Timeline of the Folger Shakespeare Library
The Folger’s day-to-day calendar is packed with performances, programs, tours, conferences, institutes, publications, and exhibitions. This timeline, updated from a version assembled for the Folger’s 70th anniversary in 2002, offers a longer perspective. Browse through to see how much has changed—or stayed the same—during our 75-plus years as an institution.
The years before 1932
1879 Amherst College senior Henry Clay Folger attends a lecture by Ralph Waldo Emerson on "superlative or mental temperance." Inspired, Folger reads several of Emerson's other works, including an 1864 speech on Shakespeare that shapes Folger's life as a devotee of the Bard and collector of Shakespeareana.
1885 Henry Folger and Emily Jordan marry.
1896 Emily Folger earns a master's degree from Vassar College. Her thesis title is "The True Text of Shakespeare."
1914 Henry Folger is awarded an honorary doctorate by Amherst College in recognition of the Folgers' growing Shakespeare collection.
1919–27 Through an agent, Henry Folger assembles a parcel of land in the 200 block of East Capitol Street, SE, for a library to house the collection acquired by the Folgers over several decades.
1928 Henry Folger retires from his position as chairman of the board, Standard Oil of New York.
1929 Paul Philippe Cret of Philadelphia selected as architect; Cret subsequently recommends New York sculptor John Gregory to create bas-reliefs for the library’s facade.
Construction of the library begins.
1930 Henry Folger dies at age 72 on June 11, 1930.
Henry Folger’s will reported in the New York Times, including his plan for the library. The will designates the trustees of Amherst College as the library's administrators.
1931 After Henry Folger's estate proves much smaller than expected because of the 1929 stock market crash, Emily Folger provides more than $3 million in securities and other gifts; she supplies additional funds a year later.
William A. Slade, formerly of the Library of Congress, becomes librarian and director; shares responsibilities with Joseph Quincy Adams of Cornell University, who becomes the director of research.
First books arrive at the library from warehouse storage.
Decade I: 1932-41
1932 Folger Shakespeare Library dedicated on April 23, the traditional date of Shakespeare’s birthday. President Herbert Hoover attends; Emily Folger presents the key to the building to the Amherst trustees; Joseph Quincy Adams delivers the first annual Shakespeare's Birthday lecture, “Shakespeare and American Culture.”
Emily Folger awarded honorary doctorate by Amherst College.
1933 Reading Room made regularly open to accredited scholars.
1934 The Folger observes the 370th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birthday with a musical program broadcast to a nationwide radio audience.
William Slade returns to the Library of Congress; Joseph Quincy Adams becomes acting director.
1935 Trustees establish two annual fellowships available to “young scholars of unusual promise in the field of Elizabethan research.”
Library initiates first card catalog of its books under the direction of chief bibliographer, E. E. Willoughby.
1936 Emily Folger dies at age 77 on February 21, 1936.
Joseph Quincy Adams is appointed director.
A facsimile of the Folger's unique first quarto of Titus Andronicus (1594) is the library's first scholarly publication. Between 1936 and 1941, a total of six facsimile volumes are published, including copies of The Passionate Pilgrim (1599) and The Ghost of Lucrece (1600).
To foster social and scholarly dialogue, the Folger begins serving afternoon tea to staff and visiting researchers. At first, tea is in the Founders' Room; later, it moves to the separate Tea Room.
1938 The Folger purchases the collection of the late Sir Robert Leicester Harmsworth, comprising more than 8,000 rare books printed in England between 1475 and 1640. Together with later acquisitions of Continental material, the Harmsworth purchase expands the Folger's focus beyond Shakespeare studies to include virtually all aspects of the early modern world.
In the first of several purchases from the manuscript collection at England's Loseley Hall, the Folger acquires the official records of Sir Thomas Cawarden, Master of the Revels for Henry VIII, Edward VI, Lady Jane Grey, Mary I, and the young Elizabeth I.
1939 To celebrate the 500th anniversary of the invention of printing in the West, some of the collection's earliest books are placed on display.
Decade II: 1942-51
1942 In early January, 30,000 rare items sent secretly by train to underground storage at Amherst College to avoid wartime dangers.
1944 Items safely returned from Amherst to the Folger in November by special express train.
1946 Joseph Quincy Adams dies; James McManaway serves as acting director.
1947 Elizabeth Pope becomes the first woman fellow at the Folger, taking as her subject the religious background of Shakespeare's plays.
