||201 E. Capitol Street SE
Washington, DC 20003-1094
|| (202) 675-0311
||Gail Kern Paster, Director
Richard Kuhta, Librarian
|Internet Catalog Address:
|Hours of Service:
||8:45 a.m.--4:45 p.m.
||9:00a.m.--Noon, 1:00 p.m.--4:30 p.m.
|Open to the public:
Access to the Library is limited to readers with appropriate research
experience and training. Those with a Ph.D. or equivalent degree
or graduate students writing a Ph.D. thesis may apply for a reader's
card by writing a letter of application and sending two letters
of reference to Richard Kuhta, Librarian. Other persons who feel
they have a particular need to use the collections may apply for
special permission status, also to Mr. Kuhta.
Questions about registration and housing should be addressed
to the Registrar at 202-675-0306 or email [email protected];
questions about the collection may be directed to [email protected];
information about fellowships may be obtained from Carol Brobeck
in the Folger Institute at (202) 675-0348; Fax (202) 544-4623.
Photocopying of post-1801 imprints only. Requests by other libraries
for rare materials from the Folger are filled by microfilm facsimiles.
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- Reference Policy:
- Telephone and mail inquiries are accepted from scholars, bibliographers,
teachers, students, and the general public.
- Borrowing Privileges:
- Not a lending institution.
- RLIN, RLG, FAHN (Five-library group: Folger, Morgan, American
Antiquarian, Newberry, Huntington). Holdings are listed in RLIN's
English Short-Title Catalog (ESTC). RLIN searches can be done
- Background Note:
- Founded in 1932. The initial collection and building were the
gift of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Clay Folger. The endowment for the
institution is administered by Amherst College.
- Books and monographs:
- The entire collection equals approximately 256,000 volumes,
160,000 of these in the rare book collection. There are 35,000
rare books published on the continent; 450 incunabula; and 2,000
works from the Reformation period, including many works by both
Luther and Calvin. The Folger houses one of the largest collections
in the world of early English books with over 50,000 volumes from
1475 to 1700, the largest collection of early English imprints
outside of Britain, and 30,000 volumes from the 18th century.
The collection includes more than 55% of the known titles published
before 1640. Much of the Folger's collection, simply because of
the time period in which it was written, relates to religion.
The collection is strong in works concerning the Reformation
and the Counter Reformation. Jansenism, a 17th-century movement
in the Catholic Church in Holland and France, is well represented
as is the Catholic Church, Church of England, Church of Scotland,
Bible, Christianity, Jesuits, Judaism, prayer, sermons, religious
music, and witchcraft. Individual items such as Provinciale
Seu Constitutiones Angliae cum Summariis (a 1501 folio
edition of the canon law used most often in the 15th century
in England), An apology of the Church of England
by John Jewel, Bishop of Salisbury (1564), the 17th-century
moral and theological essays of Daniel Turvill, and collections
of books on such topics as the ecumenical Council of Trent (1545-1563)
are highlights in a comprehensive collection of works relating
to religion. Religious music is well represented by such rare
works as William Byrd's Mass for Three Voices (c.
1588) and his Psalms, Sonnets, Songs (1590), as
well as John Amner's Sacred Hymnnes (1619), and
a number of early English Psalters.
Of special interest is the Emanuel Stickelberger Reformation
Collection of 850 volumes which includes 180 works by Luther
as well as treatises by Zwingli, Calvin, Oekolampad, Hutten,
Gengenbach, and Niklaus Manuel. Works by supporters of the German
Reformation include items by Melanchthon, Heinrich von Kettenbach,
Linck, Rhegius, and others. In addition there are another 300
Luther items in the Sir Thomas Phillipps' Collection.
Current works to support research in religion are also available
including the Patrologiae Latinae, the Corpus
Christianorum, Series Latina, Publications of the Catholic Record
Society, and the Bibliothèque de la Campagnie de
Jésus (an 11 volume catalog). Catalogs are available
for books by author, title, subject, chronology, place of imprint,
and former owner. An OPAC (Endeavor) is be available in-house
only. It will be available online in 1998.
- Periodicals and newspapers:
- The collection holds 12 subscriptions, with holdings from the
20th century. Holdings include: Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte,
Bulletin de la Société de l'Histoire du Protestantisme Française,
Bunyan Studies, Church History, Erasmus of Rotterdam Society Yearbook,
Proceedings of the Huguenot Society of London, Transactions of
the Jewish Historical Society of England, The Journal of Ecclesiastical
History, Luther Jahrbuch, and Recusant History.
