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Dr. Witmore was appointed the seventh director of the Folger on July 1, 2011. Upon his arrival, he worked with the Board of Governors to draft a Strategic Plan for the institution, adopted in June 2013. He was formerly professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and before that he served as associate professor of English and assistant professor of English at Carnegie Mellon University. The recipient of numerous fellowships, he has held an Andrew Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of California, Los Angeles, a research fellowship and a curatorial residency fellowship at the Folger, and a predoctoral fellowship at the Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte in Berlin. He was awarded (but declined) an ACLS Digital Innovation Fellowship for the academic year 2011-12. Dr. Witmore earned an A.B. in English at Vassar College, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley. Among his more recent projects, he launched the Working Group for Digital Inquiry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and organized the Pittsburgh Consortium for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. His publications include numerous articles, website resources, and book chapters, and he has published five books: Landscapes of the Passing Strange: Reflections from Shakespeare, with Rosamond Purcell (2010), Shakespearean Metaphysics (2009), Pretty Creatures: Children and Fiction in the English Renaissance (2007), Childhood and Children’s Books in Early Modern Europe, 1550-1800 (2006), and Culture of Accidents: Unexpected Knowledge in Early Modern England (2001). In addition, he has given scores of presentations and been invited to serve on numerous academic panels. He currently has several books in progress, including a study of early modern wisdom literature and a book on the nature of digital inquiry in the humanities.
Melody Fetske has been with the Library since 1994, and was promoted from controller to director of administrative services and controller in 1999 and in 2007 to director of finance and administration. She is responsible for human resources, information technology, security, physical plant, business office, institutional grant administration, and budget. Prior to coming to the Folger, she was controller for 12 years at a trade association promoting skiing, as well as controller for an international law firm, and treasurer for a Federal Credit Union. Originally from Charlottesville, Virginia, Ms Fetske earned her BA in 1972 from Mary Washington College and after completing post graduate business credits earned her CPA credentials in 1992. Active in her local community, she was an adjudicator for the Washington Area Community Theatre Awards (2000–2003) and currently serves as treasurer of The Elden Street Players dba NextStop Theatre. She has also served on several town advisory committees appointed by the Herndon Town Council to make recommendations for a Herndon Arts Center. She is a three-term past president of the Herndon Foundation for the Cultural Arts and served as Treasurer on the foundation’s board until 2014. Ms Fetske's professional memberships include the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Virginia Society of CPAs (statewide Technology Committee Chair 1997–1999; Resource Group Leader, 2001–2002).
Before joining the Folger in January 2013, Mr. DeSimone worked as the curator of the Lessing J. Rosenwald Collection in the Rare Book and Special Collections Division at the Library of Congress, where he organized symposia, presentations, publications, and exhibitions including the notable exhibition, A Heavenly Craft: The Woodcut in Early Printed Books. Before his appointment as Rosenwald Curator in 2000, Mr. De Simone operated his own New York-based bookselling business for 22 years. Focusing his business on selling books to rare book libraries, he developed specialties in the history of printing, antiquarian bibliography, book illustration, and 18-century Italian and French books. In 1986–88, he was appointed Managing Director of Antiquariaat Meyer Elte, a 100-year-old book company in The Hague, where he learned the European book trade. In 2006, he was awarded The Krasnoff Grant which funded research on the history of printing in Ferrara, and in 2005 and again in 2008 he received the Library of Congress Special Achievement Award. He has received recognition of his peers in both the United States and Europe and elected a member of the Grolier Club NY, Association Internationale de Bibliophilie, Paris, and Print Council of America. Mr. DeSimone holds an M.A. in American History from the University of Dayton and a B.A. in European History from Clark University.
Mr. Johnson joined the Library in April 2013 as the first Director of Digital Access. He manages the Folger's various digital programs, and oversees the journal Shakespeare Quarterly and Folger Editions series of Shakespeare's complete works. He became known to the Shakespearean community as the creator of Open Source Shakespeare, one of the most widely-used resources in the field. Before coming to the Folger, he developed successful online initiatives for a wide variety of public- and private-sector organizations. He holds an MA in English and a BA in history, and heads the board of advisors for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at George Mason University. He is also a veteran of the US Marine Corps. Mr. Johnson has a distinguished track record of anticipating the digital use and dissemination of literary texts.
