The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

The books on our shelf

Headers on blogs are sometimes just pretty pictures, just as sometimes books sitting on a shelf are just books sitting there. In this case, however, the books sitting on the shelf in our header image are not only pretty, but revealing! The picture that is the basis for The Collation‘s header was taken by Erica Abbey, one of the Folger’s photographers, in our Deck C rare materials vault on September 11, 2009.… Continue Reading

Watermarks & hidden collections

Hidden collections—that is, collections that are undescribed or underdescribed—are exceedingly common in libraries and archives. Until recently, the manuscript and printed paper that make up the E. Williams watermark collection, including papers of the Hale family of King’s Walden and other papers was an example of a hidden collection. In contrast with completely undescribed collections, however, a minimal description of one element of the materials did exist: in this case, a handlist provided by the bookseller describing watermark features of the paper.… Continue Reading

Remember, Remember, the Fifth of November

Last week, while flipping through a magazine (sorry, I don’t recall which one, but you probably all read the same stuff I do), my attention was caught by a photo of two people wearing what I immediately recognized as Guy Fawkes masks. Now, how Guy Fawkes would be instantly recognizable in twenty-first-century popular culture is one of the things that gave me pause.… Continue Reading

Folger Tooltips: Announcing Impos[i]tor

With today’s Tooltip, the Folger Shakespeare Library is proud to offer Impositor, an online tool to automatically arrange digital images from the collection into simulated impositions (the laying out of pages into the formes of printed sheets). Folio, quarto, octavo, duodecimo, and sextodecimo formats are available. Try it out and let us know what you think! But first, a bit of background.… Continue Reading

A ghost for Halloween

I’d like to say that I cleverly scheduled the installation of Benjamin Wilson’s William Powell as Hamlet encountering the Ghost for last Friday so that the Founders’ Room would have a ghost in time for Halloween. Unfortunately, there were witnesses around when I finally noticed the coincidence, and this blog is open to comments, so I’ll just have to let that one go.… Continue Reading

Reading the romantics

What do Folger staff read in their spare time?  Not necessarily Shakespeare!  I’ve recently finished a wonderful book by Daisy Hay called The Young Romantics, published in the spring of 2010 and now available in hardback, paperback, or on a Kindle near you.  Hay has an amazing grasp of the lives of the second-generation Romantics—Shelley, Keats, Byron, Mary Shelley, her stepsister Claire Claremont, Leigh Hunt—and a host of others in their expanding circle. … Continue Reading

Undergraduate reports from the Reading Room

Today’s post features two accounts from students at The George Washington University who are in this semester’s Folger Undergradaute Seminar. Lyssa Meddin When I first heard about the Folger Shakespeare Library Undergraduate Seminar I was finishing up my freshman year at The George Washington University; from that moment on I couldn’t wait to be a senior.  At a time when e-readers were becoming popular, getting a chance to learn about how books were made and to be surrounded by them seemed like the best thing I had ever heard of. … Continue Reading

Interrogating a hermit

Three months ago the Folger was lucky enough to acquire a letter from Thomas Cromwell to George Talbot, earl of Shrewsbury. I say lucky because while roughly 350 letters from Cromwell survive, almost all of them are at either the British Library or the National Archives in Kew, and only one other letter by him has been sold at auction in over 30 years.… Continue Reading

Q & A: Julie Ainsworth, Head of Photography and Digital Imaging

Although many readers at and visitors to the Folger Shakespeare Library might not know her name, most know her work. Julie Ainsworth, Head of Photography and Digital Imaging, is responsible for the wonderful images of Folger items that are found in print, that make up the Folger’s Digital Image Collection, and that grace the Library’s website. Her award-winning work has appeared in numerous publications, including in the Washington Post, New York Times, Boston Globe, Washingtonian, Progressive Architecture, Landscape Architect, Horizon Magazine, Dial, Ovation, Dossier, Print, Town and Country, The Christian Science Monitor, and The Washington City Paper; her photographs have also appeared on the covers of The Washington Times Magazine, Inside Arts, The Wilson Library Bulletin, and other publications. … Continue Reading

Battling over 18th-century rights to Shakespeare

In working on the Shakespeare Collection NEH grant-funded project for the past year, I have learned more than I ever imagined possible regarding the history of eighteenth-century publishing, particularly the “Shakespeare copyrights” and ownership disputes between booksellers. The feud between booksellers Jacob Tonson and Robert Walker is just such an example. In the early eighteenth century, the Tonson firm held the copyright for Shakespeare works, publishing fine editions by popular editors such as Alexander Pope and Nicholas Rowe.… Continue Reading