These holdings are covered by the catalog.
- Archives, manuscripts, correspondence, and oral histories:
- This collection is primarily from the 16th and 17th centuries.
Subject emphasis is both British and continental. The collection
is particularly strong in commonplace books, devotional literature,
and meditations. Highlights include the commonplace book of Lady
Anne Southwell (1573-1636), four calligraphic books of Esther
Inglis (1571-1624) with French devotional literature, and some
manuscripts of John Donne. There is also an original manuscript
of King James I's Dæmonologie, c.1592.
A manuscript catalog is available.
Heather Wolfe is the Curator of Manuscripts.
- The microfilm sets for Short-Title Catalogue of Books
Printed in England, Scotland, and Ireland, and of English
Books Printed Abroad, 1475-1640 (STC) and the second edition
of this work (1641-1700; commonly referred to as "WING"), include
much religious material. In addition the Folger has Church Court
Records of Ely (1374-1640) with printed guide; Lambeth Palace
Library, unpublished records of the established Church of England
(1540-1720), and Henry VIII divorce papers; Bodleian Library,
Tanner Collection of church, state, and politics in 16th and 17th
century England. Some sets have pamphlet finding aids; others
have indexes on the reels. There is a book index for WING.
- The collection holds an undetermined number of religion-related
maps, most of which are in early books such as geographies and
Bibles, both English and continental. The collection spans the
15th through the 17th centuries.
- Videos and Sound Recordings:
- The collection includes "Mystery of Elche", a mystery play of
the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, Spain (VHS, 1978) and "Visitatio
Sepulchri" Fleury Musical Drama, filmed in period costume on the
location of the play's presumed origin (16mm).
- Vertical files:
- The Folger Library contains a number of modern pamphlets on
almost every subject it collects. There are also early English
and continental religious pamphlets (16th-18th centuries). The
modern pamphlets may be found in the computer catalog, the older
pamphlets in the card catalog, or sometimes both catalogs.
Bible; Calvin, John, 1509-1564; Catholic Church; Church of England;
Church of Scotland; Counter Reformation; Jansenism; Jesuits, Judaism;
Luther, Martin, 1483-1546; Prayer; Reformation; Sacred music; Sermons;
Catalog of Manuscripts of the Folger Shakespeare Library.
3 v. Washington, DC/Boston, MA: G.K. Hall, 1971.
Folger Shakespeare Library. Catalog of Manuscripts of the
Folger Shakespeare Library. Boston, MA: G.K. Hall, 1988.
Folger Shakespeare Library. Catalog of Printed Books of
the Folger Shakespeare Library. 28 v. Washington, DC: G.K.
Folger Shakespeare Library. Folger Shakespeare Memorial
Library. Amherst, MA: Published for the Trustees of Amherst
McWilliams, Elizabeth Lingrell. " Music Manuscripts to 1800 at
the Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC: A Description and
Thematic Catalogue." Master's thesis, University of Maryland, 1974.
Merion, Carolyn. Guide to the Existing Microfilms of English
Manuscripts at the Library of Congress and the Folger Shakespeare
Library and Recommendations for Future Microfilming: a List of the
Copies of English Manuscripts Which Have Already Been Made and of
Others Which May Be Made, with Particulars about the Original Sources
of English History in the 16th and 17th Centuries. Washington,
DC: Folger Shakespeare Library, 1982.
Reformation: Katalog der Sammlung Emanuel Stickelberger
fur die Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC = Reformation:
Catalogue of the Emanuel Stickelberger Collection Purchased for
the Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC. Basel, Schweiz:
Haus der Bucher, 1977.
Southwell, Lady Anne. Southwell-Sibthorpe Commonplace Book:
Foger MS V.b. 198. Birmingham, NY: Medieval & Renaissance
Texts & Studies, 1997
Tuvill, Daniel. Essays Politic and Moral, and Essays Moral
and Theological. Charlottesville, VA: Published for the
Folger Shakespeare Library by the University Press of Virginia,
Wright, Louis B. The Folger Library: Two Decades of Growth:
An Informal Account. Charlottesville, VA: University Press
of Virginia for the Folger Shakespeare Library, 1968.