A very special Christmas gift

Folger Finds delivers delightful and insightful moments with the Folger collection. Sarah Hovde, a cataloger at the Folger Shakespeare Library, shares the story behind a book that belonged to the library’s founder. Many of us have probably given or received books for Christmas. Sometimes we’ve inscribed the book with a personal message, or have added… Continue Reading »


The Boydell Shakespeare Gallery gets a second life

A late eighteenth-century Shakespeare art museum is experiencing a second life as a detailed online re-creation, the brainchild of University of Texas English professor Janine Barchas. 


Elizabethan Holidays: Christmas, New Year’s Day… and Plough Monday?

The Twelve Days of Christmas, from December 25 to January 6, was the longest and most enthusiastically celebrated festival in the Elizabethan calendar. On Christmas Eve, people decorated with evergreens, ivy, and holly, burned a Yule log, sang carols, and visited neighbors. Wassail was dispensed by groups who carried the cauldron of beer and roasted… Continue Reading »


Which Shakespeare portraits are legitimate?

Every few years it seems, a newly discovered portrait of Shakespeare emerges, only to be discredited by scholars after the obligatory media maelstrom. Many observers have noted that the cyclical nature of these announcements and the intense excitement that accompanies them point to a keen public interest in knowing what Shakespeare looked like, to put… Continue Reading »


Happy Holidays from Elizabethan England

Some people believe that the Renaissance image of “Merry England,” a land of festivity and mirth, was a myth created during the Stuart reign by people nostalgic for the good old days before the Puritans put the kibosh on fun. But scholar Ronald Hutton, who pored through records of church ales and other gatherings, finds… Continue Reading »


How Frank R. Benson helped revive Shakespeare’s popularity

Folger Finds delivers delightful and insightful moments with the Folger collection. Sarah Hovde, a cataloger at the Folger Shakespeare Library, shares the story behind the announcement of a turn-of-the-century “Shakespearean season” in London. It’s London in 1900. Is Shakespeare ready for a resurgence on the English stage? Shakespeare, since the rise of “Bardolatry” in the early 1700s,… Continue Reading »