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Folger Institute Scholarly Programs

As a member of the Folger Institute Consortium, the Center provides opportunities for students to participate in Folger Institute scholarly programs, which gather advanced scholars to work together at the Folger Shakespeare Library, researching specific topics relating to Shakespeare and his time. For these programs, our students receive priority considerations in competitive application review, they become eligible to request grants-in-aid for travel and lodging, and, if admitted, have their registration fees automatically waived. Additionally, our students at the dissertation stage enjoy eligibility for admission to an annual dissertation seminar lead by the foremost minds in the field. For more information on the scholarly programs and current offerings at the Folger Institute, their course listings for this academic year are here.

If you are interested in applying for a Folger Institute program please contact our Folger representative, Center Director Marjorie Rubright,  at mrubright@umass.edu



Introduction to English Paleography (late-spring skills course)

Directed by Heather Wolfe

Co-sponsored with the Kinney Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies, University of Massachusetts Amherst

This weeklong course provides an intensive introduction to handwriting in early modern England, with a particular emphasis on the English secretary hand of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Working from digitized and physical manuscripts, participants will be trained in the accurate reading and transcription of secretary, italic, and mixed hands. In conjunction with the Kinney Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies’ Renaissance of the Earth research program, the workshop will include estate accounts, annotated almanacs, and household inventories that showcase how early moderns were practically and imaginatively transforming the earth. Recipe books, personal correspondence, and poetry miscellanies will also be drawn from the Folger collection. Participants will experiment with contemporary writing materials (quills, iron gall ink, and paper); learn the terminology for describing and comparing letterforms; and become skillful decipherers of abbreviations, numbers, and dates. Transcriptions made by participants will become part of the Early Modern Manuscripts Online (EMMO) corpus.

Director: Heather Wolfe is Curator of Manuscripts and Associate Librarian at the Folger Shakespeare Library, co-director of the recently concluded multi-year research project Before 'Farm to Table': Early Modern Foodways and Cultures, and principal investigator of Early Modern Manuscripts Online. Author of numerous articles on early modern manuscripts, Dr. Wolfe has edited The Literary Career and Legacy of Elizabeth Cary, 1613–1680 (2007), The Trevelyon Miscellany of 1608: A Facsimile Edition of Folger Shakespeare Library MS V.b.232 (2007), Letterwriting in Renaissance England (2004) (with Alan Stewart), and Elizabeth Cary, Lady Falkland: Life and Letters (2001). She is currently working on a book on early modern writing paper in England.

Anticipated Schedule: Monday through Friday, 3-7 June 2023, at the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Kinney Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies

Apply: 6 March 2023 for admission and grants-in-aid for Folger Institute Consortium affiliates. 

Visit here for a Program Description.


Questions? Reach out to Owen Wiliams (owilliams@folger.edu)