The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Cataloging and preserving the Shakespeare collection

Cataloging and Preserving the Shakespeare Collection is a three-year project at the Folger Shakespeare Library funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Catalogers are working to create and upgrade definitive records for the Folger’s more than 5,000 Shakespeare works in print from the 18th through 20th centuries. In addition to cataloging the books and making the records available online, the project brings together a team of curators, conservators, and reference members in order to conserve the materials for future generations of scholars, with procedures such as sending high spot volumes for off-site deacidification, as well as housing vulnerable materials in phase boxes, to preserve structural integrity.… Continue Reading

Guyot’s speciman sheet

If you’re a type designer (or a type caster, to be more appropriate to the early modern period), how do you show people examples of your wares? You use a specimen sheet: On this sheet, we see a matched set of roman and italic typefaces, each in three sizes. The roman (from largest to smallest, and from top to bottom) is in canon, double pica, and pica; the italic (zig-zagging from right to left to middle) is in double pica, great primer, and pica.… Continue Reading

Exhibition transformations

It’s that time of year again: for two weeks every four months or so, the Folger’s Great Hall locks its doors and transforms from one exhibition into the next. Or, perhaps that’s how it seems to Folger visitors and readers and staff who are barred from the space and have to wait to see the next show. If you’ve ever wondered what goes on behind those closed, locked doors, let me give you a little glimpse .… Continue Reading

From printing house to coffee house

Last Friday a much-anticipated package arrived at the Folger, containing a series of fifteen deeds describing the successive ownership of two adjacent properties on Fleet Street (“The King’s Highway”) in London from 1543 to 1735. Deeds can be tedious to muddle through, repetitive and full of arcane terminology. And the Folger doesn’t actively acquire deeds unless they directly relate to a collection strength, but when these were offered to us by a London bookseller, we couldn’t say no.… Continue Reading

Q & A: Michael Witmore, Director

With this post, we inaugurate a Q & A series with Folger staff. It seems fitting to start off with one of the most recent and most public members of the Folger Shakespeare Library, Director Michael Witmore. Although his position as Director might be relatively new, Mike has a long history with the Folger: he has been a Short-term Fellow here, has published in Shakespeare Quarterly, and is co-curator with Rosamond Purcell of an upcoming exhibit, “Very Like a Whale.” Before coming to the Library, Mike was Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin; prior to that, he was Associate Professor of English at Carnegie Mellon University.… Continue Reading

Undergrads in the Library

Forty-five years ago, Folger Director Louis Wright used his annual report to describe the Library as a haven for student-weary faculty: The time has come when someone should give a word of commendation to long-suffering faculties, and provide them with a refuge from the slings and arrows of outrageous students. We are glad that the Folger Library can qualify as a mind-saving station for scholars weary with the task of trying to stir the undergraduate mind to rational understanding. … Continue Reading

Folger Tooltips: Introduction

Greetings Dear Readers! Welcome to the first in a series of “tooltips” about how to access and best utilize online resources for conducting research at (or away from) the Folger Shakespeare Library. New bibliographic records and finding aids, and new tools for researchers, are continually in the works.  Some of our collection descriptions and digital toolsets are created in-house, such as the bibliographic records describing 82 First Folios (and fragments).… Continue Reading

Sue Doggett’s The Tempest, a unique artists’ book

Conventional wisdom sets up two distinct experiences of Shakespeare’s plays: readers encountering a text, and audiences encountering a performance. The Folger recently acquired a 1995 version of The Tempest by London book artist Sue Doggett that complicates the distinction. Readers of this one-of-a-kind book encounter Shakespeare’s text through Doggett’s artistry, where her choices of paper, lettering, imagery, texture, and color help interpret the selected scenes.… Continue Reading

Browsing the #wunderkammer

One of the great things about running the @FolgerResearch twitter account is pulling together the Wednesday Wunderkammer from the Folger Digital Image Collection. It’s a chance for me to explore what’s in the constantly growing collection, making new discoveries and highlighting some of the things that catch my eye. It’s a different sort of interaction with the Folger’s collections than I usually have.… Continue Reading

Much Ado about Eighty-Two

Seventy-nine.  In the same year the Folger Shakespeare Library turns seventy-nine years old, it updates a number that since the founding of the library has helped define the strength of its collection. It’s the number that was found on all the brochures, ads, encyclopedia articles, and websites.  Seventy-nine was, until a few months ago, the official number of First Folios held at the Folger.… Continue Reading