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Posts Tagged ‘Carol Ann Lloyd Stanger’

By Carol Ann Lloyd-Stanger

 

A title page on a Shakespearean printing press. (Image: Folger Library)

A title page on a Shakespearean printing press. (Image: Folger Library)

A few weeks ago, I had the chance to participate in a printing workshop at Folger using a replica of a printing press like the ones used in Shakespeare’s time. The invention and popularity of the printing press changed the way books were produced, increasing the output and cutting the cost of making a book. This was a technological revolution of its time, initiating an “information revolution” like the internet did in our day. Participating in the printing workshop reminded me of the power of the book.

 

Several months ago, I visited Maggs Brothers, a dealer of rare books in London. There I was able to see and handle several rare books. There’s something amazing about being in a room full of books that may have been a special possession of someone who lived in London while Shakespeare was there. Perhaps someone saved and carefully selected this volume, took days to select a particular binding, and kept it in a place of honor in her home. The value of any book includes a history of ownership, of discovery, of excitement. While I was in Maggs, one of the dealers had a package of books delivered. His delight at the receipt of these books was fascinating. He called his colleagues to watch him open the box and unwrap the books, showing each one and sharing the story of how he had discovered it.

 

In our day of desktop publishing and printing on demand, as well as tablets, the value of a book as an object is sometimes hard to remember. My experience at the printing workshop was a great reminder of how much effort went into the creation of a single volume.

 

First, we apprentices had our orientation. As all the participants were women that day, none of us would have been involved in printing in Shakespeare’s day when all compositors, printers, and publishers were men. But we forged ahead.

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by Carol Ann Lloyd-Stanger

Emily Jordan Folger and Henry Clay Folger by Frank O. Salisbury. (Folger Collection)

Emily Jordan Folger and Henry Clay Folger by Frank O. Salisbury. (Folger Collection)

Henry Clay Folger and Emily Jordan Folger were great collectors of Shakespeare in the early 20th century. Believing that Shakespeare represented a foundation of American thought and that the treasures they collected should be shared with the nation, the Folgers founded Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC. The Library opened in 1932. Sadly, Henry died shortly after the groundbreaking in 1930 and did not live to see the completion of his dream. Emily shepherded the Library through its early years and helped establish it as a world-famous collection of Shakespeare and his world.

Each year, the Library celebrates the Folgers’ vision by hosting a Birthday Open House, inviting the public to come in and share the experience. For the past few years, volunteer docents Michael Neuman and Robin Millay have played the roles of Henry and Emily Folger at the Birthday, welcoming visitors to “their” library and sharing the Folgers’ story. In those roles, they share their story with you. (more…)

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