continue Reading


Spanish Book Collection at the Folger

Andres Alvarez-Davila was a Dumbarton-Oaks intern at the Folger Shakespeare Library in 2017-2018. One of Andres’ projects was to determine the scope of the Spanish book collection at Folger, which is, for the most part, only searchable in the card catalog, and therefore can only be discovered by readers onsite. A longer version of Andres’s post as well as a spreadsheet including a list of over a thousand titles with their subject headings will be available shortly in Folgerpedia.… Continue Reading

Coding Elizabeth’s Court: A Digital Experiment

With Danielle Rosvally The Dataset Gathered by Marion E. Colthorpe, The Elizabethan Court Day by Day (ECDbD) is a record of the people, places, and events of the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. Colthorpe consulted state papers, diaries, government records, and other primary source documents to bring together details about what happened on each day of Elizabeth’s reign. The events of ECDbD depict the movers and shakers of Elizabethan England at play and at work.… Continue Reading

What is an Aesopian fable in the Renaissance? The case of the Renaissance Catwoman

A guest post by Liza Blake What is an Aesopian fable in the Renaissance? This post is about where our modern Aesopian fables come from, drawing on the Folger Shakespeare Library’s incredibly rich collections of animal fables. For more detail and proper notes, I recommend the recently published volume Arthur Golding’s A Moral Fabletalk and Other Renaissance Fable Translations, which I co-edited with Kathryn Vomero Santos—a copy of which is also held at the Folger.… Continue Reading