Folger Shakespeare Library
The FOLGER SHAKESPEARE LIBRARY in Washington, D.C., was established in 1932 under the governance of The Trustees of Amherst College by the will of Henry Clay Folger, Class of 1879, and his wife, Emily Jordan Folger. The Folgers’ original collection of Shakespeareana remains the largest and most complete in existence today. Subsequent acquisitions have enabled the Library now to claim the largest accumulation of English-language publications from 1475 to 1640 outside of England, as well as other important Continental Renaissance materials. Folger holdings span a broad range of subjects and include books, manuscripts, musical instruments, musical scores, and artifacts from the Renaissance and theater history.
In keeping with its founders’ intentions, the Folger Shakespeare Library is an educational and cultural center, with a mission inspired by its world-class collection “to advance understanding
and appreciation of Shakespeare’s writings and the culture of the early modern world.” The Folger is an internationally recognized research library offering advanced scholarly programs in the humanities; an innovator in the preservation of rare materials; a national leader in how Shakespeare is taught in grades K-12; and an award-winning producer of cultural and arts programs—theater, music, readings, exhibitions, lectures, and family programs. Its commitment to learning extends to the seminars of the Folger Institute, a consortium of more than 40 universities and colleges— including Amherst, for whom the Folger offers special undergraduate research opportunities—and a wide array of publications, including Shakespeare Quarterly, a scholarly journal produced in cooperation with The George Washington University, the award-winning Folger Magazine for general audiences, and the Folger Shakespeare Library editions, the top-selling imprint of Shakespeare’s works in the United States.
Located one block from the U.S. Capitol, next to the Library of Congress, the Folger Shakespeare Library is housed in a landmark building widely considered among the loveliest in the nation’s capital. Inside its elegant art deco marble facade is an Elizabethan interior with vaulted ornamental plaster ceilings, richly paneled walls, terracotta and tile floors, and windows of leaded and stained glass. Its reading room is modeled after a Tudor banquet hall; the Great Hall suggests a Tudor-style gallery, and its theater is designed after the Elizabethan innyard playhouses so popular in Shakespeare’s time. The Folger welcomes more than 200,000 visitors each year, and millions more visit its informative website at www.folger.edu.
FOLGER LIBRARY OFFICERS
Michael Witmore, Ph.D., Director
Daniel DeSimone, M.A., Eric Weinmann Librarian
Kathleen Lynch, Ph.D., Director of the Folger Institute
Janet Alexander Griffin, M.A., Director of Public Programs and Artistic Producer
Melody P. Fetske, C.P.A., Director of Finance and Administration
Eric Johnson, M.A., Director of Digital Access
Essence Newhoff, M.P.A., Director of Development
Peggy O’Brien, Ph.D., Director of Education
Louis R. Cohen, LLB., Chair, Board of Governors