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A Scholar's Guide
to the Folger
• Finding the Folger

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Finding the Folger

The Geography of DC

Folger Shakespeare Library is located on East Capitol Street between 2nd and 3rd Streets, SE, two blocks east of the Capitol Building, home of the U.S. Congress and the focal point of Pierre L’Enfant’s plan for Washington. Converging on the Capitol are North Capitol Street, South Capitol Street, East Capitol Street, and (where you might expect West Capitol Street to be) the Mall, a green area that stretches from the west steps of the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial. In this way the city is divided into four quadrants. Therefore, it is critical to know whether the address you are looking for on 4th Street, for example, is on the 4th Street of the NE or the SE quadrant.


Examining a map, you will notice that streets that run north and south are numbered, while those that run east and west are named in order with the letters of the alphabet (and in sequence thereafter with alphabetical listings of words of two syllables, then of three syllables, and finally of flowers and trees). Superimposed upon this grid system are avenues that run on the diagonal (and across quadrants) that are named after U.S. states.


  • The Northwest quadrant, the largest of the four, encompasses the Mall, the majority of the museums, the National Zoo, Rock Creek Park, Georgetown, The Shakespeare Theatre, downtown, Dupont Circle, Adams-Morgan, most hotels, and extensive residential areas.
  • The Northeast quadrant is primarily residential but also includes Union Station (an Amtrak and Metro station), the Dirksen and Hart office buildings of the Senate, and the Supreme Court.
  • The Southeast quadrant holds the Folger Shakespeare Library,  the Libraries of Congress, the Cannon and Longworth office buildings of the House of Representatives, the Capitol South Metro station, Eastern Market, and, across the Anacostia River, more residential areas.
  • In the Southwest quadrant, the smallest of the four, are the waterfront area, West Potomac Park, L’Enfant Plaza, and the Arena Stage.

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201 East Capitol Street, SE
Washington, DC 20003
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