What were women reading? A dive into the Folger vault

Peer with me into the books left behind by women readers in the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries. What kind of books were they reading? What sort of notes did they write in them? What can we learn about their lives? Using the Folger’s online catalog, I’ve been able to identify hundreds of women from… Continue Reading »



5 classic TV Shakespeare references from the late 60s and early 70s: The Flintstones, Gilligan’s Island, Star Trek, The Brady Bunch, and Happy Days

Shakespeare’s influence can be found in many aspects of American culture, from film adaptations to vegetable brands. It’s no wonder, then, that his stories and characters have often served as inspiration for television series—which in turn can influence interpretations of his plays. For example, Folger Theatre’s current production of The Merry Wives of Windsor (pictured… Continue Reading »



The Folger Manuscript Book of Anne Finch, Countess of Winchilsea

The Folger’s outstanding collection is usually associated with Shakespeare and his contemporaries, but scholars who focus on women writers of Restoration and eighteenth-century literature know that the Folger holds the most important manuscript book of the works of poet and playwright Anne Finch, Countess of Winchilsea (1661–1720). Admired by writers as different as Jonathan Swift,… Continue Reading »


Cursing Coriolanus and combating cornhoarders

In 1608, famine plagued England. Preachers responded with sermons begging the gentry to show compassion for the poor, King James I responded with royal proclamations against grain hoarding, and Shakespeare responded with Coriolanus, a Roman revenge-tragedy. Likely composed in 1608 and staged c. 1609-1610, Coriolanus opens with starving citizens storming the stage with rakes, pikes,… Continue Reading »