The large modern books collection provides journals, reference works, and critical and historical literature that elucidates the Folger's rare book, manuscript, and art holdings. Highlights include multinational critical works on Shakespeare, his contemporaries, and early modern Europe; English county histories; Calendars of English State Papers, both domestic and foreign; and publications of the Catholic Record Society, the Early English Text Society, the Hakluyt Society, the Harleian Society, and the Historical Manuscripts Commission, among others.
Frequently consulted reference works include dictionaries, encyclopedias, and peerages, as well as modern editions of Shakespeare, among them the New Folger Library Shakespeare editions and the latest Oxford, Cambridge, and Arden editions. The Folger also holds a large number of facsimile editions of early books.
Other modern books are themselves primary or rare works rather than reference materials, including such examples as the printed score for Benjamin Britten's opera Gloriana and the writings of Delia Bacon.