Posts Tagged: Folger Magazine

The smallest Shakespeares in the Folger collection

Henry Altemus’ magnificently miniature copy of “The Children’s Shakespeare” by Edith Nesbit is the Folger’s smallest Shakespeare edition. The title page’s portrait of Shakespeare is only six millimeters long. Like the book’s text, it is not discernible to the naked eye. While close, it’s not the smallest image of Shakespeare in the collection.


Off the Shelf: A Shakespearean Botanical, The Battle of Agincourt, Year of the Fat Knight, and more

Here’s a round-up of Shakespeare-related books, fiction and nonfiction, that are on our must-read list. Ira’s Shakespeare Dream Glenda Armand (author), Floyd Cooper (illustrator) This story of famed African-American actor Ira Aldridge, who believed he could be a great Shakespearean if only he were given the chance, is an inspirational tale for children ages 7… Continue Reading »


The Cotswold Olympicks

  The Ancient Greeks may hold the franchise on Olympic wrestling—but how would they have fared against a 17th-century British shin-kicker? In 1612 in the tiny village of Chipping Campden, Robert Dover opened the first Cotswold Olympicks, ushering in a new sporting tradition that revived the Olympic spirit and laid the foundation for the modern… Continue Reading »


Ask a Librarian: Summertime in Elizabethan England

Q: I know about Queen Elizabeth I’s summer progresses, but how did ordinary people spend their summers in Shakespeare’s time? A: For most Elizabethans, summer presented little opportunity for a vacation from regular work routines. There were still farms to tend, boots to cobble, and chickens to pluck. But all was not drudgery. Hearthside amusements such… Continue Reading »


The Elizabethan Garden: 11 plants Shakespeare would have known well

The text for this blog post is adapted from an article in the Summer 2009 issue of Folger Magazine. Shakespeare, who grew up in a riverside country town and was the grandchild of prosperous farmers, refers with familiarity to an extraordinary number of plants (including many weeds), often using their folkloric names and alluding to their popular uses. What might be… Continue Reading »


How Queen Elizabeth I spent her summer vacation

You thought you had packing woes—imagine trying to cram a whole palace-full of goods into carts for a summer-long jaunt through the English countryside! Yet this is just what Queen Elizabeth I’s staff did almost two dozen times during her 44-year reign, as she and her court took to the highways for her seasonal progresses…. Continue Reading »


Beware the Ides of March

The Soothsayer says, “Beware the Ides of March.” Suddenly a chill falls on Caesar’s festive procession to the forum to celebrate the Lupercalia at the opening of Shakespeare’s play, Julius Caesar. The line is repeated three times—once by Brutus and twice by the Soothsayer—but is brushed aside by Caesar who responds, “He is a dreamer…. Continue Reading »


The Four Humors: Eating in the Renaissance

In The Taming of the Shrew, Petruchio attempts to squelch Katherine’s hot temper by denying her meat, snatching away a roast that he claims was “burnt and dried away,” and thus likely to engender choler. “And better ’twere both of us did fast,” he offers by way of explanation, “since of ourselves, ourselves are choleric.”… Continue Reading »