tv Tour of the Folger Shakespeare Library CSPAN April 10, 2016 10:45am-11:42am EDT
>> watch for the authors in the near future on booktv. >> michael witmore, what is the folger shakespeare library? >> it was greater in 1932 by henry clay folger and his wife. they had a big idea which is the original sources for shakespeare and his world would be of value to everyone in perpetuity. so they collected those
materials and they put them. two blocks away from this capital as akin to the nation. >> y. washington, d.c.? >> they felt it was an international city. it's our capital and that this was really a truly national and international asset. in addition to putting this marvelous collection here, they created this remarkable building which housed the first north american tudor theater, beautiful great although we're in which is on hampton corporate another medieval reading the. mr. folger was president of standard oil, and he made his fortune as an oilman. he'd been while he was running standard oil very quietly acquired the greatest shakespeare collection in the world, bar none. including 82 copies of the 16,231st folio. >> we'll hear that from term throughout this tour, first
folio. what is that? >> the first folio is a collection of 36 shakespeare plays that were published by two of shakespeare's friends who knew him. without that book which was published in 1623, we probably would not have 18 of shakespeare's plays including "macbeth," the 12th night and the winter's tale. it's probably the most studied single edition of the book in the world. and it's also a great connection to shakespeare, this writer that is to use by scholars today to understand his writing. >> that was put together seven years after his best? >> exactly right spirit many were printed, how many exist in the world did they? >> that were probably 700 copies of the first photo printed under 233 known copies of this book. wenches turned up last year -- one just turned up last year, but the folger has 82 in its
collection. that's not far the largest number in any one place. they knew every copy is different. the printers corrected this book as it was printed and then we put the book together as they took from this pile and top out. so mr. and mrs. folger knew it wanted to get out of this version of shakespeare's plays in this book, they have to compare them. >> michael witmore i'm here at the folger go are the items are displayed available to the public? >> yes, they are. anyone can come and see a first folio at the folger. we are free and we are open to the public on holidays but we were created in order to share this remarkable collection. >> two people come? how many people, a year? >> we have about 80,000 people, year. when you come here you can see a first folio in the corner of our
great hall. you can also see one of our exhibition. you can see a shakespeare play performed in the theater. and if you're a qualified reader, you have a recently in our collection can you can come into the reading rooms and request items from hundreds of thousands of items that we have in our rare collection. >> is the reading room restricted to scholars speak with it is restricted to people who have a good reason to use a. so often that scholars but if you're not a professional scholar at you need to consult something for a book you're writing, we would open our materials to you. >> is the folger collection online? >> about 60,000 items, we call them page openings from the the collection, or online in these beautiful high quality digital images. one of our missions is to open that collection to people who want to visit as virtually. we are also starting a project
to make searchable about 130,000 pages of our manuscript collection. manuscript is hand written material. it's hard to decipher and we are inviting others to join in a crowd sourcing initiative to look at some of those pages online and then we will teach you how to decipher the writing. you will decipher it and then you add to our collection. >> michael witmore, was william shakespeare well known? first of all, when did he live and when did he die? >> he was born in the mid-16th century and he died in 1616. that's why does she we are celebrating the 400th anniversary of his death. he was well-known. there are hundreds of references to shakespeare that occurred during his lifetime. one of the things we've done this year is to gather the documents that really connect us to shakespeare the man. the talk of people about shakespeare, whether it's in print or in gaza that have noted on a piece of paper per we want
to get it all in one place. so this year our show is our attempt to bring that together for the people can see what the impact this writer had on the people around him. >> we are in the display hall right now. what's the architecture of this hall? >> what you were looking at is too great hall, the kind of room you would put in a large family estate. it's actually something you would use for exercise. that's what it's longer usually windows would be open to a garden and to butcher painting collection industry. i was actually what the room was designed to look like but after 1932 we realized that full daylight is not good for rare materials. so we decided to limit the amount of light in this space. space. it's different from what you see in england but it is still grand.
