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Folger Shakespeare Library

From Academic Kids

The Folger Shakespeare Library is an independent research library located on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

It is home to the world's largest collection of the printed works of William Shakespeare, as well as collections of other rare Renaissance books and manuscripts. Also included in the collections are playbills, paintings, drawings, engravings, prints, musical instruments, costumes, and films. The centerpiece of its collection is a group of 79 of the approximately 240 surviving copies of Shakespeare's 1623 First Folio.

History

Standard Oil president, then chairman of the board, Henry Clay Folger was an avid collector of Shakespeareana. Toward the end of World War I, he and his wife began searching for a location for his Shakespeare library, but they could not find a location to their liking until 1928, when Congress passed a resolution allowing use of the land in Washington where the Folger Library now stands.

The cornerstone of the library was laid in 1930, but Folger died soon afterward. The bulk of Folger's fortune was left in trust, with Amherst College as administrator, for the library. The library opened on April 23, 1932 (Shakespeare's birthday).

Other information

In addition to its scholarly mission, the Folger serves as a museum devoted to Shakespeare's life and times, as a center for the literary and performing arts, and as a resource for K-12 humanities educators.

The annual PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction readings are performed in the Folger's Great Hall.

The privately endowed Folger Shakespeare Library continues to be administered by the Trustees of Amherst College.

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