Collection development policy

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Today and for the foreseeable future the Folger Shakespeare Library seeks primary source materials in the following broad areas:

  • English civilization in all its aspects from the Tudor and Stuart periods
  • English drama in the eighteenth century
  • Shakespeare-related material to the present
  • European civilization in the Renaissance and early modern period, especially as it helps illuminate English civilization


The library also acquires secondary source material to facilitate research in these subject areas and research about the primary sources as physical objects.

The policy of the Folger is to "build from strength." The Folger should reinforce those strengths which result from previous acquisitions, filling in gaps and expanding collecting areas only as necessary to complete already existing collections. The research potential of the material under consideration for acquisition will be given primary consideration.

Follow this link to read more about the collecting history of the Folger Shakespeare Library

Collection history and background

See the following articles to explore the scope of the Folger's collection development policy further.

Art collection development
Continental collection development
Early modern English collection development
Manuscript collection development
Shakespeare collection development