1948 Louis B. Wright, formerly of the Huntington Library, appointed director.
First conference of the Folger Research Group, a monthly event for scholars interested in Renaissance studies.
1950 First publication of Shakespeare Quarterly by the Shakespeare Association of America. Long-standing ties between the Quarterly and the Folger staff culminate in the periodical's transfer to the Folger in 1972.
Decade III: 1952-61
1954 Trustees of Amherst College pass a resolution emphasizing the Folger's traditional policy "granting permission to any qualified scholar to use the rare materials in its possession."
1958 Publication of Dorothy E. Mason's Music in Elizabethan England, the first of the Folger Booklets on Tudor and Stuart Civilization, a series designed to provide concise information on the social and intellectual history of the Tudor and Stuart periods. The booklet series continues until 1971.
1959 First large-scale renovation of the building begins, adding office space, new underground storage, and a terrace.
1960 University and high-school teachers meet at a Folger conference to discuss new methods of teaching Shakespeare.
General Reader’s Shakespeare paperback editions debut, starting with Richard III, King Lear, As You Like It, and Henry V. Edited by director Louis B. Wright and Virginia LaMar, these accessible annotated editions of the plays and sonnets use materials from the Folger's collection to put Shakespeare's works in context. The series continues through 1969.
Decade IV: 1962-71
1964 The Folger marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's birth with three major exhibitions, several small traveling exhibitions and loans, lectures on Shakespeare's life and work, an Elizabethan dinner, and a reception at the White House hosted by President and Mrs. Lyndon Johnson.
1968 Louis B. Wright retires. Philip A. Knachel, a French Renaissance scholar, becomes acting director.
1969 O. B. Hardison Jr., professor of English at the University of North Carolina, appointed director.
1970 Formation of the Folger Institute, a joint venture of the Folger and a university consortium to promote Renaissance and eighteenth-century studies through seminars and symposia. The consortium begins with two institutions, American and George Washington Universities, soon joined by the University of Maryland. By the institute's fortieth anniversary, the consortium has more than 40 members.
The Folger launches its series of modern poetry readings, starting with poet and Shakespeare scholar Paul Ramsey.
Elizabethan Theatre brought into compliance with District of Columbia fire-safety laws governing public theaters that charge admission. The Folger Theatre Group forms; its first production, Dionysus Wants You!, is a rock-musical adaptation of The Bacchae.
First volunteer docents complete a four-session training course. The docent program, begun as a way to provide tours and lectures for visitors, later expands to include helping with the annual Shakespeare's Birthday Open House and education programs, as well as other projects.
1971 Friends of the Folger formed to encourage individual giving as a supplement to the endowment.
First Folger Institute seminars held. Topics include Renaissance musicology, intellectual history, and the world of Erasmus.
Folger Theatre Group performs its first play by Shakespeare, Twelfth Night.
Decade V: 1972-81
1972 The Folger celebrates its 40th anniversary with two exhibitions on its own history and a conference, "The Widening Circle," on the interplay between religion and politics in sixteenth-century Europe.
Folger Shakespeare Library building enrolled in the National Register of Historic Places.
Publication of Shakespeare Quarterly transferred from the Shakespeare Association of America to the Folger.
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation provides the Folger with a separate, half-million-dollar endowment fund for general operating support.
Folger–British Academy Exchange Program begins, annually sending two American researchers to the United Kingdom and two British researchers to the Folger Shakespeare Library.
Start of the DC Schools Project, a cooperative endeavor between the Folger and the Washington, DC, public school system to develop methods and materials for teaching Shakespeare to inner-city students.
1973 Earliest recorded purchase of one of Shakespeare’s works discovered by curator of manuscripts Laetitia Yeandle in the recently acquired diaries of Richard Stonley, an Elizabethan official; according to one entry, Stonley bought Venus and Adonis in 1593. In a separate literary development, researchers locate the long-lost Restoration comedy The Country Gentleman in the Folger's manuscript collection.
Items added to the Folger's collection during the past year are highlighted at the first of several Acquisitions Benefits.
1974 The Folger hosts an international Petrarch congress. Among the highlights is an academic procession from the Folger to the US Capitol to celebrate the 633rd anniversary of the poet’s coronation as poet laureate on the Capitoline Hill in Rome.
Charlton Heston performs several readings from Shakespeare at the second Acquisitions Benefit.
Library acquires a copy of the rare first edition of Areopagitica; A Speech of Mr. John Milton For the Liberty of Unlicenc’d Printing . . . (1644) .
