Stephen H. Grant

Collecting Shakespeare

The Story of Henry and Emily Folger

Johns Hopkins University Press 2014

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Henry and Emily Folger were linked together not just by their love for one another, but their shared passion for the works of William...

Henry and Emily Folger were linked together not just by their love for one another, but their shared passion for the works of William Shakespeare. In Collecting Shakespeare: The Story of Henry and Emily Folger (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014), Stephen H. Grant describes how the two of them devoted their lives to acquiring Shakespeare’s works and related artifacts and how that collection became the cornerstone of one of the great cultural institutions in the world today. Though his interest in Shakespeare developed during his time at Amherst College, Henry Folger chose a career in business and began working for Standard Oil while in law school. It was through his membership in a literary circle that he met Emily, a Vassar graduate who taught in Brooklyn. As husband and wife they spent their time combing through catalogues, traveling, and engaging in constant correspondence with booksellers and others in search of First Folios and other rare works of early modern English literature. While they were reticent about their collection during their lifetime, the two sought to memorialize their success with what became the Folger Shakespeare Library, a research institution funded by the fortune Henry built up over half a century and guided to realization after his death by Emily.

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