Dean of the Faculty

The Folger Shakespeare Library

The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., was established by the will of Henry Clay Folger, of the Class of 1879. Mr. Folger's original collection, which remains the nucleus of the Library's holdings, emphasized Shakespeare, Shakespeare's contemporaries, and the history of Shakespeare production. Continuing acquisitions of books and manuscripts have increased the size of the collection many times over and broadened the scope of the Library to include every phase of Tudor and Stuart civilizations. At present the Library is second only to the British Museum in its holdings of books printed in England between 1475 and 1640. Its holdings in the period from 1540 to 1715 in materials relating to the Continental Renaissance, and in such specialized areas as Renaissance musicology and drama are also extensive.

In his will, Mr. Folger spoke of an institution "for promoting and diffusing knowledge." The Library has sought continuously since its creation to enlarge its educational function. Its reading room is open to all qualified scholars. Through its photo duplication department and its traveling exhibits it provides services for scholars and school groups outside of the Washington area. The Folger Fellowship program offers senior, short-term, and dissertation year fellowships to both foreign and American scholars. Folger Institute seminars are offered annually in cooperation with the consortium universities of the Washington area. A program of lectures, concerts, and cultural events is held at the Folger theater and open to the general public. A publication program further contributes to the Library's objective of "defusing knowledge" of Shakespeare, of English culture, and of the Renaissance.

Through the generosity of the Friends of the Amherst College Library and the Alpha Delta Phi Fund, two Amherst students each year are offered Folger Fellowships. These Fellowships, available by application to the Folger Grants Committee, cover the costs of a two-week January residence at the Folger to work on an honors or other project of the student's design. Folger Shakespeare Library