The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

“What manner o’ thing is your crocodile?”: August edition

Like last month’s crocodile mystery, this one has two levels of answers. The first, of course, is to identify what genre of thing this is. The second is to offer explanations for why this genre and this instance might be worth discussing. I will clarify that what I’m focused on here is the last line of type on the page; I’ve cropped the image down so that we’re seeing only the bottom few inches of the entire page.… Continue Reading

Q & A: Goran Proot, Curator of Rare Books

On June 1st, Goran Proot became the new Andrew W. Mellon Curator of Rare Books at the Folger Shakespeare Library. Now that he’s had a chance to settle in a bit, it’s time for us to introduce him to Collation readers and—soon—for him to become one of our regular contributors! Goran (born in 1972, the worst-wine year of the century, he points out) has a Master’s degree in Language and Literature and a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy, both from Leuven (the oldest university of the Low Countries) and an MA in Information and Library Sciences from Antwerp University, where he also obtained his PhD.… Continue Reading

How (not) to mend a tear

Going through a box of early 19th-century playbills recently, I was puzzled to see something paper-clipped to an area of loss on the right-hand edge of a bill, as if someone had attached a little note to it:… Continue Reading

Learning from readers

Sometimes the beauty of our blog is that we can share with you items in our collections: new acquisitions, recently restored works, or long-held pieces worth a closer look. Sometimes its beauty is that it makes it easy to share information with you: details of a new finding aid, tips on using on of our digital resources, or insight into the workings of the Library.… Continue Reading

This post is brought to you by the letter L

This letter L is an example of a cadel initial, or lettre cadeau, with anthropomorphic features; that is, it is a letter created out of knot-work and caricatured or grotesque faces of people (actually, it is zoomorphic as well, with that lovely panting dog). It appears on leaf 2 of Folger MS V.a.320, an English manuscript version of Sir Henry Finch’s Nomotechnia, viz.Continue Reading

Armorial bindings

The reveal to this month’s crocodile mystery isn’t much of a reveal; both John Overholt and Philip Allfrey posted the answer in last week’s comments. It’s the stamp that George Granville Leveson-Gower, the 1st Duke of Sutherland (1758-1833) used in his armorial bindings. … Continue Reading

Folger Tooltips: Researching Bindings

Last month Folger Librarian Stephen Enniss announced our public launch of the Folger Bindings Image Collection. Today we introduce Collation readers to the database and describe in a bit more detail some of the available search strategies for those interested in investigating early modern European binding structure and decoration. About the Bindings Image Collection This new database had its earliest incarnation at the Folger nearly twenty years ago in the form of a public exhibition and a now-out-of-print catalog, Fine and Historic Bookbindings from the Folger Shakespeare Library, by Frederick Bearman, Nati Krivatsy, and Frank Mowery.… Continue Reading

“What manner o’ thing is your crocodile?”: July edition

Okay, folks, it’s time for another crocodile mystery. It’s pretty obvious, I think, what genre of thing this is (though do go ahead and identify it anyway), so let’s take this to the next level: what specifics can you supply about this particular example? Don’t forget that, as always, if you click on the image a larger version will open up in a new window; clicking on that image should enlarge it further, if need be.… Continue Reading

Learning to “read” old paper

Have you ever wished there were a summer camp for bookish grown-ups? A retreat where we can spend a week amongst our own and not worry about being teased for loving libraries or getting hit in the glasses by a dodgeball? There is such a place, and it’s called Rare Book School. Originally based at Columbia University, RBS moved to the University of Virginia in 1992 and has continued to grow ever since.… Continue Reading

Bell’s nightmare continued

This post is a continuation of “John Bell, bibliographic nightmare.” I began to write these posts while entrenched in the difficult task of cataloging the library’s myriad copies of Bell’s 18th-century Shakespeare publications as a means of sharing a look into the unique, maddening world of Mr. Bell. In the last post, Sarah and I shared some background information about John Bell and why I considered him a bibliographic nightmare.… Continue Reading