Will and Jane go to war

During World War I, the works of Shakespeare and Austen reached American troops on active duty through the American Library Association’s “War Service Library” program.  Between 1917 and 1920, the program collected donations of used books to help them distribute reading materials to the military, ultimately amounting to over 100 million books and magazines to… Continue Reading »


Will and Jane continued: adaptations, modernizations, and fan fiction

Although the Bard may have a longer history of such flattery, both Will and Jane have suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous adaptations. In the 20th century, Austen joined Shakespeare in his entrance into modern media—film, television, and digital forms—as well as print spin-offs, fan fiction, radical modernizations, and even travesties. Beginning less than a… Continue Reading »


Collecting Will and Jane

One of the stories told by the current exhibition Will & Jane: Shakespeare, Austen, and the Cult of Celebrity is that literary renown is as much about commodities as about books. Literary celebrity transforms authors into objects. Our exhibition traces this commodification to the eighteenth century, when Shakespeare (like Austen now) was at the 200-year… Continue Reading »



Quiz: Can you pair these Jane Austen and Shakespeare characters?

Take this quiz and test your knowledge of Jane Austen and Shakespeare! We give you a character from a Jane Austen novel, and you pick the corresponding character from Shakespeare’s plays, based on personality or storyline.


Five women artists: Interpreting Shakespeare through sculpture and book art

This blog post spotlights five female artists whose interpretations of Shakespeare’s works are part of the Folger collection. We decided to highlight three sculptors and two book artists. Several of these artists and their work have been featured on The Collation, a Folger blog about research, scholarship, and the Folger collection.


Studying early modern women—in Shakespeare’s plays and in his time

By Esther Ferington The roles of early modern women in Shakespeare’s time—both the fictional characters in his plays and the real-life women of his era—have been central to many projects created by Georgianna Ziegler, Louis B. Thalheimer Associate Librarian and Head of Reference Emerita. Ziegler, who is also a co-founder of the Society for the… Continue Reading »


A mulberry tree and other Shakespeare bindings

By Esther Ferington Among the curious items in the Will & Jane exhibition is a 19th-century edition of Shakespeare’s works in an unusual binding. A small frame in the binding’s front cover encloses a piece of wood, described in an inscription as “Part of the Mulberry Tree Planted by Wm. Shakespeare.” Needless to say, no… Continue Reading »


VIP visitors and rare works: Salman Rushdie, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and more

By Esther Ferington A vital role that the Folger Shakespeare Library plays is to bring people together with materials from Shakespeare’s world, whether through exhibitions, digital content, or special tours. As you’ll see, some famous visitors have brought that notion to life in an unusual way. Located in Washington, DC, the Folger has found in… Continue Reading »


What turns a good writer into a superstar? 200 years and plenty of spectacle

In commemoration of the approximate 200th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth, the London actor and theatrical entrepreneur David Garrick launched the first celebration of Shakespeare as “the god of our idolatry” in 1769, helping to fashion the Bard as the larger-than-life, iconic representation of English literary achievement. The events that Garrick planned on the sacred site… Continue Reading »