This article describes the functional antiques that are among the furniture and furnishings in the Folger building. These pieces are genuine antiques, but they are primarily decorative and functional, not objects for research and study as part of the Folger's collecting mission.
Many of the antiques in use at the Folger came through wealthy Washingtonian Alice Maury Parmelee (1862-1940), a friend of Mrs. Folger. Some were loaned or given during Mrs. Parmelee's lifetime, many others were left to the Folger in her will. This antique furniture was intended to be decorative and functional rather than to be museum pieces. Some of the "Jacobean" items, for example, are made up from several pieces of Jacobean-era furniture, plus new material, in order to make something attractive and useful. Other items have no connection to Shakespeare or Shakesperae's era at all, and were purely decorative, such as the "Antique bed spread with Bokhara floral embroidery...used as a rail hanging" that hung in the Librarian's Office for many years. See the "Parmelee Furniture" file under "Furniture" in the Curatorial Files for more information.