1975 Lunchtime Midday Muse program begins, accommodating a growing number of poets and musical groups eager to appear at the Folger.
Friends of the Folger form the Collectors Club to encourage members with a special interest in rare books to contribute to the library's collection.
Shakespeare Film Archive established with a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation. The archive later adds materials related more generally to the library's collection.
1976 International Shakespeare Congress hosted by the Folger on the bicentennial theme "Shakespeare in America"; during the conference, Jorge Luis Borges delivers annual Shakespeare's Birthday lecture, "The Riddle of Shakespeare." Bicentennial exhibition, Shakespeare on the American Stage .
First restricted acquisitions endowment fund established by Mrs. H. Dunscombe Colt.
Publication of The Widening Circle: The Story of the Folger Shakespeare Library and Its Collections, an illustrated 76-page guide to the library, its history, its programs, and its collections by Betty Ann Kane.
1977 Folger Consort, the Folger’s resident early modern music ensemble, opens its first season with the program “England: Chapel and Chamber Music, 1400–1600.”
In a major acquisition, the Folger purchases the Stickelberger collection of some 850 early Reformation books and pamphlets.
The Folger assumes responsibility for publication and distribution of books bearing its imprint, Folger Books; previously, most of the library's books were produced and marketed under copublishing arrangements.
1978 Separate conservation fund established.
1979 The Folger hosts its first annual Shakespeare’s Birthday Open House. On the preceding day, National Public Radio broadcasts a live concert by the Folger Consort; on the day of the open house, classical-music radio station WGMS hosts Shakespeare Fair on the Air, a fund-raiser benefiting the Folger Theatre Group and Consort.
Reading Room closes for renovation and expansion. During this period, the Folger arranges the first large-scale traveling exhibition of objects from its collection, Shakespeare: The Globe and the World, with an illustrated catalog of the same name by S. Schoenbaum. The show travels to seven cities in twenty-six months.
1980 Folger Consort releases its first recording, Shakespeare’s Music, on the Delos label.
Emily Jordan Folger Children’s Shakespeare Festival established, starting an annual tradition that continues today. This first three-day festival includes scenes from Shakespeare performed by some 250 fourth, fifth, and sixth graders from eleven area schools.
1981 The Folger starts a new fellowship program for high-school students in which sixteen students participate in small group discussions with eminent scholars and experience the Folger’s atmosphere and resources.
Reading Room reopens. Festivities include an open house and a speech by the archbishop of Canterbury at the April annual meeting of the Friends.
Dedication of the Patterson Conservation Laboratory and the Charles A. Dana Wing, a case-lined room outside the entrance to the vaults where rare and outstanding objects from the collection can be displayed.
The Folger's first Secondary School Shakespeare Festival, an outgrowth of the successful children's festival, takes place at Madeira School in McLean, Virginia.
Decade VI: 1982-91
1982 Marking its 50th year, the Folger celebrates with a two-day observance of Shakespeare’s birthday that includes the annual open house, a lecture by S. Schoenbaum, and a performance of Ian McKellen’s Acting Shakespeare. At a White House reception, President and Mrs. Ronald Reagan are made members of the Order of the Folger Shakespeare Library and presented with specially designed medals.
Dedication of the Theodora Sedgwick Bond–William Ross Bond Memorial Reading Room; once opened for use, the room adds much-needed space for visiting readers. The project later receives an award from the American Institute of Architects.
Bill’s Buddies, an educational outreach acting troupe, makes its debut.
1983 Two years after its founding, the PEN/Faulkner Foundation makes its home at the Folger. PEN/Faulkner presents the largest peer-juried award for fiction in the United States and jointly sponsors a fiction-reading series with the Folger.
In October, O. B. Hardison resigns as director, effective December 31; Philip Knachel serves as acting director through June 1984.
1984 First annual Founders' Day Dinner benefit, known in later years as the Spring Gala.
Werner Gundersheimer, professor of history and director of the Center for Italian Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, appointed director; takes office in July.
The Folger announces plans for a senior fellowship program to include a dozen full-year positions filled by internationally distinguished scholars and educators.
National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) provides a grant to establish the Folger Institute's Center for the History of British Political Thought.
The Folger Institute hosts an NEH-funded summer seminar, cosponsored by the Newberry Library, on the archival sciences.
NEH funds the first Teaching Shakespeare Institute, a month-long summer program at the Folger for high-school teachers from across the country. The institute continues to be held to the present day.
