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The Collection
• Collection Development Policy
Collecting Scope: 16th & 17th centuries

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Collecting Scope by Area: Sixteenth & Seventeenth Centuries

The Folger actively collects printed language material, manuscripts, and graphic art from the period. The library does not actively collect objects and artifacts from the period.


English material


Broadly speaking, the Folger seeks written and pictorial primary source material from the Tudor through the Stuart periods relating to English civilization in all its aspects.

Continental material

The Folger selectively collects Continental primary source material from the Renaissance and early modern period, especially:

  • As it helps illuminate English culture
  • As it illuminates reading and writing habits
    (e.g. writing manuals, writing tables, annotated copies, Continental material with English provenance)
  • Printed books that build on existing core collections such as: Festival Books, Herbals, Reformation, Italian drama, emblem books
    (see Continental Books for more)
  • Prints with detailed and specific subject matter such as current events, daily life, and numerical series
    (see Art, Early modern for more)


Out of scope

  • Colonial history
  • French Revolution
  • Mary Wollstoncraft
  • The novel
  • Post-1714 continental books (unless they relate to Shakespeare or the British stage, or consist of biographical and bibliographical materials that pertain to the strengths of the collection)
  • Post-1714 English works of sermons, trade and commerce, acts of Parliament, and political tracts

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