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The Folger Institute

Early modern print of a scholar working in a cluttered room

The Folger Institute is a center for advanced research in the early modern humanities at the Folger Shakespeare Library. Founded in 1970, the Institute gathers interdisciplinary communities of scholars for collections-based research. The Institute sets agendas, models best practices, and tests new methods for scholarship. Together with colleagues around the Folger, the Institute seeks to bring public audiences together with scholarly ones as we discover more about the cultures and legacies of the early modern world.

The Folger is reopening Friday, June 21, 2024. The Reading Room is reopening Tuesday, June 25, 2024. Find the latest updates about our building renovation

For the Institute—as for the Folger as a whole—the renovation that has now begun changes the circumstances of our work, but not the nature of it. The Institute supports the curiosity-driven hunches that send scholars to the archives for evidence and to the seminar rooms, the tea room, and even the cloak room for discussion and feedback. Institute offerings facilitate the concentrated work of reading and writing, and provide access to modern scholarship, digital resources, and sociable spaces for trial and redirection and recommitment. We take seriously the questions that interrupt received wisdom, exceed easy answers, and open the scope of our understanding of early modernity with all its resonances in our own conflicted world.  We have dedicated ourselves to this work at the Folger Shakespeare Library for nearly fifty years. We take this mission on the road with us to work with partners now. We will return stronger soon.

Learn more about the Institute’s work

Better than a Pound of Sorrow: Antidotes for Melancholy in Early Modern England
The title of the book followed by a square image of a dancing faun-like figure surrounded by a circle of tiny dancers.
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Better than a Pound of Sorrow: Antidotes for Melancholy in Early Modern England

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Author
Andrés Gattinoni

Fellow Andrés Gattinoni looks at Early Modern collections of music and jokes intended to cure melancholy.

A ‘declineing time’? The final illnesses of Constance and Elizabeth Lucy
A small brown volume with gold lettering being held by a hand mostly out of frame
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A ‘declineing time’? The final illnesses of Constance and Elizabeth Lucy

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Author
Emma Marshall

Folger Fellow Emma Marshall explores the history of the women of the Lucy family.

Beyond a Cure for Plague
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Beyond a Cure for Plague

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Author
Kathleen Miller

Fellow Kathleen Miller explores the Early Modern use of plague cures to treat more than one type of illness