Folger Shakespeare Library front. Detail

How the Folgers Brought the Bard to Capitol Hill

April 8, 2014
On April 8, 2014, Stephen H. Grant delivered an Overbeck History Lecture on the lives of Henry and Emily Folger, who amassed the world’s greatest collection of Shakespeare treasures, including 82 First Folios, and built a library on Capitol Hill to house them.

Based on his recent book, Collecting Shakespeare, Grant described how the Folgers financed their collecting hobby with the fortune Henry earned as president of Standard Oil of New York and how they secretly acquired prime real estate near the Library of Congress for a facility that would include a reading room, a public exhibition hall and an Elizabethan-style theater. Grant's book on the Folgers was preceded by his article in the June 2012 issue of Washington History, “A Most Interesting and Attractive Problem: Creating Washington’s Folger Shakespeare Library.”

Past Lectures