Looking Back: 85 Years Ago

Folger Shakespeare Library

The February 1932 Amherst Graduates’ Quarterly announced the dedication of the Folger Shakespeare Library, to be held on the Bard’s birthday, April 23. Henry Clay Folger, class of 1879, had died unexpectedly in 1930, shortly after he and his wife, Emily, had broken ground on the Washington, D.C., building, which would house their unparalleled collection of Shakespeariana.

As Amherst magazine recounted decades later, the Amherst trustees, picking up The New York Times after Folger’s death, were surprised to read that he’d charged them with managing the collection, thus “giving Amherst, from that day on, an unusual influence over scholarly and popular understanding of the Bard.”

Today, the Folger is the premier research library in the world for the study of Shakespeare and the English Renaissance, and each January it hosts a small group of Amherst students as fellows.