During the rebinding of two sixteenth-century medical books, conservator Frank Mowery finds the earliest-known example of writing from the British Isles, a manuscript fragment predating AD 800; the fragment is later sold at auction and the proceeds used to establish an acquisitions endowment.
1985 The Folger announces the establishment of two new endowments to support long-term fellows; subsequently, an NEH grant is awarded to support additional long-term fellowships.
Folger Theatre Group is discontinued and reincorporates, with the library's support, as a new not-for-profit organization, The Shakespeare Theatre at the Folger. The Shakespeare Theatre performs at the Folger for the next six years.
Docents complete Shakespeare: A Guide for Young Readers, an annotated bibliography of materials pertaining to Shakespeare and his times that are written or abridged for children.
1986 For the first time since 1932, the Folger's Exhibition Hall is refurbished, adding state-of-the-art exhibition cases, solar-veil window treatments, and other improvements.
The Folger collaborates with the US Department of Education on the Folger Shakespeare Education and Festival Project, bringing the Folger method of teaching Shakespeare to educators nationally through in-service workshops.
Emily Dickinson: Letter to the World, a conference and exhibition, becomes the first Folger exhibition consisting primarily of borrowed materials, including the poet's famous white dress. The focus on the Amherst, Massachusetts, poet reflects the Folger’s continuing association with Amherst College.
Folger Institute's Center for Shakespeare Studies, underwritten by NEH, founded.
1987 Dedication of the Patterson Loft, study carrels on the balcony of the Old Reading Room, a gift of Mrs. Marvin Jefferson Patterson.
1988 Folger Consort presents Hildegard von Bingen’s Ordo Virtutum at the Washington National Cathedral, establishing a tradition of Consort performances in this national landmark.
1989 Elizabethan Garden opens. Located on the east side of the original library building, the garden incorporates herbs and other plants mentioned in Shakespeare’s works or commonly used in his day.
1990 In an ambitious project, the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Folger jointly sponsor a program that takes twenty-five American and fifteen British secondary-school teachers to Stratford-upon-Avon and Washington, DC, to attend workshops on teaching Shakespeare.
1991 Poet Seamus Heaney presents the first annual Folger Poetry Board Reading, reciting or reading works by his favorite authors as well as his own poems.
Queen Elizabeth II becomes the first reigning British monarch to visit the Folger Shakespeare Library.
First annual O. B. Hardison Jr. Poetry Prize awarded to poet Brendan Galvin. Named for the Folger's late director, the Hardison prize recognizes both poetry and teaching excellence.
Actress Lynn Redgrave creates and presents for the Folger, Reminiscences of the Redgrave Family on the Shakespearean Stage, an evening of Shakespeare inspired by her love of Shakespeare and her father, Sir Michael Redgrave. She later develops the one-woman show into the full-length play Shakespeare for My Father, a Tony Award nominee.
Decade VII: 1992-2001
1992 The Folger celebrates its diamond jubilee year with a presentation at the White House hosted by President and Mrs. George H. W. Bush.
Launch of The Jubilee Campaign, "To Turn a Page Anew," with a goal of more than $20 million to be raised over three years.
New Folger Library Shakespeare paperback series, edited by Barbara A. Mowat and Paul Werstine in light of contemporary trends in Shakespearean criticism, begins publication with The Taming of the Shrew, Macbeth, Julius Caesar, The Merchant of Venice, Hamlet, and Romeo and Juliet.
New World of Wonders exhibition, underwritten by an NEH grant, commemorates the 500th anniversary of Columbus’s arrival in America.
1993 In the largest philanthropic award to the Folger to date, a multiyear $2.5 million grant from the Lila Wallace–Reader's Digest Fund supports expanded outreach programs; renovation of public facilities, including improved disabled access; and creation of the Shakespeare Gallery, an interactive exhibition area for visitors.
Publication of Shakespeare Set Free: Teaching Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a teaching guide begun at the 1988 and 1989 Teaching Shakespeare Institute summer sessions; two other books in the series follow.
Organized to encourage the study of Shakespeare, the Capitol Hill Shakespeare Partnership joins the Folger with two nearby schools: Stuart Hobson Middle School, of the DC public school system, and Capitol Hill Day School, a private school.
1994 Library begins retrospective conversion of card catalog in preparation for an integrated library system, including an on-line catalog.
Electrical fire in Elizabethan Theatre destroys original sky canopy and causes other damage.
