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.
Related blog posts
Explore some of the scholarly work being done with, in, and around our collections.
Who Cares about Care?
Fellow Zachary Dorner explores how labor, medical care, and class interacted in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Collection Connections: 'Homegoing' by Yaa Gyasi, Pt. 2
Ivie Orobaton revisits her February 2024 presentation on Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing, the second of a two-part series.
Puzzling Through a Stage Direction in Love’s Labor’s Lost
Fellow Elizabeth Zeman Kolkovich explores what a stage direction about Blackamoors might mean.
Collection Connections: 'Homegoing' by Yaa Gyasi
Ivie Orobaton revisits her February 2024 presentation on Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing, the first of a two-part series.
Our new digital collections site is here!
Announcing the launch of our new digital collections site!