you have this very high ceiling. it is city block length. it's about -- israel architecture of -- >> would william shakespeare have been comfortable in this room speak with yes, he would. he would exactly what kind of room this is. one thing we are learning about them, he did purchase a home in stratford called new place which is quite a fancy pile in his hometown. one of the things the archaeologists suspected he did was knock down some of the veterans so he could create a long gallery or a long haul. he must have liked rooms like this. it was either he who did or it was a member of his family, but he would've recognized this kind of room. >> let's look at some of the display items. what do you have? >> we walk over first that i just mentioned new place which was this grand house in stratford.
shakespeare need to do something that we would call today i think a title search, which is to make sure that he had clear title to property. patty about with the earnings he had from his theater career. and so we're going to go over here. these are something that is called any danger here -- indenture. windowwhen the stock was execute two sides of the agreement what do i decide which is the identical terms on each side. one is read out aloud and the other is checked to make sure the terms of the deal are identical. and then the indenture is cut with a wavy line so if there's ever a dispute, you say show me the other side of this and we will check it. it was a fascinating early modern anti-fraud device that was used when shakespeare decided to check whether he had
clear title to this property. and. is the third piece, these two were kept i shakespeare and the other party in the agreement. shakespeare would've held what these pieces in his hand. he would have kept it in his home with all of his other important papers. is an important document and this is one of the things he saved. >> did decide to? >> he didn't sign it because he didn't need to. describes had to grit his other counterfoil which is probably in foragers hasn't been next to the original piece. this came over to us from london and we are now bringing them together for the first time. it's a nice sum of what this exhibition is. because never absolute documents directly connected to shakespeare ever been in one place in centrist and i doubt they will ever be together again. so the ability to bring together
a kind of congregation or fellowship of documents is this remarkable moment of connection with this writer. that's why we really want to share it because it's so precious to have this ability to show them. the other thing i would say is we've chosen to create this online resource with the permission of our partners. 30 other institutions are so we can show for hundred of these documents in high quality digital images and we have transcribed them so you can search the. it's called shakespeare documented and i think would be the first and most important stop for people trying to understand shakespeare's biography. we have made this very available with the help of our partners, and that's going to be one of the surviving legacies of this particular mission. >> what do some of your british partners think about the fact that the folger shakespeare library in washington has the largest shakespeare collection in the world?
>> this is a better writer, but shakespeare is probably one of the most important if not the most important cultural exports from great britain. shakespeare is a global phenomenon. there are more films made about shakespeare in india than the are in the united states and britain combined. so the ability to make the connection with the united states, it's a way of embodying this ongoing relationship between the two countries. turns out to be important. we do have regularly diplomatic gatherings here at the folger. british ambassadors are often do. it's important because it shows this ongoing cultural connection to the other thing i would say is americans really discovered shakespeare in the 18th and 19th centuries and made this writer their own. he was like someone you could turn to when you in uncertain
times. your time to think about your aspirations or a tough decisions americans were making after the civil war or during civil rights. there's something about this writer the way he tells stories. the way his characters are so vivid, a powerful language, that meant that americans felt like they could just grab that and use it themselves. i think a shakespeare as the kind of uncle return to we need to have a conversation that we can't have with family, with our closest family. there's something good about the fact that shakespeare wasn't an american. he never came to this country, and that gives us a lot more latitude we want to say i think this reminds be of "macbeth," when you watch the house of cards and we say that's the bath, lady "macbeth" married to richard iii come on when a member of congress like senator byrd used to do come will quote
