Finding aids

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Finding aids are hierarchical descriptions of individual collections of manuscripts, archival materials, and other distinct groupings, also known as "archival description." The levels of finding aids include, from largest to smallest: collection, series and sub-series, box, folder, and item levels. Most archival descriptions go only to the box or folder level, but almost all Folger finding go all the way to the item level.

Finding aids complement the bibliographic descriptions found in library catalogs like Hamnet. Starting in the early 2000s, the Folger Shakespeare Library began converting its paper-based finding aids into electronic form, and creating new finding aids directly online. The result is the Folger's Finding Aid Database.

For general guides to finding information about specific topics at the Folger, see Research guides.

Early modern finding aids

Hierarchical descriptions of collections from the Early Modern period at the Folger include:

Contains papers and letters relating to Bacon's career: 11 papers relating to his work as Justice of the Peace, including a paternity case, and 5 papers concerning a case brought forward by a Nicholas Ringolde for money owed; 3 papers as Clerk of Methwold and Deputy Steward of the Duchy of Lancaster; and 26 papers relating to the Norfolk Militia, of which 6 concern an inquiry into the number of forces raised and paid in Norfolk, 1594-1595 and 20 concern the musters in Norfolk, 1603-1620, which had not been held between 1591 and 1611. Also includes 11 personal papers, of which 6 are autograph letters signed to Bacon from various correspondents, 3 are documents relating to his daughter Lady Anne Townshend and the wardship of her son Roger Townshend and 2 relating to land in Hockwold.
Letters and documents concerned with family, business, estate, financial, legal, and governmental affairs of Sir Nathaniel Bacon (1547-1622), Sir Nicholas Bacon (1509-1579), and members of the Townshend family, all of Norfolk. A few items are earlier than 1550 or later than 1640.
Primarily autograph letters signed, dating from 1557-1671, especially of Richard Bagot and of his son Walter. They are letters to them, letters from them (some of them drafts written on blank parts of letters addressed to them) and copies made by them of letters addressed to others, especially of official letters. The letters cover a wide range of topics and amply illustrate the life of a prosperous county family the multifarious duties it members were called upon to perform for the Crown. Also included are documents, dating from 1428-1662, concerning recusants, a form of the oath of supremacy (L.a.1044), a few deeds, specifications for two buildings (L.a.1070) and other papers.
Contains mostly Bennet's official papers and reflect the shifting fortunes of the Parliamentarians and Royalists. Many of the official papers concern or are from both houses of Parliament, and the Council of State. Among the personal papers are several concerning law-suits and other business matters, a few deeds, Hannibal Vyvyan's directions to Colonel Bennet when he was sick in 1649 (155), and letters to and from fellow Anabaptists at Looe, 1656. A few miscellaneous documents seem to have no direct bearing on Colonel Bennet; two report on speeches of Cromwell, [1657-58], (207-208), one more fully than any copy hitherto known.

Shakespeare and performance finding aids

Hierarchical descriptions of collections related to Shakespeare and Performance at the Folger include: