Research with the Folger

Please use our many available reference services while the reading room is closed for our building renovation project.

We welcome researchers from a broad spectrum: high school students to graduate students; visual and performing artists; writers of all stripes; and, of course, educators of all levels.

Devoted to study of the Renaissance and early modern period, the Folger is one of the world’s finest collections of 15th- through 18th-century rare books and manuscripts from Great Britain and Europe and editions of Shakespeare’s plays. Our collection also includes materials related to art, performance, and theatrical history through the 20th-century, 19th-century scholarship of Shakespeare and contemporaries, and Shakespeare-related ephemera.

So pull up a chair (virtual for now!) and see how the Folger can help you with your research.

Connect with the Researcher Services Team

Our Researcher Services team is here to support anyone with an interest in our collections. We can easily be reached from our Ask A Librarian page. Through this form we can answer questions, set up a web conference for individual research consultations, or even schedule a virtual class session! Ask us about: 

  • Primary Source Research
    We can help you find material both at the Folger and elsewhere in the world.
  • Secondary Source Research
    We can identify scholarship related to your work and help you find ways to access those books and articles.
  • General Subject Assistance
    If you're just getting started on a topic, we can point you to places to start your research.

Online Instructional Videos

Need tips and tricks for searching our catalog or guidance for using our online resources? Check out our videos on Research How-Tos.

Being a Folger Researcher

Registered researchers have access to select electronic databases through their online request account. Don't have an account yet? Register with us.