The Folger Shakespeare Library is an independent research library located on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Its history is intrinsically linked to that of its founders, Henry Clay Folger and his wife, Emily Jordan Folger, who established the Library in 1932 as a gift to the American people. A magnet for scholars from around the globe, the Folger is home to the worlds largest collection of Shakespeares printed works, as well as magnificent collections of other rare Renaissance books and manuscripts on all disciplineshistory and politics, theology and exploration, law and the arts. Included in the collections are over 310,000 books and manuscripts; 250,000 playbills; 27,000 paintings, drawings, engravings, and prints; and musical instruments, costumes, and films. In addition to its scholarly mission, the Folger serves as a museum devoted to Shakespeares life and times. Visitors may view changing exhibitions, which feature items from the collections, or take a guided tour of the building. The striking architecture has earned the Folger a listing in the National Register of Historic Places. Rooms are also available for entertaining at the Folger.
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city was built from scratch, Washington's
regular town plan is easy to grasp. Centered
on Capitol Hill and its governmental
monoliths, the District is divided into four
quadrants - northeast, northwest, southeast
and southwest. Dozens of broad avenues , all
named after states, run diagonally across a
standard grid of streets , meeting up at
monumental traffic circles like Dupont
Circle. North-south streets are numbered,
east-west ones are lettered. There's no J
Street, an intentional slight to early
Supreme Court Justice John Jay, or X, Y or Z
Street. I Street is often written Eye
Street. Be sure to note the relevant
two-letter code in any address (NW, NE, SW,
SE), which shows its quadrant; 1600
Pennsylvania Ave NW is a long way from 1600
Pennsylvania Ave SE.
Once in the
city, stop at the
DC Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center ,
Ronald Reagan Building, 1300 Pennsylvania
Ave NW (Mon-Sat 8am-6pm, Sun noon-5pm; tel
202/328-4748), which can help with maps,
tours, bookings and citywide information.
Look for visitor information desks at the
airports and Union Station.
The White House Visitor Information Center
, 1450 Pennsylvania Ave NW (daily
7.30am-4pm; tel 202/208-1631), supplies free
maps and handy guides to museums and
attractions; the most useful is the free
Washington DC Visitors Guide .