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Folger Story

“Can we not remedy this situation?”: Professor Benjamin Brawley and the Shakespeare Birthday Lecture of 1938

Some of the sources used in the article “Can we not remedy this situation?” Professor Benjamin Brawley and The Shakespeare Birthday Lecture of 1938 published in the summer 2022 issue of the Folger Magazine come from the Folger’s Institutional Archives, in particular, from two separate folders (“Neilson, William Allan Lecture on Shakespeare’s birthday” and “Stone, Justice Harlan Fiske”) in our early Directors’ Office files.

We recognize that description is not neutral and that these early folder titles obscure the full scope of the items they house, and that they contain racist and sexist content that is sometimes couched in euphemisms, and no mention of their connection to Professor Benjamin Brawley or Howard University. It is imperative that we make these documents available so that the voices of the agents involved may be heard in their own words and in their original context.

View the correspondence