Shakespeare collection development

This article is about Shakespeare collection development. For related articles, see Shakespeare collection (disambiguation). See also: our general Collection development policy, and policies on Early modern English collection development, Continental collection development, Art collection development, and Manuscript collection development.

The Folger Shakespeare Library seeks primary source materials and reference works related to Shakespearean productions, interpretations, editions and criticism to the present, including born-digital material.

  • pre-1709
    • folios and quartos should be seriously considered, see "Early English" for prioritization
  • major from 1709 to the present
    • we collect all current scholarly editions in at least one format
    • we collect duplicates of earlier editions if they have some intrinsic interest such as special provenance, added artwork, etc.
    • facsimile editions, including subscription and access to selected electronic editions
    • subscribe and provide access to selected electronic editions
  • school editions
    • new Oxford and Cambridge School editions: usually purchase one copy of each play; do not purchase copies of every update unless substantial changes made
    • other current school editions: we purchase at least a Hamlet volume as an example
    • historic school editions: we would purchase these only if they have some intrinsic added interest such *as provenance
  • subscribe and provide access to selected electronic editions

(18th century to present)

  • current
    • major translations into German, French, Italian, Spanish; other languages as they become available, mainly through the kindness of the translators (we have translations in over 45 languages including Klingon and Esperanto).
  • historic
    • we collect earlier editions in translation if they have intrinsic interest such as provenance, illustrations, etc. or if they are by major translators

(includes "spinoffs" such as novels, plays, etc.)

  • current
    • purchase these as they become known and as funds allow.
  • historic:
    • purchase 18th- and 19th-century adaptations, spinoffs
Critical works
  • in-depth, 18th through the present, including authorship theories
  • all known current Shakespeare periodicals in hard copy or via online access
  • Cliffs Notes and other study notes for at least Hamlet
Popular and Ephemeral Materials
  • continue to add representative items to our collection of calendars, books of quotations, children's books, comic books, a few toys, etc. dating from the 19th century to the present born-digital ephemera (e.g. websites)
Production information
  • add selectively to our collection (17th century to the present) of British and American promptbooks, playbills, photographs, posters, programs, etc.
  • add selectively to our collection of papers of Shakespearean actors, directors, and theaters
  • add selectively to our collection of Shakespeare Festival ephemera
  • maintain and continue to add to our archives of promptbooks and ephemeral material related to productions in the Folger Theatre
Moving images and recordings
  • add comprehensively to our collection of Shakespeare moving image, including adaptations, in English
  • add selectively to our collection of Shakespeare moving image, including adaptations, in languages other than English
  • collect sound recordings (spoken-word)
  • born-digital material (e.g. YouTube)
  • selective recordings of theatrical performances, including the Folger Theatre
  • Shakespeare in translation
  • add selectively to our collection of musical scores (currently mostly 18th- and 19th-century) and recordings based on Shakespeare

Art collection development

  • add selectively to our Shakespeare-related art holdings:
    • prints, photographs, original works on paper
    • sculpture and decorative art
    • paintings
    • private press and artists' books
  • add selectively to Shakespeare-themed objects

n.b. out of scope: objects from Shakespeare's era


Manuscript collection development

  • continue to add to the areas of strength in our Shakespeare-related manuscript holdings, particularly:
    • collections of notes
    • scrapbooks
    • letters from early Shakespeare editors and societies
    • dramatic and theater-related manuscripts, including historic records of Drury Lane, Covent Garden, and other British theatres
    • Garrick scrapbooks and papers
    • Halliwell-Phillipps scrapbooks
    • Papers of Augustin Daly
    • Papers of William Winter
  • selectively collect modern theatrical, literary, and authorship manuscripts, including unpublished screenplays and scripts and archival collections of living and deceased Shakespearean actors and directors

n.b. we do not collect scholars' papers