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The Collation

Folger Mysteries (formerly known as "What manner o' thing is your crocodile"): May 2024

image of a letter written in 1539
Same same?
picture of letter written in 1539

Back in May 2012, The Collation introduced our monthly series “What manner o’ thing is your crocodile?” Then editor Sarah Werner asked readers to help us devise a clever name for a series on identifying objects in our collection, and Jeremy Dibbell came up with the crocodile passage from Antony and Cleopatra, Act 2, scene 7, line 43. We’ve had over 200 Crocodile posts since then (100+ mysteries and their answers the following week).

Folger staff have loved every minute of sharing close-up details, out-of-context images, and just plain mysterious items from the collection and from the library apparatus that supports it. Don’t worry, we aren’t going anywhere. Too many mysteries remain to be solved! However, as part of a Collation 2.0 minor revamp that we will introduce over the next few months, we are now calling this series Folger Mysteries.

So, let’s get on with it. What’s going on here? Add your theories below, and stay tuned for next week’s musings!


Cromwell’s cat spilt wine across the original? 😉

Asta — May 23, 2024


The closing is worded differently (excluded “loving”). I can’t read enough to verify if the letters are identical otherwise. Two letters to two different people?
Torn and stained is standard wear and tear regardless of a pet or child.

Jean Reavis — May 28, 2024


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