Furniture and furnishings

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Furniture and furnishings at the Folger Shakespeare Library fall into several categories: artifacts from Shakespeare's time or with Shakespearean associations that are considered part of the collection, antiques acquired for decoration and use, "special furniture and furnishings" designed for the library in 1931, and standard furnishings of the sort that could be found in any office or library supply catalog over the decades.

Collection material

The art in the reading rooms is the most obvious example of collection material that is located outside the usual "vault" location, particularly the forty two paintings and the "Garrick chair" that can be found in the Bond Reading Room. Other collection material on display includes porcelain figurines and other objects in the cases in the Founders' Room, paintings hung elsewhere in the building, and decoration that is literally part of the building, like the Seven Ages of Man window in the Paster Reading Room.


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 items are, in fact, made up from several pieces of Jacobean-era furniture. Other items, such as the replica Renaissance globes in the Paster Reading Room, were not antiques at the time they were acquired, but have natrually aged into "antique furniture" status over the decades.

Special furniture and furnishings

Paul Cret's original design for the Folger included over two hundred Tudor-inspired items desgined specially for the library by Westing, Evans & Egmore, Inc., of Philadelphia. Many of them are still in use, including the tables and chairs in the Paster Reading Room, and the little oak stools and end tables found throughout the building. For the original list, entitled "Special Furniture and Furnishings, Schedule A: of English Design," see the list of Westing, Evans & Egmore furniture and furnishings.

Standard furniture and furnishings

Information to come from "Schedule B" of the original design, and from various pieces of institutional memory.