About Amherst College

About Amherst College


The Folger Shakespeare Library

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 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 the academic journal Shakespeare Quar­terly, the award-winning Folger Magazine for general audiences and the Folger Shakespeare 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, terra-cotta 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.


Michael Witmore, Ph.D., Director

Abbey Silberman Fagin, Chief Advancement Officer

Ruth Taylor Kidd, M.P.P.M, Chief Financial Officer

Karen Ann Daniels, M.A., Director of Programming and Artistic Director

Eric Johnson, M.A., Director of Digital Access

Kathleen Lynch, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Folger Institute

Peggy O’Brien, Ph.D., Director of Education

Greg Prickman, M.L.S., Eric Weinmann Librarian and Director of Collections

D. Jarrett Arp, J.D., Chair, Board of Governors



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