Folger Fellowships Program
The archives, collections, libraries, and museums listed on this page have agreed to host funded Folger Research Fellows in 2020-2021. They hold relevant sources that will be accessible and available to fellows; they will provide fellows with space to work on a daily basis; and they will consult, communicate, and provide advice to fellows if needed.
Folger Fellows at host institutions will receive $3,500 for four continuous weeks of work. All applications should be made directly to the Folger via our online portal.
On This Page:
- Jamestown Rediscovery at Historic Jamestowne
- The John Rylands Research Institute at the John Rylands Library, University of Manchester
- Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts at the University of Pennsylvania Libraries
- Shakespeare’s Globe in London
- Wellcome Collection in London
Twenty-five years ago, excavations by the Jamestown Rediscovery Foundation led to the discovery of the original James Fort founded by British colonizers in Jamestown, Virginia, at the start of the seventeenth century.
Searching through the remains of its buildings, wells, cellars, ditches, and trash pits, archeologists rediscovered over three million artifacts, lost or discarded by people living in the area – including British colonizers, indigenous people, and enslaved people of African descent – and these objects are now available for examination and study. These artifacts are housed in the Vault, located in the Yeardley House on Jamestown Island. Most are kept in archival storage in the Vault’s mezzanine; however, objects representing every material type and form are maintained on the main floor in an enormous reference collection.
Exemplifying everyday life for the women, children, and men who occupied James Fort from 1607 until 1624, the reference collection offers a unique and invaluable glimpse into the material cultures of early seventeenth-century people. Some, but by no means all, of the object types include: craftsmen’s and tradesmen’s tools and products; the arms and armor of soldiers; buttons, buckles, and other clothing items; rings, jewelry, toys, and other personal items; coins and tokens; building hardware and furnishings; pottery, pipes, and tools of stone and bone made by indigenous Virginians; and artifacts produced in premodern China, Turkey, continental Europe, and Britain, all of which demonstrate the global trade networks of the era.
The Special Collections at the John Rylands Library span six millennia and several hundred languages, and are written on virtually every medium – from papyrus to pixels. From the earliest surviving fragment of the New Testament, to world-leading archives relating to Protestant Nonconformity, they hold some of the most significant printed books and manuscripts ever produced, alongside unique archive collections, maps and visual materials.The John Rylands Research Institute (JRRI) seeks to open up the University of Manchester’s Special Collections to innovative and multidisciplinary research.
Particular areas of interest within the Collections include: approximately 3,000 medical texts printed prior to 1701, including several significant first editions; around four thousand incunables; a collection of maps and atlases dating from the 15th century to the present day and including what is widely believed to be the oldest printed map in existence (c. 1410); an extraordinary collection of Medieval and Renaissance European literature, including around 6,500 items in the Dante collection (15th – 20th centuries); sixteen incunable editions of Petrarch’s Rime, dating from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries; copies of the entire publishing history of Shakespeare, including all four folios (1623, 1632, 1644 and 1685); around 10,000 items in the printed Bible Collection, dating from the 15th – 20th centuries, and spanning more than 400 different languages and dialects, including first editions of the Bible in virtually every language.
The Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts at the University of Pennsylvania Libraries
The Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts at the University of Pennsylvania Libraries houses more than 300,000 printed books and manuscript codices as well as over 14,000 linear feet of modern manuscripts.
The Kislak Center collections include materials from the ancient world to the present day and are wide in scope. Particular strengths include the Furness Shakespeare Library and associated collections on early modern English culture; the Henry Charles Lea collection of materials relating to the medieval and early modern inquisition and Catholic Church; a superb collection on the history of science; and a cookery collection which includes more than 150 manuscript recipe books.
In addition, the Kislak Center holds a wide assortment of early manuscript material, including nearly 200 English manuscript codices produced before 1800. The Kislak Center also fosters innovative approaches to integrating material and digital research and advocating for open data. For example, the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies (SIMS), located in the Kislak Center, is a dynamic research think tank focusing on pre-modern manuscripts and manuscript culture, and supports an array of manuscript related digital projects, including the Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts (SDBM).
Shakespeare’s Globe is an exceptional resource for scholarly study and discovery, containing archives, rare printed books and special collections. Fellows will be working in the context of a small and supportive Research Department, headed by Dr. Farah Karim-Cooper, in which the architecture and theatre practice act as a laboratory for research and dramaturgy. Staff research interests include theatre history, Shakespeare and performance, early modern cultural history, Shakespeare and Race, gender studies and performance, theatre and the body.
The Globe’s Library holds a growing collection of around 150 rare books relating to Shakespeare and his contemporaries and theatre history. They also have Special Collections that include the libraries of John Gielgud, Sam Wanamaker, Frank Kermode, Dawn Lewcock and others.
They hold three distinct groups of archive material: the Institutional Archive, the Performance Archive and the Collected Archives. The Institutional Archive shows how Sam Wanamaker, the American actor and director, realized his vision to reconstruct the Globe Theatre.
The Performance Archive records all aspects of theatrical practice and events at Shakespeare’s Globe; a particular strength is material relating to the experimental “Original Practices” developed under Mark Rylance’s Artistic Directorship (1995-2005). They also hold archive films of nearly all the productions in both the Globe and Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. They are the only theatre in the UK allowed to record more than one performance of a production, allowing researchers to see the development of a play from its opening night to the final performance.
The Collected Archives are a small number of deposited collections relating to the history of Shakespeare’s Globe; the most significant of these is the Pentagram Archive, consisting of the architectural papers of the reconstruction of the Globe Theatre.
The library holdings at Wellcome Collection offer unrivalled opportunities for investigations of health, humanity, and other subjects in late medieval and early modern Britain and Europe.
The collections include several thousand manuscripts and early printed books (including 620 incunabula), as well as paintings, prints, broadsheets and other materials. Manuscript collections of recipes, from fifteenth-century compendia in Middle English to the seventeenth-century household books of Lady Ann Fanshawe (MS. 7113) and others, are a particular strength. These are complemented by printed books in English and other languages, a number of which contain manuscript recipes, marginalia and other unique features.
Wellcome Collection has outstanding holdings of printed books produced rapidly for broad audiences, most notably plague tracts and multiple different editions of Aristotle’s Masterpiece, the “best-selling” sex manual. Researchers can also access richly illustrated herbals, as well as other visual records such as a recently acquired portrait of Barbara van Beck, a seventeenth-century hirsute woman who became a celebrity. The unique and distinctive holdings at Wellcome Collection are contextualized by extensive collections of secondary publications and facsimiles, as well as digital resources.