Nadia Sophie Seiler Rare Materials Residency

It’s satisfying to put the pieces of a puzzle together when we can, but it’s just as exciting to think of the undiscovered treasures that might be hiding in this collection. — Nadia Sophie Seiler

Nadia Seiler's passion for rare materials and for cataloging inspired all of us at the Folger Shakespeare Library. The Nadia Sophie Seiler Rare Materials Cataloging Residency ("Seiler Residency" for short) is a nine-month term-limited position for new library professionals made possible by the Nadia Sophie Seiler Memorial Fund and hosted at the Folger. We who worked closely with Nadia are pleased and honored to be able to help ensure that our beloved colleague's memory lives on. Seeing the spark of enthusiasm for rare materials ignite the mind of a new librarian is seeing Nadia's spirit in the next generation.

Position description

The Seiler Resident will work hands-on with rare materials in the collection, while being actively trained and mentored by Folger librarians. The focus will be on rare materials cataloging, but the Seiler Resident will also have the opportunity to work directly with acquisitions staff, curators, and other professionals in order to gain a thorough and practical understanding of rare materials librarianship. Specific activities will be tailored to match the Seiler Resident's individual interests and needs, with the understanding that these may change over the nine months as he or she develops professionally. We hope that this person will be inspired to learn new things, discover true passions, and make meaningful contributions to scholars and as-yet-unknown audiences, within a rich and supportive environment.

The Seiler Resident will be an integral part of the Folger staff, participating in departmental meetings, attending talks, and contributing to the collegial environment on a professional level in order to gain genuine career-oriented experience.

Application procedure

Applicants are required to submit a cover letter and CV, and must have received a master's degree within the 18 months prior to application from a program accredited by the American Library Association. The application deadline for 2016/17 was June 30, 2016.

Key personnel

  • Erin Blake, Head of Collection Information Services, will direct the residency, ensuring the Seiler Resident's development of and advancement toward focused career goals. In her sixteen years in various departments at the Folger, Erin has gained a thorough understanding of the wide range of activities and opportunities within the library and the world of rare materials. The Seiler resident will, like other Folger catalogers, report to Erin.
  • Deborah J. Leslie, Senior Cataloger, will be the Seiler Resident's primary mentor in rare materials cataloging. Deborah is a sought-after teacher of Rare Book Cataloging with seventeen years of in-depth experience with the Folger collection and a large network of professional contacts.
  • Heather Wolfe, Curator of Manuscripts, and Caroline Duroselle-Melish, Curator of Early Modern Books and Prints, will ensure that the Seiler Resident has exposure to manuscripts and works of art in addition to the printed books that will be the cataloging focus for 2016-17.

Potential projects for 2016/17

Folio Fragments

The 82 First Folios in the Folger collection have been thoroughly studied and cataloged, as have the 58 Second Folios, 23 Third Folios, and 38 Fourth Folios. However, the library also holds a large collection of individual plays and portions of plays extracted from an unknown number of Folios in the distant past. Known as the "Folio Fragments," these leaves remain uncataloged and largely unidentified.

Rosebery Tracts

In 2010, the Folger acquired a collection of 184 political broadsides published during the reign of Charles I. Known formally as the Rosebery Collection of English Civil War Broadsides—thanks to having once been owned by Archibald, 5th Earl of Rosebery and Midlothian (1847–1929)—these 17th-century printed documents require detailed examination, subject and genre analysis, and comparison with other known copies, when they exist, in order to be fully cataloged. We anticipate that there are as-yet unidentified new settings of type and other important variants among the collection.

Uncataloged Wings project

The Folger holds a large collection of books published in English, or in Britain and its dependencies, between 1641 and 1700. These publications are known as "Wings" because Donald Wing compiled the standard reference work on them, the Short title catalogue of books printed in England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and British America, and of English books printed in other countries, 1641-1700. Approximately 20% of the Folger's Wings are not yet fully cataloged in Hamnet, the Folger's online catalog.

Update: This project was selected for the 2016-2017 Seiler Residency

Potential future projects

Additional projects will be developed as vacancies in the cataloging and curatorial departments are filled, and as commitments to current grant-funded projects such as EMMO (Early Modern Manuscripts Online) are completed. Potential areas for rare materials cataloging focus include:

  • The Thomas C. McCall Shakespeare Collection (19th and 20th-century prints and objets d’art)
  • The Lynn Redgrave papers and archive (primarily 20th century manuscript material)
  • Extra-illustrated books (17th- through 19th-century prints and manuscripts)
  • Playbills (18th- and 19th-century ephemera)


  • May and June 2016: Solicit applications through library schools and their alumni networks, discussion lists, and social media, and in person at the RBMS Conference and the ALA Conference.
  • July 2016: Review proposals and select candidate.
  • September 2016: Resident joins the Folger staff for nine months
  • January 2017: Resident meets with representatives of the Nadia Sophie Seiler Memorial Fund
  • March 2017: Based on the Resident's experience, and in consultation with the Resident and representatives of the Fund, prepare materials for the 2017/2018 Nadia Sophie Seiler Rare Materials Cataloging Residency
  • May 2017: Residency culminates with a public talk on a topic relevant to the substantive experience gained during the residency