Marking its 50th year, the Folger celebrates with a two-day observance of Shakespeare’s birthday that includes the annual open house, a lecture by S. Schoenbaum, and a performance of Ian McKellen’s Acting Shakespeare. At a White House reception, President and Mrs. Ronald Reagan are made members of the Order of the Folger Shakespeare Library and presented with specially designed medals.
Dedication of the Theodora Sedgwick Bond–William Ross Bond Memorial Reading Room; once opened for use, the room adds much-needed space for visiting readers. The project later receives an award from the American Institute of Architects.
Bill’s Buddies, an educational outreach acting troupe, makes its debut.
Two years after its founding, the PEN/Faulkner Foundation makes its home at the Folger. PEN/Faulkner presents the largest peer-juried award for fiction in the United States and jointly sponsors a fiction-reading series with the Folger.
In October, O. B. Hardison resigns as director, effective December 31; Philip Knachel serves as acting director through June 1984.
First annual Founders' Day Dinner benefit, known in later years as the Spring Gala.
Werner Gundersheimer, professor of history and director of the Center for Italian Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, appointed director; takes office in July.
The Folger announces plans for a senior fellowship program to include a dozen full-year positions filled by internationally distinguished scholars and educators.
National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) provides a grant to establish the Folger Institute's Center for the History of British Political Thought.
The Folger Institute hosts an NEH-funded summer seminar, cosponsored by the Newberry Library, on the archival sciences.
NEH funds the first Teaching Shakespeare Institute, a month-long summer program at the Folger for high-school teachers from across the country. The institute continues to be held to the present day.
During the rebinding of two sixteenth-century medical books, conservator Frank Mowery finds the earliest-known example of writing from the British Isles, a manuscript fragment predating AD 800; the fragment is later sold at auction and the proceeds used to establish an acquisitions endowment.
The Folger announces the establishment of two new endowments to support long-term fellows; subsequently, an NEH grant is awarded to support additional long-term fellowships.
Folger Theatre Group is discontinued and reincorporates, with the library's support, as a new not-for-profit organization, The Shakespeare Theatre at the Folger. The Shakespeare Theatre performs at the Folger for the next six years.
Docents complete Shakespeare: A Guide for Young Readers, an annotated bibliography of materials pertaining to Shakespeare and his times that are written or abridged for children.
For the first time since 1932, the Folger's Exhibition Hall is refurbished, adding state-of-the-art exhibition cases, solar-veil window treatments, and other improvements.
The Folger collaborates with the US Department of Education on the Folger Shakespeare Education and Festival Project, bringing the Folger method of teaching Shakespeare to educators nationally through in-service workshops.
Emily Dickinson: Letter to the World, a conference and exhibition, becomes the first Folger exhibition consisting primarily of borrowed materials, including the poet's famous white dress. The focus on the Amherst, Massachusetts, poet reflects the Folger’s continuing association with Amherst College.
Folger Institute's Center for Shakespeare Studies, underwritten by NEH, founded.
Dedication of the Patterson Loft, study carrels on the balcony of the Old Reading Room, a gift of Mrs. Marvin Jefferson Patterson.
Folger Consort presents Hildegard von Bingen’s Ordo Virtutum at the Washington National Cathedral, establishing a tradition of Consort performances in this national landmark.
Elizabethan Garden opens. Located on the east side of the original library building, the garden incorporates herbs and other plants mentioned in Shakespeare’s works or commonly used in his day.
In an ambitious project, the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Folger jointly sponsor a program that takes twenty-five American and fifteen British secondary-school teachers to Stratford-upon-Avon and Washington, DC, to attend workshops on teaching Shakespeare.
Poet Seamus Heaney presents the first annual Folger Poetry Board Reading, reciting or reading works by his favorite authors as well as his own poems.
Queen Elizabeth II becomes the first reigning British monarch to visit the Folger Shakespeare Library.
First annual O. B. Hardison Jr. Poetry Prize awarded to poet Brendan Galvin. Named for the Folger's late director, the Hardison prize recognizes both poetry and teaching excellence.
Actress Lynn Redgrave creates and presents for the Folger an evening of Shakespeare inspired by her love of Shakespeare and her father, Sir Michael Redgrave. She later develops the one-woman show into the full-length play Shakespeare for My Father, a Tony Award nominee.