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Decade VIII: 2002-Present

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Decade VIII: 2002-Present


The Folger celebrates its seventieth anniversary with the exhibition A Shared Passion: Henry Clay Folger, Jr., and Emily Jordan Folger as Collectors and the publication of Infinite Variety: Exploring the Folger Shakespeare Library, an illustrated 220-page book on the Folger’s history, building, collection, and public and scholarly programs.


Werner Gundersheimer retires as director of Folger Shakespeare Library on June 30. He is succeeded by Gail Kern Paster, professor of English at The George Washington University and editor of Shakespeare Quarterly.


An anonymous gift of $500,000 to Folger Poetry doubles the value of the O.B. Hardison, Jr., Poetry Prize to $10,000.



The Folger marks the 400th anniversary of the death of Elizabeth I with the exhibition Elizabeth I: Then and Now, traveling panel displays, a production of Elizabeth the Queen starring Michael Learned, Folger Consort performances, Elizabeth-related family programs, and a lecture. The exhibition includes the first use of a self-guided audio tour.


Preparation begins for reconstruction and repair of the underground vault, following erosion of its waterproof membrane. During the eighteen-month project, portions of the collection are moved and reshelved seven times; 28,000 rare volumes are held at Amherst College.


The first four of eight Greg Wyatt sculptures of Shakespeare's plays, half-size replicas of works created for a Stratford project, are installed in the Elizabethan Garden.



World premiere of Melissa Arctic, a play by Craig Wright inspired by The Winter's Tale and set in Minnesota.


Creation of Mellon Foundation Fellowship Endowment, permanently endowing a one-year post-doctoral fellowship at the Folger. A second fellowship endowment is added in 2007.



The Folger commemorates nineteenth-century actor, manager, and impresario David Garrick with an exhibition, lecture, and production of his play The Clandestine Marriage, all in conjunction with the NEH-funded cataloging project Raising the Curtain: David Garrick at the Folger.


Dedication of the Babette Craven Art Vault, housing illustrations, photographs, porcelains, theatrical memorabilia, and small works of art.


Charles, prince of Wales, and his wife Camilla, duchess of Cornwall, visit the Folger, attending a Folger Education workshop with local public school children.


The Folger Library Committee of Amherst trustees becomes the Folger Board of Governors on July 1, marking a significant change in governance.



A new digital photography laboratory and the Werner Gundersheimer Conservation Laboratory mark major improvements in imaging and conservation of the collection.


Folger Theatre joins in the citywide Shakespeare in Washington celebration with an all-Shakespeare schedule for the 2006-07 season.



Folger Shakespeare Library celebrates its 75th anniversary with a Shakespeare in American Life exhibition, catalog, lecture, website, and three one-hour NEH-funded public radio documentaries narrated by Sam Waterston and aired on Public Radio International. The anniversary also inspires an NEH-funded Folger Institute conference on the history of Shakespeare education in America, a new orientation film, and publication of a limited-edition facsimile of the library's 594-page Trevelyon Miscellany.


The award-winning Folger News newsletter relaunches as the Folger Magazine.


First regional mini-institutes build on the success of the NEH-funded Teaching Shakespeare Institute program to offer week-long sessions in other parts of the county.


Folger Consort stages the early English drama The Second Shepherds' Play, complemented by a Folger Institute conference on the topic. The play becomes the subject of the first-ever Folger podcasts.


Folger Shakespeare Library reunites parts of a sixteenth-century grimoire (book of magic spells), combining a manuscript section ending on page 205, already in the Folger collection, with a newly purchased section starting on page 206.


With funding from the Mellon Foundation, the library begins online cataloging of its full manuscript collection, consisting of about 56,000 manuscripts.



Co-directors Aaron Posner and Teller (of Penn and Teller) weave stage magic and horror effects into a joint Two River Theater–Folger Theatre Macbeth.


The Folger and Oxford University jointly receive a grant from the NEH and its British colleague, JISC, to create a major new online holding of digital facsimiles of all 75 Shakespeare quartos—small, one-play editions that include the earliest printings of many of the plays.


Folger staff identify a stolen First Folio (taken from Durham University ten years earlier) after Raymond Scott walks into the library with the book, seeking an appraisal.

Folger establishes its presence in social media: YouTube, Facebook, Flickr, and Twitter.




Folger acquires the largest painting in its collection, James Northcote’s Romeo and Juliet, which measures nine by eleven feet.


Folger Education partners with PBS to create its first online seminar in conjunction with the airing of Sir Ian MacKellan’s King Lear.


The Shakespeare Quartos Archive website launches with digital facsimiles of all 75 Shakespeare quartos—small, one-play editions that include the earliest printings of many of the plays.



Publication of The Two Noble Kinsmen marks the final Shakespeare title of the Folger Editions, acompletely re-edited series that published its first titles in 1992.

The acquisition of the Rosebery collection makes the Folger a major archive for the English Civil War.

The Folger partners with Alabama Public Television to create a fully staffed video production studio at the library.



Folger Theatre’s Hamlet wins the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Resident Production.

The Manifold Greatness exhibition, national traveling panel display, and website, developed with the Bodleian Library at Oxford, marks the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Bible.

The Old Reading Room is renamed the Gail Kern Paster Reading Room.


Michael Witmore, professor of English at the University of Wisconsin and director of the Working Group for Digital Inquiry, succeeds Gail Paster as director of the Folger.

Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall receive Infinite Variety: Exploring the Folger

Greg Wyatt, Hamlet

The Clandestine Marriage

Book of magic: with instructions for invoking spirits (Detail). Manuscript, circa 1580


Related Items

Folger Podcasts

Shakespeare in American Life

David Garrick (1717-1779), A Theatrical Life

The Shakespeare Sculptures by Greg Wyatt

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