The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

British Book Illustrations

Good news, picture-seekers! If you’ve ever tried to search Luna for a picture of something specific, you’ve probably noticed that relatively few digital images match one-to-one with their source descriptions. For example, although a keyword search for “dog” will bring up depictions of dogs in single items from the art collection (like this one who seems to making good an escape, and this one who has stopped to smell the flowers), it will also bring up all 140 images of a manuscript that’s described as including recipes “for the bite of a mad dog.” It will not, however, bring up any of the seven pages depicting dogs in Edward Topsell’s Historie of foure-footed beastes: Topsell’s book has a lengthy catalog record, but the word “dog” does not appear anywhere in it.… Continue Reading

The evolution of collection practices: a case study

A guest post by Lauren Liebe There is nothing quite as exciting in archival research as stumbling upon an unexpected connection between two objects. When I called up L852 copy 3 and D2292, I had not realized that they shared a Folger case file number (indicating that they were both purchased by Henry and Emily Folger, likely around the same time); but even that information would not have told me that the two volumes, both sammelbands of Restoration-era drama, were part of a four-volume set.… Continue Reading

Mapping Shakespeare’s plays: an experiment

A guest post by Charles Webb Friends, Romans, Countrymen: lend me your eyes For the past eight months I have split my time between working at the Folger Shakespeare Library and at Dumbarton Oaks as a Dumbarton Oaks Humanities Fellow. I am fortunate to work as a part of the Digital Media and Publications team here at the Folger, where I have had the opportunity to define my own digital project this year.… Continue Reading

Uncancelling the cancelled: recovering obliterated owners of old books

Last week’s Crocodile showed a detail of a cancelled name on the title page of Folger STC 17132. Despite the parallel hatching that was used to conceal it, two Collation readers immediately identified Humphrey Dyson’s distinctive signature. The item note in the Hamnet record describes it as “inscription on t.p. crossed out and illegible,” but watch this space—Folger catalogers will soon update the record to reflect the fact that An answer to the vntruthes : published and printed in Spaine, in glorie of their supposed victorie atchieued against our English Nauie… (London: John Jackson for Thomas Cadman, 1589) was once part of Dyson’s library of 2,000 titles and roughly 6,000 broadsides.… Continue Reading


Almanacs as Underdogs

A guest post by Katherine Walker The Folger houses many impressive texts and manuscripts. So much so, in fact, that it is easy to overlook the library’s equally vast and provocative collection of less illustrious genres. These texts will not require heavy lifting or elaborate stands. No one will likely toss an envious glance your way as you peruse these uninspired quartos in the reading rooms.… Continue Reading

SAA? FSL!

UPDATE: The Reading Room will be open from 9 am – 4:30 pm on Saturday, April 20, 2019. Please note that the docent-led public tour of the space will still take place from noon to 1pm, as usual, so researchers who would find that disturbing are advised to plan a lunch break accordingly. Are you attending the Shakespeare Association of America’s 2019 annual conference in Washington D.C.… Continue Reading

Accounting for Relationships: the Drury Lane Financial Records

A guest post by Chelsea Phillips With the cherry trees blooming (almost), the sun shining (sometimes), and tax season looming, there is no more delightful time to consider the vagaries of 18th-century theatrical accounting practice. The Folger Shakespeare Library holds a wealth of financial records for the major theatres of 18th- and 19th-century London, and particularly for Drury Lane. Judith Milhous has provided an excellent overview of surviving financial records, and their utility for theatre historians.… Continue Reading

What is the scope of the STC?

John Lancaster’s guess for March’s crocodile post is correct: This catechism, printed in Basel by Andreas Gesner, has an STC number because it follows the use of Salisbury; it therefore belongs to the group of books not in English printed abroad “according to British ‘use’” described in Katharine Pantzer’s introduction to the second edition of the Short-Title Catalogue of Books Printed in England, Scotland, and Ireland, and of English Books Printed Abroad (STC).… Continue Reading

“What manner o’thing is your crocodile?”: March 2019

For the Crocodile of the month, we ask you to look at the title page (ignore the beautiful ink blot by the imprint) and colophon of this book in relation to its call number STC 4811. Is there something a bit unusual here? As always, leave your guesses in the comments and we’ll be back next week with the answer.… Continue Reading