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.
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
Engraving the Courtesan: Sex Work and “The Renaissance” in Victorian Books
When is a Hollar not a Hollar? When his name is being used in 19th century depictions of early modern women. Folger Fellow Alicia Meyer looks at sexualization, economic power, and the manipulation of the past.
Re-Framing the Copy
Folger Fellow Nora Epstein explores the work of the copier Thomas Trevelyon.
Interview and excerpt: Jennie M. Votava, Shakespeare’s Histories On Screen: Adaptation, Race and Intersectionality
An interview with Dr. Jennie M. Votava and an excerpt from her 2023 book, Shakespeare’s Histories On Screen: Adaptation, Race and Intersectionality.