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.
"What’s in a name?" That which we call [primitive] by any other word...
Artist Eva Rocha’s multimedia work investigates processes of dehumanization and in this post she looks at early colonial depictions of “Original Peoples”.
Othello: what’s in a name?
Simon Newman examines the use of the name “Othello” given to enslaved people on both sides of the Atlantic.
A 17th Century Letter Collection, Part 2: Travelling Around Early Modern England, 1630-1632
A continued look at the Powell family letters.
Collection Connections: ‘A Tip for the Hangman' by Allison Epstein
We revisit the March 2023 presentation by Abner Aldarondo about the ciphers and censorship related to A Tip for the Hangman by Allison Epstein.
Censorship and the Valladolid Folio
Why was this copy of the Second Folio so heavily redacted? Dumbarton Oaks fellow Abner Aldarondo explores the reasons.