The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

The Many Different Ways to Make a Lacemaking Pattern Book: The Case of Vinciolo’s Book

  Early modern lacemaking pattern books are ‘eye catching’ picture books with pages after pages of intricate designs. Unlike most modern pattern books, they generally include very little instructions on how to execute their models, expecting readers either to already be experienced needleworkers or to simply enjoy browsing through their images. Some time ago I serendipitously found in our collections a copy of Federico Vinciolo’s lacemaking pattern book.… Continue Reading

All the Purposes of a Library: a piece of blue ephemera

Thanks to all of you who participated in guessing for this month’s Crocodile Mystery! As some of you noted, it is a book bound in eighteenth-century waste paper, particularly waste paper related to a late eighteenth-century edition of the Cyclopaedia: or, An Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences by Ephraim Chambers. The tricky part is figuring out exactly what kind of waste it is.… Continue Reading


First Folger Director: William Adams Slade, Part II

A guest post by Stephen Grant Part I of the William Adams Slade saga was largely deltiological, that is having to do with picture postcards. Part II will be deltiological in one instance. Let’s now pick up with chronological references linking Folgers and Slades. It’s interesting to note that in the 1930s two Shakespeare scholars are presidents of two of the Seven Sisters: Henry N.… Continue Reading

Strange New World: Folger Resources for Online Learning and Teaching

I think Miranda will forgive the paraphrase when we say it’s a strange new world out there right now. For many of us, our lives have been turned upside down in the last week (has it really only been a week?), and we suddenly find ourselves needing to rapidly figure out how to work, teach, and study in a remote/virtual environment.  … Continue Reading

A Wyncoll’s Tale

Let’s face it, every special collections library has at least a few mystery items in the vault that are quietly passed down over the decades from curator to curator (or cataloger to cataloger, or acquisitions librarian to acquisitions librarian). These items exist in a liminal space of low-level awareness and quietly dissipating institutional knowledge, awaiting the elusive day when they can be remembered and identified.… Continue Reading

Dining with the Hermaphrodites: Courtly Excess and Dietary Manuals in Early Modern France

A guest post by Kathleen Long In 1605, a satirical novel, now known under the title L’Isle des Hermaphrodites (The Island of Hermaphrodites) was circulating on the streets of Paris. It was very popular at the time, according to contemporary accounts, and it was republished several times in the eighteenth century. Since its first publication, it has been read as being a criticism of the excesses of the French court during the reign of Henri III.… Continue Reading

A late 15th-century tapestry fragment with visible restorations

Yes, indeed, the Folger collection item the March 2020 Crocodile Mystery is two-toned because of fading (and yes, indeed, it is a tapestry). Congratulations and thanks to Elisabeth, Ed, and Carolyn for their comments. The mystery wasn’t quite solved, though: the darker areas were not protected from light by being folded under or covered by something opaque, as was proposed in the comments.… Continue Reading


First Folger Director: William Adams Slade, Part I

A Guest Post by Stephen H. Grant Dear Collators, at a Fall 2019 reception in the Great Hall, I captured a rare historic moment in the Library’s history. We contemplate the personification of more than a third of a century of recent Folger leadership, side by side, in flesh and blood. Werner Gundersheimer was Folger director from 1984 to 2002. Gail Kern Paster succeeded Werner as Folger director in 2002 and stepped down in 2011.… Continue Reading