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Collecting Shakespeare: The Story of Henry and Emily Folger Hardcover – 28 Feb 2014


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press; 1st ed edition (28 Feb 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1421411873
  • ISBN-13: 978-1421411873
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.3 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,048,816 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

This book will fill a major gap in our understanding of how one of America's most influential institutions came to be, and it will be welcomed by what the 1623 Folio describes as a 'great Variety of Readers.'

(John F. Andrews, President, The Shakespeare Guild)

The fascinating story of these two Shakespeare-loving Americans and the great rare-book library they founded... will be welcomed by lovers of Shakespeare, students of twentieth-century American culture, and early English printed books alike.

(Gail Kern Paster, Director Emerita, Folger Shakespeare Library)

In this thoroughly documented and illuminatingly illustrated joint biography, Stephen Grant makes a fascinating contribution to the intellectual and cultural history of their time.

(Stanley Wells, CBE, Honorary President, The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon)

This charming and compelling tale of a literary obsession brings the Folgers back to life and serves as an important reminder of the incredibly rare and rich resources that lie hidden in the Folger Shakespeare Library.

(Debby Applegate, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Most Famous Man in America: The Biography of Henry Ward Beecher)

Grant provides not just a biography of the 'onlie begetters' of this astonishing library, but also an account of the worlds in which the Folgers lived. The result is a superlative book... Crisply written and packed with facts and anecdotes.

(Michael Dirda Washington Post)

This thoroughly researched and accessibly written book is first of all a fascinating biography of how a man and his wife devoted their lives to gathering the world's largest collection of the original folios of William Shakespeare, plus a range of literature from as early as 1500. It is also a meditation on why some museums endure and thrive, while others lapse into confusion and decay.

(James Srodes Washington Times)

This first biography of Emily Jordan Folger and Henry C. Folger... taps hitherto neglected resources to trace their joint obsession with collecting Shakespeare.

(Choice)

Grant's text is indeed well-researched and written, in a snappish and easily-readable style, even though there are many details.

(Jeffery Moser Rocky Mountain Review of Language and Literature)

About the Author

Stephen H. Grant is a senior fellow at the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training and author of Peter Strickland: New London Shipmaster, Boston Merchant, First Consul to Senegal.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Stephen H. Grant in Collecting Shakespeare - The Story of Henry and Emily Folger has done all lovers of the reading life and especially of Shakespeare a great service. The theoretical theme of my blog is to explore literary and historic treatments of people who lead reading centered lives. Grant's delightful book tells the story of Henry Folger (1857 to 1930) and his wife Emily Folger (1858 to 1936) and lets us see how their joint\
love of Shakespeare, they met shortly after they graduated from Amherst and Vassar, led to a seemingly wonderful marriage and ultimately to the world's greatest collection of books, manuscripts, and treasures related to Shakespeare and his age. (Here in Manila, my college student daughters have been assigned Folger Library Editions of his plays.)\
\
The book is not just just about the marriage of the Folgers or their developing collection of Shakespeare. It gives us an insight into college education of men and women in New England around 1879 or so. We can see their relationship begin, they never had any children, and how a mutual love of Shakespeare deepened their bond. A love of reading and a love of books share common grounds and many love both but they are not at all the same thing.\
\
Henry Folger worked for Standard Oil for forty years and was President of Standard Oil of New York for many years. He used the fortune he made there to build up the collection. Grant shows us how the rare book trade worked in the days of the Folgers. In one very telling incident John D. Rockefeller heard that Folger had paid $100,000 for a book. He confronted Folger with this and he says he hopes word will not get out about this foolish purchase and Folger prevaricated and told him no it was only $10,000!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 9 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A very interesting informative book 10 Mar 2014
By Mel u-The Reading Life - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Stephen H. Grant in Collecting Shakespeare - The Story of Henry and Emily Folger has done all lovers of the reading life and especially of Shakespeare a great service. The theoretical theme of my blog is to explore literary and historic treatments of people who lead reading centered lives. Grant's delightful book tells the story of Henry Folger (1857 to 1930) and his wife Emily Folger (1858 to 1936) and lets us see how their joint
love of Shakespeare, they met shortly after they graduated from Amherst and Vassar, led to a seemingly wonderful marriage and ultimately to the world's greatest collection of books, manuscripts, and treasures related to Shakespeare and his age. (Here in Manila, my college student daughters have been assigned Folger Library Editions of his plays.)

The book is not just just about the marriage of the Folgers or their developing collection of Shakespeare. It gives us an insight into college education of men and women in New England around 1879 or so. We can see their relationship begin, they never had any children, and how a mutual love of Shakespeare deepened their bond. A love of reading and a love of books share common grounds and many love both but they are not at all the same thing.

Henry Folger worked for Standard Oil for forty years and was President of Standard Oil of New York for many years. He used the fortune he made there to build up the collection. Grant shows us how the rare book trade worked in the days of the Folgers. In one very telling incident John D. Rockefeller heard that Folger had paid $100,000 for a book. He confronted Folger with this and he says he hopes word will not get out about this foolish purchase and Folger prevaricated and told him no it was only $10,000! Now that book is worth millions of dollars.

Grant tells us how the world famous Folger Library came to be and how it has developed over the years into the world's foremost library devoted to Shakespeare. It now has over 275,000 books and 60,000 manuscripts plus numerous other treasures. Scholars come from all over the world to read there, many on fellowships. It is located in Washington, D.C. and administered by Amherst College.

This book really is a very interesting fact rich work from which I learned a lot. I think all public libraries should make this a priority purchase.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
If Folger's Your Cup 17 Jun 2014
By Christian Schlect - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A nice, compact history of the couple who gave our country the best collection of materials and works related to William Shakespeare.

This book will especially be enjoyed by those who have visited the Folger in Washington,D.C., and have wondered how this fine building and its collections, so near the Capitol and the Library of Congress, came to be. While sometimes the author drifts a little too much towards simply reciting information readily at hand but not really needed for the story, overall this is a good effort by Mr. Grant.

One warning: my first copy of this book was missing about eight pages of text and had to be returned. There must be a special place in Hell for the printer who botches a book devoted to the glory of collecting books.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
amazing history 1 April 2014
By brett prentiss - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An excellent history of the Folgers and their inspired work to create one of the world's finest collections of Shakespeare and early English literature...and, of course, their commitment to build the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC . The research and the writing are exceptional!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Extremely Worthwhile 6 May 2014
By Claude R. Marx - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book was a well-written take on two people who made a major contribution to American cultural history that is often overlooked. Collecting Shakespeare will be of great interest to history buffs and Shakespeare fans.
I enjoyed discovering the intricacies of how the Folgers pursued the ... 21 July 2014
By Lillian Hendricks - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
"Collecting Shakespeare" is an excellently documented story of Henry Clay Folger and Emily Jordan Folger whose lifelong passion for and collection of Shakespeareana resulted in the Washington DC Folger Shakespeare Library. I enjoyed discovering the intricacies of how the Folgers pursued the ancient documents they wanted and how everything was funded. It is a fascinating tale of two people whose literary interests drew them together and what they created through their dedication, with the help of monies earned through Henry Folger's earnings in Standard Oil.
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