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Folger Story

Nancy Klein Maguire

Part of our series spotlighting donors to The Wonder of Will: The Campaign for the Folger Shakespeare Library.

Gift: Safeguarding the collection

Nancy Klein Maguire, Folger scholar, a reader and independent scholar at the Folger since 1983, has made a major gift to support what she cares about most. Her generous gift of appreciated stock – among the most efficient ways to leverage philanthropic support – will help secure the Folger’s priceless collection during renovation. It will also help refurnish the Reading Room so that when it reopens it will be the most comfortable, productive, and fitting workspace for the scholars and incredible Folger staff who guide them in their journeys. She knows first-hand about how the transformative work that occurs in the Reading Room can impact a scholar’s career, as well as students, readers, and enthusiasts who encounter their work.

A lifelong relationship

“The Collections staff (current and former) is like family to me.” With Maguire’s support, her family and countless others will benefit from the Folger’s leadership in championing the Humanities for both scholarly and public engagement.

“I grew up at the Folger,” Maguire says of her nearly five decades of research in Renaissance and Restoration theater, which has included publication of two books, multiple articles, presentation of 20 papers, and participating in dozens of conferences – much of which came to be from a seat in the Folger’s inspired reading rooms.

A legacy

Nancy is not new to caring for treasures. In the mid-1990s, she founded and managed a land trust dedicated to saving North Carolina’s Cape Fear from development. Through her efforts, the cape is a dedicated nature preserve. In 2017, she sponsored the Folger Theatre production of Davenant’s Macbeth and was a founding donor to the Elizabeth Walsh Acquisitions Fund in memory of the beloved head of Reader Services.

Since the 2006 publication of her book An Infinity of Little Hours: Five Young Men and Their Trial of Faith in the Western World’s Most Austere Monastic Order, Maguire’s work has been focused on the spirituality of death, dying, and mourning. Drawing from the 26-month experience she shared with her late husband, David, she continued to draw inspiration in the Folger Reading Room for her book on the topic currently in development. She is eager to return to the hallowed walls of the Folger. Her generosity will make that possible.