Donation from Mary P. Massey of her collection of more than 300 rare, early herbals.
1995 First direct Folger access to the Internet.
Festive Renaissance exhibition celebrates more than two decades of donations by Mrs. H. Dunscombe Colt of early modern festival books commemorating royal births, pageants, tournaments, funerals, and other occasions.
1996 In-house debut of the library’s on-line catalog, Hamnet, named after Shakespeare's only son, who died in 1596 at the age of eleven.
The Folger launches its first website.
In partnership with donor Dorothy Rouse-Bottom, the Folger acquires a major manuscript collection from the Hulton Papers, including one of the earl of Leicester’s last letters to Elizabeth I, along with a letter by the earl of Essex and twenty letters by Henry Rich, earl of Holland.
Arrival of the first installment of the late Babette Craven's collection of theatrical memorabilia, a major donation of the 1990s that includes paintings, manuscripts, porcelain figures, and other records of theater history.
1997 At a White House gathering, First Lady Hillary Clinton celebrates the Folger's sixty-fifth anniversary.
Funding from NEH and the Mellon Foundation makes possible the most ambitious cataloging project in the history of the library to date, a multiyear effort to create online records for tens of thousands of early English books.
Shakespeare Steps Out, a program to introduce Shakespeare to elementary-school children, begins in four DC public schools.
1998 Among other rarities, the Folger acquires one of seven extant copies of the first edition of Edmund Spenser’s The Shepheardes Calender (1579); the earliest Shakespeare play on film, an 1899 silent movie of King John; and, in a bequest from the late Francis T. P. Plimpton, the 1579 "sieve portrait" of Elizabeth I.
Teaching Shakespeare website launched, sharing ideas and updated lesson plans for teaching Shakespeare.
Taking as its theme "the bistros, booksellers, and Bohemians of Paris," the Spring Gala successfully breaks with Washington, DC, convention by presenting a roving black-tie affair with faux bistros and no formal dinner seating.
1999 Director Werner Gundersheimer announces $7.5 million campaign to support the growth of public programs endowments and the renovation of a building at 301 East Capitol Street to become the new education and public programs center.
Tea Room, Board Room, and kitchen undergo renovation.
Launch of the Seven Ages of Man multimedia interactive exhibition within the Shakespeare Gallery space. The exhibition includes more than 250 images of key objects from the Folger collection; Sir Derek Jacobi records the monologue of the same name, which greets visitors as they activate the display.
2000 Hamnet catalog becomes available to the public through the Folger website.
Wyatt R. and Susan N. Haskell Center for Education and Public Programs opens at 301 East Capitol Street. The same year, the Folger's educational programs win the Washington, DC, Mayor's Art Award.
With partial funding from SOS! (Save Outdoor Sculpture!), restoration work begins on the outdoor marble sculpture of Puck by Brenda Putnam commissioned for the opening of the library in 1932.
The Folger collaborates with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and other institutions to create the Shakespeare Electronic Archive; this effort includes a Hamlet on the Ramparts website complete with film clips from historic productions, facsimile pages, sketches, and paintings.
2001 After four years of work, 50,000 additional records of English books printed between 1475 and 1700 are brought online in a database accessible through the Hamnet catalog. In a separate development, selected digital facsimile pages from several items in the Folger's collection become available online as well.
Folger Consort and the Folger Institute collaborate in the production of John Milton’s masque Comus, an effort resulting in a two-day scholarly conference and multiple performances in the Elizabethan Theatre.
Folger Shakespeare Library remains open on Capitol Hill in the week after the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon.
Decade VIII: 2002-Present
2002 The Folger celebrates its seventieth anniversary with the exhibition A Shared Passion: Henry Clay Folger, Jr., and Emily Jordan Folger as Collectors and the publication of Infinite Variety: Exploring the Folger Shakespeare Library, an illustrated 220-page book on the Folger’s history, building, collection, and public and scholarly programs.
Werner Gundersheimer retires as director of Folger Shakespeare Library on June 30. He is succeeded by Gail Kern Paster, professor of English at The George Washington University and editor of Shakespeare Quarterly.
An anonymous gift of $500,000 to Folger Poetry doubles the value of the O.B. Hardison, Jr., Poetry Prize to $10,000.
2003 The Folger marks the 400th anniversary of the death of Elizabeth I with the exhibition [[Elizabeth I: Then and Now|Elizabeth I: Then and Now, traveling panel displays, a production of Elizabeth the Queen starring Michael Learned, Folger Consort performances, Elizabeth-related family programs, and a lecture. The exhibition includes the first use of a self-guided audio tour.
