Teaser Tuesday: Collecting Shakespeare

Like the inevitable puns on the Great British Bake-Off (and that’s its name, regardless of what Pillsbury says), the Wheel of Time has turned ’round to Teaser Tuesday.

Just in case you don’t know, Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish theme, and anyone can play along! All you have to do is grab the book you’re currently reading, open to a random page and share a few sentences from that page. But make sure you don’t share any spoilers!*

*I wish I could take credit for this introduction, but I shamelessly stole it from Heather @ bitsnbooks. To help me make amends, you should go check out her blog.

I’ve fallen behind again in my reading schedule according to Goodreads, but not really. I’ve read two books I can’t mark as read yet for various reasons. It’ll all work out in the end. Anyway, this week I’m reading Collecting Shakespeare: The Story of Henry and Emily Folger by Stephen H. Grant

The Goodreads’ Blurb

In Collecting Shakespeare, Stephen H. Grant recounts the American success story of Henry and Emily Folger of Brooklyn, a couple who were devoted to each other, in love with Shakespeare, and bitten by the collecting bug.

Shortly after marrying in 1885, the Folgers started buying, cataloging, and storing all manner of items about Shakespeare and his era. Emily earned a master’s degree in Shakespeare studies. The frugal couple worked passionately as a tight-knit team during the Gilded Age, financing their hobby with the fortune Henry earned as president of Standard Oil Company of New York, where he was a trusted associate of John D. Rockefeller Sr.

While a number of American universities offered to house the collection, the Folgers wanted to give it to the American people. Afraid the price of antiquarian books would soar if their names were revealed, they secretly acquired prime real estate on Capitol Hill near the Library of Congress. They commissioned the design and construction of an elegant building with a reading room, public exhibition hall, and the Elizabethan Theatre. The Folger Shakespeare Library was dedicated on the Bard’s birthday, April 23, 1932.

The library houses 82 First Folios, 275,000 books, and 60,000 manuscripts. It welcomes more than 100,000 visitors a year and provides professors, scholars, graduate students, and researchers from around the world with access to the collections. It is also a vibrant center in Washington, D.C., for cultural programs, including theater, concerts, lectures, and poetry readings.

The library provided Grant with unprecedented access to the primary sources within the Folger vault. He draws on interviews with surviving Folger relatives and visits to 35 related archives in the United States and in Britain to create a portrait of the remarkable couple who ensured that Shakespeare would have a beautiful home in America.


The Truly Random Number Generator sends us to page 109:

Sir Montague bit is mustache, his face as white as his lapel carnation. After a pause, he asked if there were another bid, then brought down the hammer. The audience erupted in cheers and applause. Smith's purchase of the Shakespeare gem for Huntington at £15,100 ($60,000) was the highest price ever paid for a printed book at a public sale.

Collecting Shakespeare cover

What are you reading today?

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8 thoughts on “Teaser Tuesday: Collecting Shakespeare

  1. I am undoubtedly going to go to that library when I finally get to visit D.C. Did you go there when you traveled to D.C. for school?

    I am reading A Tale of Two Cities again. From page 89:

    The night was so very sultry, that although they sat with doors and windows open, they were overpowered by heat. When the tea-table was done with, they all moved to one of the windows, and looked out into the heavy twilight. Lucie sat by her father; Darnay sat beside her; Carton leaned against a window.

    Liked by 1 person

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