Posts Tagged: early modern women

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 »


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.


Lady Mary Wroth and ‘The Countess of Montgomery’s Urania’

Lady Mary Wroth watched Shakespeare act in his own plays, heard her relative Sir Walter Raleigh talk about founding Virginia, and almost certainly met Pocahantas and ambassadors from Morocco. Wroth’s later prose fiction echoes elements of her own life, including foreign travel, tragic deaths of siblings, arranged marriage, a lifelong love for her cousin, royal visits to her home, and then civil war.


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 »