Dr. O’Brien was named the Folger’s director of education in May 2013. A former Folger educator, she established the Library’s education philosophy and the bulk of its programs in the 1980s and led the department until 1994, when she left to become director of education programs for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Concurrent with that appointment and in collaboration with Cambridge University Press and Georgetown University, she launched and published Shakespeare Magazine, a print and online magazine for teachers of Shakespeare. In 2000, she became Chief Operating Officer of KIKO: Knowledge In, Knowledge Out, Inc., an internet educational company and, a year later, was named Executive Director of the National Cable and Telecommunications Education Foundation. In 2004, she returned to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting as senior vice president of education programming and services. Most recently, she was the chief of family and public engagement for D.C. public schools and a member of the Chancellor's leadership team. Dr. O'Brien earned an A.B. from Trinity College, an M.A. from Catholic University of America, and a Ph.D. from The American University. She serves on a variety of boards and advisory committees and is frequently called upon to delivery keynote addresses and papers. Among her publications are the Shakespeare Set Free series published by Simon and Schuster. . Her long and distinguished career has brought her numerous awards and honors, including Doctor of Laws honoris causa from Trinity University, Doctor of Humane Letters honoris causa from Georgetown University, the Public Humanities Award from the D.C. Community Humanities Council, and the Folger Shakespeare Library’s 2008 Shakespeare Steward Award. Prior to her first appointment at the Folger, she spent a number of years teaching high school English in the DC Public Schools, and since then has taught undergraduate courses at Georgetown University.
Kathleen Lynch earned her PhD in English literature from the University of Pittsburgh. She joined the Folger Institute as program administrator in 1992 and became its executive director in 1996. In 2013, the Folger Institute became a department at the Folger Shakespeare Library, expanding to encompass residential fellowships and collaborative research projects, as well as scholarly programs. Dr. Lynch’s own research interests can be broadly defined as the formation of knowledge communities, including transatlantic networks, with a focus on the methodologies of association among religious nonconformists. She studies the effects of regulations of religion and the book trade on devotional literature and identities. Her book, Protestant Autobiography in the Seventeenth-Century Anglophone World (Oxford UP, 2012) was awarded the triennial Richard L. Greaves prize by the International John Bunyan Society. Among Dr. Lynch’s many scholarly articles are “Staging New Worlds: Place and Le Theatre de Neptune” in the Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies and “Devotion Bound: A Social History of The Temple,” in Books and Readers in Early Modern England (edited by Jennifer Andersen and Elizabeth Sauer for the University of Pennsylvania Press). Her most recent article, “Whatever happened to Dinah the Black? And other questions about gender, race, and the visibility of Protestant saints,” is forthcoming in Conversions: Gender and Religious Change in Early Modern Europe (edited by Helen Smith and Simon Ditchfield, Manchester UP). Dr. Lynch has been the recipient of several fellowships, presented papers at dozens of conferences and seminars, and organized conference sessions for the Shakespeare Association of America, the Modern Language Association, and the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading, and Publishing, among other scholarly associations. She has overseen the Institute’s consortium of member universities and served as project director for a number of NEH summer institutes at the Folger. She curated the summer 2012 Folger exhibition, Open City: London, 1500–1700.
Ms. Griffin has led the Folger’s public programs since 1982. She has produced 81 plays, including 47 Shakespeare plays, for which Folger Theatre has been recognized with 125 nominations and 20 awards for excellence in acting, direction, design, and production from Washington's Helen Hayes Awards. These include five awards for Outstanding Resident Production, most recently received for The Taming of the Shrew in 2013. She had a role in bringing two of Lynn Redgrave's solo shows—Shakespeare For My Father and Rachel and Juliet—to the stage. After its Folger premiere, Shakespeare For My Father was performed in London and New York, where Redgrave received a Tony. Responsible for the Folger's performing arts and outreach programs, she has overseen the growth of the Folger Consort early music series, including the creation of the Bard recording label and production of Hildegard’s Ordo Virtutum, Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610, Handel’s Messiah, Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, and over 500 chamber music concerts. She has extended the O.B. Hardison Poetry Series, now more than 30 years in existence, and forged a partnership with the PEN/Faulkner Fiction Award and reading series, bringing the country's renowned fiction writers to the DC area.