The First English Actresses

In 1660, women (rather than men) began playing female roles, including female Shakespearean roles, on the professional English stage. Learn more about these early actresses as Folger Theatre stages the play “Nell Gwynn,” the story of an actress who was also the mistress of a king.


In the Giving Vein: The Pop-Cultural Legacy of Olivier’s Richard III

With a US audience of tens of millions in its TV release at the same time it was released in American theaters, Laurence Olivier’s film “Richard III” (1955) has left a lasting, sometimes hilarious, legacy in pop culture, from Peter Sellers’s lofty and amusing reading of the Beatles’ “A Hard Day’s Night” in Olivier’s style to modern-day TV villains who speak directly to the camera and win us to their side.




Five Faces of Shakespeare

Among the many treasures of the Folger is a lavish “Cosway binding” that includes five unique miniatures by a 20th-century British artist, “Miss C. B. Currie,” based on the images from the book itself. One of the oddest to modern eyes is the all-white bust from Stratford.


In the News: In Rare Books, Centuries-Old Proteins Can Reveal the Past

Recent news about proteomics (the study of proteins) in the humanities has included a Folger Shakespeare Library project, irreverently called Project Dustbunny, that studies proteins in rare books to learn about those who once handled or read them.