Collection size

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This article establishes rough estimates of the size of the Folger Shakespeare Library's entire collection.

Estimates of how many items reside in the Folger collection vary widely, and generally do not say where the numbers came from. This article attempts to collate all information to date and will be subject to updates. Our own estimate was prompted by a document that said the library has exactly "60,093 manuscripts" — someone took the "60,000" rough estimate and added the exact count of the previous year's acquisitions to it.

Problem: reports depend on the 007 line in the Voyager catalog record (physical description), and that is currently only being used for certain materials. Note that even if you do use Voyager's 007 reports to count unsuppressed holdings, you still have to exclude "electronic resource" as a location in order to remove holdings for LUNA links (also exclude microfilms by location).

Estimates of November 13, 2013:
  • Books: approx. 260,000 titles (vault and open stacks)
  • Manuscripts: approx. 60,000
  • Graphic materials: 90,000 (prints, drawings, photographs, paintings)
  • 23,067 holdings records in Hamnet (many of which represent multiple call numbers in one holding)
  • "approx. 66,809 items" in backlog estimate
  • approx. 200 paintings (Pressly catalog has 202 entries: some are miniatures not paintings; only a handful of paintings have been acquired since the Pressly catalog was made)
  • Playbills: approx. 250,000 (based on collections of playbills purchased by the Folgers; random sample from playbill card file supports this high a number)