The Folgers as Collectors: The Influence of Emerson

"Build therefore your own world"

Thus, with a quotation from Ralph Waldo Emerson's "Essay on Nature", Henry C. Folger, Jr., recent graduate of Amherst College, class of 1879, inscribed his copy of Emerson's Essays published in Boston in 1880.

Emerson's writings on the American national character and on Shakespeare as a moral exemplar guided Folger's contemplation of the formation of his own character and intensified his fascination with Shakespeare. Reading and thinking about reading were integral to Folger's self-definition of a larger purpose in life, which eventually manifested itself in the creation of his Shakespeare library.

Folger archives, ©

A Shared Passion features the set of commonplace books in which Folger -- and later after their marriage Mrs. Folger -- recorded their thoughts on their reading.

Other Exhibition Highlights

Rare Books: | The Shakespeare Folios | The Titus Andronicus Quarto |

Paintings and Art Objects: | Fuseli's Macbeth Consulting the Vision of the Armed Head | Thomas Parr's John Philip Kemble as 'Hamlet' | Thomas Nast's Immortal Light |

The Folgers as Collectors: | Dealers and Dealing | Mrs. Folger's Role | Building an Institution |

Visiting the Exhibition | Related Publication


This page updated September 5, 2002