shakespeare on the floor of the senate. >> who was king or queen during shakespeare's life and did that influence is rising? >> shakes there was a lot of during the reign of queen elizabeth and the reign of king james i. when does reins, when the succession happen, the scottish game, use the james vi, and shakespeare had to change his theatrical practice. there was a different monarch on the throne. for example, in the play "macbeth" as a procession, and when james watched that performance, and people believed he did, he would advancing his own ancestors in this play it would have reflected well on him. so shakespeare was really aware of his political audience. that's interesting because we live in washington, and washington is a political city
which you know so well. shakespeare was careful as a writer. he didn't want to offend his noble patrons or the monarch. but he also was such a good storyteller that he could get himself into territory that might've been uncomfortable for someone who's directly addressing the king or the queen. something you just can't say to a monarch. but shakespeare wrote a play called richard the second about a monarch who has to give over his crown to someone who has forced him to be deposed. talk about the controversial idea. you couldn't suggest that about a sitting monarch and show it in a play. so shakespeare had a way of getting into that tricky territory by fusing storytelling and theater spirit what else do want to show us? >> this may air after march 27,
but if people want to come and see this after march 27 -- >> that's why we created shakespeare documented because that is it anything more documented record. ththere are 50 very rare documes in this exhibition. .. and >> it is also difficult to decipher if you have not had experience looking at that time of writing. it is part of the
play called saint thomas moore we think shakespeare wrote because of the style. there has been exert text to see how much this style resembles shakespeare or someone else. it a beautiful passage ouabout refuges and it is timely if you think about the eu struggling to accommodate these people who are hoping to free a dangerous place. the speech asks why would you put your family at risk to the seas when it turns out staying on land is more dangerous. so we have this powerful passage written by shakespeare and possibly written in his own hand. it is one of the most valuable documents in the world and we are lucky to have this in the united states.
it has never traveled out of the uk and it is here until the end of march. >> you say this document may have been written by william shakespeare himself. why don't you know? >> guest: that is a really good question. we have confidence we have six signatures of shakespeare. >> host: in the world? >> guest: in the world. our colleagues in the uk have legal documents with his signature on it. when you sign your name, you may not do it in the same way you would when writing a letter to someone. that means if you want to
authenticate the signature you only have a couple letters to use. so it is hard to establish it is beyond a doubt william shakespeare's signature. we tend to think of it as a treasure of shakespeare signature. >> host: who is thomas moore? >> he was active in the 16th century, catholic, and wrote the book we know as "utopia" now. he was someone that shakespeare knew from history and someone he wrote about. >> host: and this is part of a play; correct? >> guest: that is correct. it is a play and that is a speech from the play. the lighting is low because of for our own book and the books
of our projects we have a light budget meaning we will not expose a given item to a certain amount of light and we are monitoring how much light is around this book. >> host: monitoring this in real-time? >> guest: we are and we have read outs of the average amount of light and when it starts and stops because this writing is going to fade if you put it under light. and the reason we want to limit it is we want people to be able to read these pages centuries from now. >> host: where is the monitor? >> guest: the monitor is under that and the readout is at the bottom. >> host: does an alarm go off if the crew put the light on it? >> guest: we would know and we know enough about our collection to say we don't allow flash photography in this space and when you illuminate an idea it is for a short period of time. it is important, peter, for people to see these.
so as an institution that takes care of these treasures we are thinking about the tradeoff of providing access and saving the document. >> host: who wrote the play and what fascinating people have written since the 19th century. >> guest: we see no reason to doubt he was the man from stratford who went to london and became a very successful writer. it is really hard to explain the quadruple lightning strike that was william shakespeare. how could we do this political balancing act? how could he be so successful in
the theater when that was the industry that that was developing in london. he is a remarkable figure. and i think his outside affect on the world has created a lot of passionate interest in who he must have been and what his life must have been. we actually a lot of information about him in comparison to other people who lived during that period and that is why we put together these documents. but it is interesting because there is always something more you can learn about the writer. and our character discovered errors in the way letters are transscribed and she asks questions like what is on the back of the letter? and those are questions an experienced document would ask.
