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Collecting Shakespeare: The Story of Henry and Emily Folger, founders of the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C.

Thursday, September 17, 2015 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Registration is NOT required
Stephen Grant

Collecting Shakespeare: The Story of Henry and Emily Folger, founders of the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C.

Collecting Shakespeare: The Story of Henry and Emily Folger, founders of the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C. is the first book-length account of the American success story about Henry (1857–1930) and Emily (1858–1936) Folger, the reclusive Brooklyn couple who founded the Folger Shakespeare Library near the U. S. Capitol in 1932. The library houses 82 First Folios, 275,000 books, 60,000 manuscripts, artwork, and much more related to Shakespeare and his times. The private research institution welcomes 100,000 visitors a year and provides scholars, researchers, professors, and graduate students from around the world with access to the priceless collections stored in underground vaults.

The Folgers met at a literary salon and were the first in their families to receive college educations. Henry rose to become president of the Standard Oil Company of New York, that later became Mobil Corporation. Emily earned a master’s degree in Shakespearean studies in 1896, when only 250 women in the country attained that level of education. It is a love story of a childless couple during the Gilded Age who were devoted to each other, in love with Shakespeare, and bitten by the collecting bug.

Born in Boston, educated at Noble & Greenough School and Amherst College, and with an EdD from the University of Massachusetts, Stephen Grant served as education officer with USAID in Ivory Coast, Guinea, Egypt, Indonesia, and El Salvador. Son of a Boston book publisher and always loving to write, he published three books on the significance of vintage picture postcards as testimony of a bygone era. Turning to biography, Grant profiled shipmaster and merchant Peter Strickland in Peter Strickland: New London Shipmaster, Boston Merchant, First Consul to Senegal. Now he turns to a dual subject, Henry and Emily Folger, in Collecting Shakespeare.