Preparation begins for reconstruction and repair of the underground vault, following erosion of its waterproof membrane. During the eighteen-month project, portions of the collection are moved and reshelved seven times; 28,000 rare volumes are held at Amherst College.
The first four of eight Greg Wyatt sculptures of Shakespeare's plays, half-size replicas of works created for a Stratford project, are installed in the Elizabethan Garden.
2004 World premiere of Melissa Arctic, a play by Craig Wright inspired by The Winter's Tale and set in Minnesota.
Creation of Mellon Foundation Fellowship Endowment, permanently endowing a one-year post-doctoral fellowship at the Folger. A second fellowship endowment is added in 2007.
2005 The Folger commemorates nineteenth-century actor, manager, and impresario David Garrick with an exhibition, lecture, and production of his play The Clandestine Marriage, all in conjunction with the NEH-funded cataloging project Raising the Curtain: David Garrick at the Folger.
Dedication of the Babette Craven Art Vault, housing illustrations, photographs, porcelains, theatrical memorabilia, and small works of art.
Charles, prince of Wales, and his wife Camilla, duchess of Cornwall, visit the Folger, attending a Folger Education workshop with local public school children.
The Folger Library Committee of Amherst trustees becomes the Folger Board of Governors on July 1, marking a significant change in governance.
2006 A new digital photography laboratory and the Werner Gundersheimer Conservation Laboratory mark major improvements in imaging and conservation of the collection.
Folger Theatre joins in the citywide Shakespeare in Washington celebration with an all-Shakespeare schedule for the 2006-07 season.
2007 Folger Shakespeare Library celebrates its 75th anniversary with a Shakespeare in American Life exhibition, catalog, lecture, website, and three one-hour NEH-funded public radio documentaries narrated by Sam Waterston and aired on Public Radio International. The anniversary also inspires an NEH-funded Folger Institute conference on the history of Shakespeare education in America, a new orientation film, and publication of a limited-edition facsimile of the library's 594-page Trevelyon Miscellany.
The award-winning Folger News newsletter relaunches as the Folger Magazine.
First regional mini-institutes build on the success of the NEH-funded Teaching Shakespeare Institute program to offer week-long sessions in other parts of the county.
Folger Shakespeare Library reunites parts of a sixteenth-century grimoire (book of magic spells), combining a manuscript section ending on page 205, already in the Folger collection, with a newly purchased section starting on page 206.
With funding from the Mellon Foundation, the library begins online cataloging of its full manuscript collection, consisting of about 56,000 manuscripts.
2008 Co-directors Aaron Posner and Teller (of Penn and Teller) weave stage magic and horror effects into a joint Two River Theater–Folger Theatre Macbeth.
The Folger and Oxford University jointly receive a grant from the NEH and its British colleague, JISC, to create a major new online holding of digital facsimiles of all 75 Shakespeare quartos—small, one-play editions that include the earliest printings of many of the plays.
Folger staff identify a stolen First Folio (taken from Durham University ten years earlier) after Raymond Scott walks into the library with the book, seeking an appraisal.
Folger establishes its presence in social media: YouTube, Facebook, Flickr, and Twitter.
2009 Folger acquires the largest painting in its collection, James Northcote’s Romeo and Juliet, which measures nine by eleven feet.
Folger Education partners with PBS to create its first online seminar in conjunction with the airing of Sir Ian MacKellan’s King Lear.
The Shakespeare Quartos Archive website launches with digital facsimiles of all 75 Shakespeare quartos—small, one-play editions that include the earliest printings of many of the plays.
2010 Publication of The Two Noble Kinsmen marks the final Shakespeare title of the Folger Editions, a completely re-edited series that published its first titles in 1992.
The acquisition of the Rosebery collection makes the Folger a major archive for the English Civil War.
The Folger partners with Alabama Public Television to create a fully staffed video production studio at the library.
2011 Folger Theatre’s Hamlet wins the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Resident Production.
Manifold Greatness: The Creation and Afterlife of the King James Bible, part of the Exhibitions at the Folger, national traveling panel display, and website, developed with the Bodleian Library at Oxford, marks the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Bible.
The Old Reading Room is renamed the Gail Kern Paster Reading Room.
Michael Witmore, professor of English at the University of Wisconsin and director of the Working Group for Digital Inquiry, succeeds Gail Paster as director of the Folger.