this led us to take a long look at this record. it is probably the first time anyone has looked at all of the evidence at once. we feel confidant shakespeare was the man from stratford but we are a resource for people who are curious about this writer. you don't have to swear an oath of allegiance when you come in to use our collection. there are plenty of things you can still find. our collection is still not fully explored so we welcome people who may think in their heart this was christopher marlow or francis dickin or queen elizabeth the first. inquiry in the documents are always good. >> host: what do you say to folks like me and others who are not terribly dim but haven't
accessed or able to understand him? >> guest: two things. you can access shakespeare and he may know more about you than you do yourself. there was an editorial about the humanities and this writer said shakespeare captured insights into who we are. and he put them in his plays. plays are the oldest interactive art form we have. if you can see one of these plays you will see people you recognize. now, maybe you only understand 20-30 percent of the language but join the club. the language is 400 years old. it is beautifully dense and lots of really energetic expressions
but even if you only get that 20% that 20% is fantastic. you may already know some of it because so many phrases shakespeare used are actually already in our vocabulary. that is what is so great about this writer is he managed to get into our bloodstream. once the words became famous on stage, people repeat them. you could look at a political headline: joe biden has his hamlet moment. is he going to join the race or not? that is a famous play and even though you may not have read hamlet you understand biden has a heart-searching decision to make it is a big one. >> host: are you a shakespeare scholar? >> guest: i am. i was professor before coming here, i have written several books about shakespeare's plays.
one reason i came to folger shakespeare library is because this as a great place to share what is so exciting about the humanities. i hope i write more about shakespeare in my career. but here we are two blocks east of the u.s. capitol, our middle name is shakespeare and he is the most widely read author on the planet. we can show people why this writer'sed -- writer's ideas and characters and story still matter. >> host: you mentioned the reading room? >> guest: we will have to be quite because active readers are working in here. this is late medieval or renaissance architecture. the patterns n stain glass are modeled on the church in his home town. we have a bust of shakespeare here on the far side which is
again a model of the one from tr trinity church where he is buried. and behind that plaque is the ashes of a soldier and that is interesting because it makes this exactly right. it makes them the only people buried on capitol hill and that is important because we are public and we don't bury americans next to seat of power. we like to keep people away from the center of power. so it is kind of ironic but because they own the building and this was their gift to the nation they chose to have her ashes placed here. >> host: what goes on in his room? >> guest: this is a room filled with researchers coming from
universities, writers writing books for the trade press, but they are digging in and i like to think the people in this room as going on a 400 year submersion. you will look around and see someone who has their head down and just going in. that person is surfacing from a century ries into the past and just emerging. but the intensity of the connection you have -- i always find so inspiring. you cannot show it in here, really. >> host: if the press came by and wanted to come in and look at the books on the shelves; is that possible?
>> guest: you can come on tour on saturday afternoon but if you want to handle the collection you would need permission. >> host: what does it take to get permission? >> guest: you just say you have use the collection. realize it has to last centuries more so you should really need it. >> host: you have stuff you will show us here? >> guest: i am. i am signing out the keys. no one receives keys without signing to go down to the vault and no readers in this space can degioia -- can go to the vault.
the vault is a secure space we need to control carefully. >> host: you have a friend here. officer baylor is here. >> guest: he is walking us down. >> host: we are going below ground, correct? >> guest: we will be going several floors below ground level. we have a vault that runs almost the full length of a city block and that is where we keep our rare books and manuscripts. >> host: are the manuscripts and rare books we will see collected by the soldiers during their lifetime? >> guest: the soldiers started this but we have been collecting for around 80 years. so it is a growing and dynamic collection. there is more to find, we acquire it, give it to scholars or take pictures and put it
online. we are now at the vault. this is the 1932 bank vault's door which is extremely heavy. i don't think i could start it moving unless i had help. we will pass through now -- >> host: this is usually not open, correct? >> host: >> hos >> guest: officer baylor just opened it with his keys. >> host: let's bring our crew in here. >> guest: we are going to go right into the this elevator which will take us yet another floor below. >> host: let's give everybody the experience of going into the vault.
