These editions of Shakespeare were brought to you by the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C. The Folger’s mission is to advance the understanding and appreciation of Shakespeare’s writings, and of the early modern world in which he lived. The images and other media on this site give readers a taste of the Folger’s vast collections, which span the time before Shakespeare’s birth to the present day.
The Folger holds more copies of the earliest printed editions of Shakespeare than any other library in the world. Many of those copies were printed while Shakespeare was still writing plays for the London stage.
General Editors Barbara A. Mowat and Paul Werstine had direct access to these early print editions—and to the many dozens of Shakespeare editions published since Shakespeare’s time—during the two decades that they were editing the Folger Shakespeare Editions. Dr. Mowat and Dr. Werstine also consulted the rich world of Shakespeare scholarship and bibliography in the Folger’s modern holdings, which contain over 260,000 books as well as many other materials. And they called upon the expertise of the Folger staff, which includes librarians, educators, scholars, and theatrical professionals among others.
A Shakespearean Citadel on Capitol Hill
Housed in a landmark building, the Folger and its collections are steps away from the United States Capitol, the Supreme Court, and the Library of Congress. While the Folger can rightly be called Shakespeare’s home in America, it welcomes physical and digital visitors from around the globe. The building’s gorgeous Art Deco façade and Tudor-style interior spaces not only delight the eye but also serve as visual emblems of the Folger’s mission with their blend of literary, theatrical, and historical references.
A massive renovation project, scheduled for completion in 2022, means that the Folger’s public events will move to other locations around Washington. During this time, you can also continue to enjoy all that the Folger has to offer online. When the building reopens, it will boast vibrant new exhibition galleries and greatly improved access for all visitors.
What the Folger Brings to the World
We strive to make the Folger Shakespeare site to be friendly and inviting for a wide variety of people, just like our institution itself. We have also benefited from interacting with our distinguished and curious visitors: since our opening in 1932, the Folger has served as a magnet for scholars, and it now offers a wide array of educational and public programming. Schoolchildren benefit from the programs, training, and materials provided to teachers by Folger Education. Graduate students and scholars from many countries attend the Folger Institute’s seminars and colloquia taught by leading experts in the field.
Folger Theatre presents professional productions of Shakespeare’s plays in our intimate Elizabethan Theatre—a space that also hosts early music performances by the Folger Consort and readings from well-known contemporary poets sponsored by Folger Poetry. Exhibitions present visitors with treasures from the Folger’s vaults.
All told, the Folger connects with millions of visitors around the world every year. We’re very pleased that you’re one of them. Read more about the Folger, our building, and our current events and programs on our main site.