You are here

Research & Scholars

The rare materials held at the Folger are meant to be actively used; Henry Folger once called the collection “a fine kit of tools for scholars.” Today, the Folger Shakespeare Library continues to make its books, manuscripts, and artworks as accessible as possible within the limits set by their rarity and, in many cases, fragility. Although our Reading Rooms are currently closed due to a major building renovation project, we remain committed to assisting researchers in their work. 

Overview of available reference services

How the building renovation affects researchers

Letter to Folger researchers about the building renovation

Stay up to date on our scholarly resources and collection highlights

Folger Institute

The Folger Institute is a dedicated center for collections-focused research and advanced study in the humanities at the Folger Shakespeare Library. Through its multi-disciplinary, cross-cultural programs and research fellowships, the Institute establishes scholarly communities, fresh research approaches, and new teaching agendas for early modern fields. Explore our current programs, available fellowships, and undergraduate opportunities to see what we have to offer you.


Folger Institute fellowships support individual scholarly and artistic research that enriches and expands our understanding of the early modern world. We value research that grapples with tough historical questions and that engages with what primary sources both say and do not say in order to produce histories encompassing diverse regions, questions, and methods. The Institute also aims to ensure equitable access to research funding by offering multiple fellowship modules and removing barriers to fellowship participation.

Scholarly Programs

Folger Institute scholarly programs gather advanced scholars—from early stage graduate students to faculty—to work together around specific topics relating to the history and literature of early modern Europe and the British Isles. Program formats include weekend seminars and symposia, weeklong skills courses, and yearlong monthly colloquia, among others. Participant funding is available to support travel and lodging.

Mellon Initiative in Collaborative Research

The Mellon Initiative in Collaborative Research is designed to re-invigorate deeply rooted forms of humanistic inquiry. With a $1.5 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Folger Institute sponsors a new model of collaborative research at the Folger. The inaugural project is Before 'Farm to Table': Early Modern Foodways and Cultures.

Research with the Folger

The Folger welcomes researchers from a broad spectrum: high school students to graduate students; visual and performative artists; writers of all stripes; independent researchers; and, of course, educators of all levels. Although our Reading Room is current closed for building renovation, we have many digital resources available to assist our researchers.

Images and Permissions

The Folger's Department of Photography and Digital Imaging provides researchers and the public access to the Library's world-class collection of rare books, manuscripts, and art through high-quality digital images. You can explore and enjoy the Library’s treasures through our online digital image collection and download images free.

Online Resources

Our catalog of vault, open stacks, and electronic materials
Images of our early printed books, manuscripts, and art
A collaboratively edited encyclopedia of all things Folger
A blog featuring scholarship from the Folger