Wandie Lavigne

Wandie Lavigne

Published: 23 Sep 2023

Source: Silman.com

The Folger Shakespeare Library is a treasure trove of literary and historical significance. Located in Washington D.C., it houses the world’s largest collection of materials related to William Shakespeare and his works. But the Folger is not just a library; it is a place where the past comes alive and visitors can immerse themselves in the world of the Elizabethan era.

This renowned institution holds many intriguing secrets and fascinating facts that add to its allure. From rare manuscripts to immersive theatrical productions, the Folger Shakespeare Library offers a truly unique experience for literature enthusiasts and history buffs alike.

In this article, we will uncover 14 intriguing facts about the Folger Shakespeare Library, shedding light on its history, collection, and contributions to the world of Shakespearean studies.

Table of Contents

The Largest Collection of Shakespeare’s Works

The Folger Shakespeare Library houses the world’s largest collection of William Shakespeare’s printed works, with over 82,000 copies of his plays, poems, and sonnets. It is a treasure trove for scholars, researchers, and Shakespeare enthusiasts alike.

A Library with a Theatrical Twist

The Folger Shakespeare Library not only serves as a repository for Shakespearean texts but also boasts its own Elizabethan-style theater. The Folger Theatre presents professional productions of Shakespearean plays and other classic works, adding a touch of drama to the library’s offerings.

A Gift from a Couple of Shakespeare Fanatics

The library was founded by Henry Clay Folger and his wife Emily Jordan Folger, both avid collectors of Shakespearean literature. They amassed an impressive collection over their lifetimes and, upon their deaths, left it all behind to establish the Folger Shakespeare Library.

A Hidden Gem in Washington, D.C.

The Folger Shakespeare Library is located in the heart of Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. It may not be as well-known as other institutions in the city, but it is a must-visit for anyone interested in the works of Shakespeare.

An Architectural Marvel

The library’s building itself is a sight to behold. Designed in the Elizabethan style, it echoes the architecture of Shakespeare’s time and creates a unique and immersive experience for visitors.

Rare and Valuable Artifacts

In addition to books and manuscripts, the Folger Shakespeare Library houses a remarkable collection of artifacts related to Shakespeare and his era. This includes original artwork, maps, photographs, and even theatrical costumes.

Shakespeare’s First Folio

The library is home to an original copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio, a collection of his plays published in This rare and valuable book is considered one of the most important literary works in the English language.

The Ongoing Mystery of Shakespeare’s Identity

The Folger Shakespeare Library is a hub for research and exploration into the life and works of William Shakespeare. Scholars and enthusiasts from around the world come here to delve into the mysteries surrounding Shakespeare’s identity and authorship.

The Reading Room Experience

The Folger Shakespeare Library offers a unique opportunity to sit in its reading room and peruse rare and ancient texts. It provides an intimate and immersive environment for those seeking a deeper connection with Shakespeare’s writings.

A Center for Shakespearean Scholarship

The library is not just a place to admire rare books and artifacts; it is also a hub for scholarly research and collaboration. It hosts conferences, seminars, and lectures, fostering a community of Shakespearean scholars.

An Extensive Digital Collection

In addition to its physical collection, the Folger Shakespeare Library has embraced the digital age. It offers online access to a vast array of digitized materials, allowing people from all corners of the globe to explore Shakespeare’s works.

Shakespearean Staging Workshops

The Folger Shakespeare Library offers workshops and training programs for actors and directors to learn the art of staging Shakespearean plays. It provides a unique opportunity to study and experience the plays as they were meant to be performed.

The Folger Institute

The library houses the Folger Institute, a research center that offers advanced study and academic programs focused on Shakespeare and his era. It attracts scholars and researchers from all over the world, further contributing to the understanding and appreciation of Shakespearean literature.

Preserving Shakespeare’s Legacy

The Folger Shakespeare Library is dedicated to the preservation of Shakespeare’s legacy for future generations. Through its collections, educational programs, and outreach initiatives, it ensures that Shakespeare’s works and influence will continue to be celebrated and studied for years to come.

Visit the Folger Shakespeare Library and immerse yourself in the world of William Shakespeare. Explore the vast collection, attend a theatrical performance, and uncover the mysteries surrounding the Bard of Avon. Experience the magic and timeless beauty of Shakespeare’s works at the Folger Shakespeare Library.


The Folger Shakespeare Library is an iconic institution that has been preserving and celebrating the legacy of William Shakespeare for over 90 years. With its vast collection, stunning architecture, and commitment to education and research, it continues to captivate visitors from around the world. Whether you are a Shakespeare enthusiast, a history buff, or simply interested in immersing yourself in the world of literary treasures, the Folger Shakespeare Library is a must-visit destination. Explore its fascinating exhibits, attend a live performance, or dive into their extensive collection of books and manuscripts. The Folger Shakespeare Library offers a unique experience that combines history, art, and literature, making it a true gem for both locals and tourists alike.


1. What is the significance of the Folger Shakespeare Library?

The Folger Shakespeare Library is a renowned research institution dedicated to preserving rare books, manuscripts, and art related to William Shakespeare. It serves as a valuable resource for scholars, students, and enthusiasts who seek to delve into the works and life of the world’s greatest playwright.

2. Can I visit the Folger Shakespeare Library?

Yes, the Folger Shakespeare Library is open to the public. Visitors can explore the beautiful building, view exhibitions, attend performances, and even access the library’s reading rooms with advance registration.

3. Are there guided tours available?

Absolutely! The Folger Shakespeare Library offers guided tours led by knowledgeable docents who can provide insights into the library’s history, collections, and exhibits. It’s a great way to enhance your visit and gain a deeper understanding of the institution.

4. Can I see original Shakespeare manuscripts at the library?

While the Folger Shakespeare Library holds an extensive collection of Shakespeare-related materials, access to original manuscripts is limited due to their fragility. However, visitors can still view facsimiles and digital copies that offer a glimpse into Shakespeare’s world.

5. Are there educational programs for students and teachers?

Absolutely! The library offers a range of educational programs, workshops, and resources designed for students and educators. These programs provide hands-on learning opportunities and support the teaching of Shakespeare and his works in classrooms.

6. Is there an admission fee to visit the library?

No, admission to the Folger Shakespeare Library is free. However, there may be fees associated with certain performances, special events, or guided tours. It’s always best to check the website or call ahead for specific details.