Founders' Room

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Emily Jordan Folger poses in the Founders' Room, wearing Julia Marlowe's Portia costume. 1932. Folger Archives Black Box 8.

The Founders' Room was originally built as an apartment for Henry Clay Folger and Emily Jordan Folger, the intention being to give them a comfortable place to stay when they visited their library. Unfortunately, Mr. Folger died before the library was completed, and the apartment was never used as such.

The room, now used as a gathering space for readers and staff, features stained glass windows by Nicola D'Ascenzo, the same Philadelphia designer who created the Seven Ages of Man glass that is in the Paster Reading Room.

Contemporary photograph of the Founders' Room. LUNA Digital Image 6591 Photo by Julie Ainsworth.

The figures in the Founders' Room stained glass are identified, per a letter from Paul Cret, the architect of the library, from left to right, clockwise around the room:

Cardinal Wolsey (with his chains of office)

Portia (in her lawyer's robes, holding a scroll)

Henry VIII (in a classic Henry pose)

Romeo (holding a lute)

Caesar (in a toga, with the wolf who suckled Romulus and Remus above)

Richard III (bearing his crest)

Hamlet (holding the Yorick's skull)

Cleopatra (adorned with her asp)

Ophelia (holding a plant that is sadly neither rosemary nor rue)

Shylock (holding the contract scroll)

Katherine (from the Taming of the Shrew, preening in the mirror)

A Jester

Temporary Displays

Periodically, the Founder's Room hosts small displays featuring items or facsimiles of items from the Folger collection. To learn more about these displays, visit Founders' Room temporary exhibitions.