June 16–September 23, 2018
Exhibition Highlights and Discoveries
- Books with boards that are detached reveal normally hidden elements, from sewing supports to medieval manuscripts re-used as spine linings
- A bound manuscript by an early 18th-century Quaker student is a work in progress, undergoing stabilization and repair in a project funded by Folger donors
- Findings from the DNA analysis of wood, parchment, bookworm waste, and dust may tell us more about economics and other aspects of book production and ownership
- A Shakespeare First Folio is accompanied by a copy of detailed notes from bookbinder Roger Payne, who rebound the volume in the late 1700s
- An infrared image shows an inscription concealed by a pastedown in a 17th-century book—and an ultraviolet image lets us read very faded writing in another
- A fascinating selection of bindings ranges from cheap, plain, and serviceable to those fit for a king or queen, including tooled goatskin and embroidery on religious themes
ABOUT THE CURATOR
Renate Mesmer is the J. Franklin Mowery Head of Conservation at the Folger Shakespeare Library. She is a book and paper conservator with more than 20 years of experience in the field. She formally trained as a master bookbinder in Germany and has pursued further conservation training at renowned institutions throughout Europe and the United States. She has held previous positions conserving and restoring books and manuscripts at the University Library in Mannheim, Germany; the Speyer State Archives in Germany; and the centro del bel libro in Ascona, Switzerland.
Folger website and social media
The exhibition is featured on the Folger's website at www.folger.edu/geniusofthebook, as well as on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at the hashtag #GeniusoftheBook.
Folger Shakespeare Library is located at 201 East Capitol Street, Washington, DC 20003, one block east of the US Capitol.
Hours and Admission
Monday through Saturday, 10am–5pm
Admission is free.
Monday–Saturday at 11am, 1pm, and 3pm; Sunday at 12pm and 3pm
Folger docents offer guided tours of the exhibition, as well as the Folger’s national landmark building, free of charge. No advance reservations required.
Docent-led tours of the exhibition, as well as the Folger's national landmark building, are offered for groups of 10 or more. To arrange, please call (202) 675–0395.
ABOUT THE FOLGER
Folger Shakespeare Library is the world’s largest Shakespeare collection, the ultimate resource for exploring Shakespeare and his world. The Folger welcomes millions of visitors online and in person. We provide unparalleled access to a huge array of resources, from original sources to modern interpretations. With the Folger, you can experience the power of performance, the wonder of exhibitions, and the excitement of pathbreaking research. We offer the opportunity to see and even work with early modern sources, driving discovery and transforming education for students of all ages. Join us online, on the road, or in Washington, DC.