The Folger’s collection focuses on 16th- and 17th-century material from the British Isles and Europe, and on Shakespeare from all time periods and around the world. The library acquires books, manuscripts, and prints from ca. 1500 to ca. 1700, with particular emphasis on the late Tudor and early Stuart periods. The scope of the Shakespeare collection is much wider: not only books, manuscripts, and prints, but also paintings, photographs, film, sound recordings, ephemera, and objects relating to the cult of Shakespeare and Shakespearean performance. Below are some examples of items acquired in recent years.
More information about the collection development policy can be found in Folgerpedia. If you would like to make a financial contribution to support the collection, please contact the development department.
Manuscript letter from 1617 by Queen Anne (wife of James I) to George Villiers, future Duke of Buckingham. Acquired in 2012
Printed book from 1676, A Pleasant History of the Life and Death of Will Summers. Acquired in 2006.
17th-century engraving of English Protestant martyrs. Acquired in 2010.
Playbill from 1821 advertising William Macready as Hamlet. Acquired in 2009.
Copy of Richard III altered for performance by Sir Laurence Olivier. Acquired in 2011.
Midsummer Night’s Dream lithograph by Jiří Trnka, 1961. Acquired in 2013.