>> guest: one of the amazing things about being in this space is in addition to be chilly and highly controlled it is also within -- only 700 yards from this spot with for me, 95%, of the documents i will read in my working life. for a shakespeare scholar or someone that studies the renaissance, once you are standing here you have to think about your mortality because there is so much you could read. a book that could be so important tattoo -- to me could be 15 yards on the right but unless i know it is there i will never see it. so everyone who comes and looks in this collection faces that challenges. there is an infinity of pathways and doors you could do in your research and go down and the
challenge is resist those opportunities and just take the ones that matter to you. >> host: i would presume there are cameras on us right now? >> guest: there are. we control this space for temperature and humidity. one of the challenges for the rare materials is we need to keep them dry and that is a threat to room materials. a major threat to a book is to get wet. one of the ways we deal with that is were there to be a water incident we would freeze the books. and that is because it is easier to thaw a book out page-by-page and control how those materials are changing than it is to make a quick pile and hope they don't get anymore wet. we have protocols for how we would deal with that particular type of emergency or mold which would be another threat to our materials or smoke or fire. but that is something we actively plan for.
>> host: michael whitmore, have you ever had an incident like that here? >> guest: we have not had an incident like the fire but we had a leak in the underground vault and we had and move to material. tons out there was an underground river going around that area so the vault had to be resealed and we received money from the federal government from the institute for museum studies and libraries to help us make that transition and that helped save our collection. >> host: what are you going to show us today? >> guest: i will show you several items i thought you and your viewers would enjoy. the first one is the first folio and that is this book here. >> host: can you show the cover? this is the first we talked about published seven years after his death. >> guest: correct. this is published in 1623.
it is the most complete single-volume record of shakespeare's work. it is important his friends' ass assembled it because they probably had a better idea of what the shakespeare thought was important. he said here is comedy, tragedy and the third form of plays. this is missing from some copies and it is very valuable. but ben johnson, who knew shakespeare, said this is the likeness of the man and that is important because it is a person-to-person familiar connections to shakespeare. we would say this has real authority as the likeness of this writer. >> host: so 82 folios in the shakespeare collection, correct? how many worldwide again? >> 233. >> host: if somebody wanted to buy one what would it cost them?
>> guest: complete portfolio can go for $5-$6 million. >> host: you have first folios going around the country? >> guest: we do. we realized it matters when you go face to face with a folio so we realized we could take it to all 52 states and the territories which is happening now. someone proposed marriage su successf successfully on the occasion of the first folio visit in oklahoma. there is a jazz funeral for shakespeare in new orleans. there is a great indy rock band doing a concert for the first folio in duluth.
so people react differently. >> host: what else do you have? >> guest: this is a smaller version of a shakespeare play. this is a cord and folio means a single-sheet of paper has been printed on one side and then the other and the bookmaker sold folds that sheet into a set of choir and they are sewn together. a cordo is folded twice then you cut the edges so you can thumb through them. this is a smaller format that is cheaper to produce. half of shakespeare's play aperiod in this format before the first folio was printed. so there are multiple editions of shakespeare's play and there are differences between the two. >> host: you mean in the language? >> guest: in the language and also in the stage action.
