The Folger’s collection is vast and varied, including printed books; manuscripts; prints, drawings, photographs, paintings, and other works of art; and a wealth of performance history, from playbills to films, recordings, and stage costumes.
In addition to the rare material collection, the Folger holds a collection of over 100,000 monographs, periodicals, and electronic resources published between the 1830s and the present, related to the understanding and interpretation of Shakespeare, his works and impact, and to the early modern world.
History of the Collection
Henry Clay Folger and his wife, Emily Jordan Folger, began amassing the collection of rare books that would become the Folger Shakespeare Library in 1889. They spent decades gathering the world’s largest Shakespeare collection, as well as associated works from Shakespeare’s time. The Library itself opened in 1932, and continues to expand its holdings today.
Explore some of the scholarly work being done with, in, and around our collections.
Acquiring the Vincent First Folio: A Bibliophilic Drama in Two Parts (Part 2)
Part 2 of the thrilling story about how Henry Folger acquired the Vincent-Sibthrop copy of the First Folio.
Prelude to the bear: Antigonus's agonizing decision in "The Winter's Tale"
Philip Goldfarb Styrt argues that Antigonus and the famous bear scene are frequently misunderstood.
Acquiring the Vincent First Folio: A Bibliophilic Drama in Two Parts (Part 1)
Did you ever wonder how Henry Folger acquired the copy of the First Folio that he considered “the most precious book in the world”? Wonder no more. Join Folger Archivist Sara Schliep on a two-part saga spanning over a decade and an ocean, both literal and figurative. Here is part 1 of the tale.
Slippery thoughts in "The Winter's Tale"
“Leontes puts a new spin on an idea familiar to those living in Shakespeare’s time: that one could fish for people,” writes Douglas Clark.
The Americas Gaze upon Europe, 1492-1800
Fellow Lauren Beck lays out her plans to use travel narratives to explore non-European perceptions of Spain in the early modern period.