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The Collection

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The Collection

The Folger Shakespeare Library collection has both great depth and a broad range. In round numbers, the Folger houses approximately 260,000 books; 60,000 manuscripts; 250,000 playbills; some 90,000 prints, drawings, photographs, and paintings; and a wealth of other materials, including musical instruments, costumes, and films.


The collection's two great strengths are materials related to the early modern age in the West, from about 1450 to the mid-1700s, and materials related to William Shakespeare and the theater, up to the present day. The Folger's collection of Shakespeare materials, much of it originally acquired by Henry and Emily Folger, is the largest and finest in the world. Since it opened in 1932, the Folger has acquired significant additional holdings that make it a world-class research center on the early modern age. Acquisitions continue for all parts of the collection.


Reference questions regarding the collection should be submitted to Georgianna Ziegler, the Louis B. Thalheimer Head of Reference at the Folger, at reference@folger.edu. The Folger's specialist curators include Goran Proot, the Andrew W. Mellon Curator of Books; Heather Wolfe, Curator of Manuscripts; and Erin Blake, Curator of Art and Special Collections.


To learn more about different parts of the collection, consult the individual topics in the navigation bar at left.

Shakespeare. Plays. 1623. London, 1623

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