Folger Institute Values

The Folger Institute strongly believes that knowledge creation is the product of expansive and diverse intellectual communities, and we take seriously our mission to set agendas and standards for research in the humanities. Inclusiveness and diversity are central to the Institute, as we bring researchers together across career stages, disciplinary formations, cultural perspectives, and diversity in all of the ways that it manifests in personal experience, from gender identity and sexual orientation to race, class, and physical ability.

The Folger, like many other research institutions and organizations, fully supports and adheres to these principles as they are legally defined. But the Institute aspires to a higher standard, one of free and open inquiry and respectful debate. We value historical evidence, and we also acknowledge that one may find deliberate elisions and silences in the archive. We are attentive to language, genre, and the means of persuasion. We bear responsibility to articulate the stakes of an argument and create meaningful interpretations. Many of the conversations we join have been centuries in the making; indeed, they likely took shape in the very period at the center of the Folger collection.

We take these objectives and methods to be intrinsic to our mission as the research arm of a humanities research library, and are committed to exemplifying them: attending to topics of inquiry that advance historical understanding in conflicted areas; opening up new subjects of inquiry as relevant to our times and our communities’ interests; critically examining our own collection and other repositories of early modern culture to consider their legacies; and including and cultivating more diverse voices. We use our influence as a hub of many communities, and we pursue funding opportunities and partnerships that will advance these goals.