Posts Categorized: Folger-finds

Arthur Murphy’s 18th-century collection of humor – Excerpt: “Laughing Histories” by Joy Wiltenburg

“Murphy may be the first person in history to subject laughter to such intensive and extensive study, at least from the perspective of a laughter professional,” writes Joy Wiltenburg about the 18th-century writer’s 500-page compilation of humor, in this excerpt from her book, “Laughing Histories.” Murphy’s commonplace book is part of the Folger collection.



A game of chess

Take a closer look at some unusual chess sets in the Folger collection, spanning continents and centuries.


Stepping into the forest of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’: An immersive installation based on ‘A Knavish Lad’

This summer, visitors to The Playhouse at the National Building Museum can enjoy an immersive installation based on a beautiful book in the Folger collection, Joanna Robson’s “A Knavish Lad.” The book visually (and wordlessly) narrates “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in 16 vignettes, four of which are reproduced on a human scale for the installation. 



Five Folger Finds: A bouquet of flowers for spring

We’ve gathered a bouquet for you of flower illustrations in the Folger collection, ranging from watercolor paintings to hand-colored copperplate engravings. Enjoy these five blooms in celebration of spring.


Look at Our Bottoms

The Folger has some really fantastic Bottoms. Seriously! Just look at these Bottoms!


Excerpt: ‘Index, A History of the’ by Dennis Duncan

While doing research in the Folger collection, Dennis Duncan encountered hundreds of indexes created by early modern readers. In this excerpt from his newly published book, “Index, A History of the,” Duncan describes the fascinating variety of reader indexes he discovered, including one from an early 17th-century tract against alcohol.


A 16th-century love charm of frog bones

In Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, much of the comedic conflict derives from the application of the nectar of a magic flower. Under its influence, the queen of the fairies (Titania) becomes enamored of a donkey, and, through a bit of a mix-up, a spurned woman (Helena) suddenly finds herself desired by the man who… Continue Reading »


Top Folger Finds on Instagram in 2021: Shakespeare books

Calling all book lovers! Some of our most popular #FolgerFinds posts on Instagram this year featured beautiful bindings of Shakespeare’s collected works or early editions of Shakespeare plays that may have slightly different plot elements than the versions we’ve come to see as standard. One of these quartos, an early edition of A Midsummer Night’s… Continue Reading »