here we have mr. william shakespeare, his true chronicle history of the life and death of king leer and his three daughters. this isn't described as a history but a tragedy in the first round. so if you are creating an edition of this play you have to decide what to call it because there are two conflicting versions of what the play is. if you are doing hamlet, there are several corto editions and in one of them the to be or not to be speech reads "to be or not to be i. that is the point" it is so different than the one we recognized and that is because there is different ways of capturing the performance and that version is perhaps from a sears of scribes transscrcribin
that in real time. one thing that happened here is we created the editions using this collection. it is the best-selling high school edition in the united states and almost 90% of high school students are reading the shakespeare play. we found we could share these plays online as well. we put them into digital form and they are freely available, all of the plays, and all of the poems from the folger shakespeare library. >> host: what is your favorite play? >> guest: i have two. my first is 12th night because i think it is a beautifully built play. each little bit is like clockwork. i love the main character viola
who is very -- she is a great improvisor and that is what gets her through tough spots so i think that is a great virtue and i like her. i love "the winterstale" i think it is meant for adults but it sounds like a fairy tale sometimes and it tells the story of why people should have continued hope for love even if the experience tells them it is probably not going to happen. >> host: michael whitmore, to be or not to be -- what does that mean? >> guest: i struggled with that because i wrote the panel for the traveling exhibition. i think hamlet is saying i wake up every day and i have to ask myself why do i keep going?
and that is a question that deserves careful attention. and i think anyone who made to this point in their life and asks big questions they say what makes me get up and why would i keep going and i could become a person that doesn't exist anymore very easily. maybe that speech is about suicide, maybe it is just a thought experiment he is doing which is what i tend to believe it is. but he is talking himself into keeping going with life. it is interesting because you are hearing a very smart person talk himself through that decision. it is almost as if you are able to overhear the process he goes through to make that decision. >> host: what else do you want to though us here from the archives? >> guest: this is another version of the folio. it is the second folio printed in 1632.
this is an edition that was censored by a jeswit who went through and said these passage are fine but these are somewhat challenging. so the successor, this is his writing right here. you see here with the society of jesus. where as long as we don't do it for a long time we are fine. if i have the right page highlighted i will take off the snakes holding this page opening and then i will carefully opening the book to another page opening. you will see the cradles here and that is to make sure we don't stress the binding. that is where a book would break. if you come here and look at these passages they have been expunged and this is the end of a play called the life of king henry the eighth.
the passages here with praise of the new princess elizabeth who will become queen elizabeth. and queen elizabeth, if you are catholic, is a controversial figure because of her side in the post-reformation fallout. so the censors said you don't need that. you notice the rest, so much of the play, is perfectly fine. this shows us someone saying this is a marvelous document and play but i cannot handle or sanctions this particular bit. people have been censoring shakespeare for a long time. >> host: does he play blue? >> guest: he plays blue in purple. i think shakespeare has laid out the most challenging pictures of what humanity is capable.
good or bad it is out there. and that is what makes him a challenging writer. if you read a play like king leer and you want to wake up and be an optimist i don't think you can. i think that play shows humanity at its worst and raises question about is there a god? is there a course for good in the world? shakespeare looked at right in the eye and the answer is maybe n not. so it is not the answers you get from the plays that make them powerful. it is big question why do people lead? love? follow? why do they get up in the morning? why is it the things they think they want are not really what they want? and why are people successful in sometimes leading other do is a place where everybody needs to go? why are people so self-defe self-defeating? for example, in love, so many shakespeare's plays are about the way people set out to fall
in love with someone or create this happy marriage and the path is rocky because people seem to do the same thing over and over again that puts their beloved objeo object out of reach and shakespeare got that. it is a fascinating thing about human beings and he wrote about it. he wrote about all kinds of people, too. you have prostitutes, kings, criminals, fairy spirits, people who turn into donki pp kshgdonk. you get a lot. this picture extends through the renaissance and the european renaissan renaissance. we cover print through the 1470s through the 1830s which is the full emergence of the world including part of the world we are standing in now. this is a copy of "cicero" which
as a school boy book but this copy belonged to henry the viii. this is a copy he annotated and he said in this early modern spelling this book is mine. just so you know. >> host: who can access this besides you, c-span camera crew. how can you see this? >> guest: you can see it online by visivisiting our website. but if you are a reader here we will put many of these documents into your hands because people need to look at the real thing. you can learn so much by looking at a digital scan but upstairs you will find them who have
handled a hundred books or 500 early modern books and looking at the paper and ink and how it is annotated gives them extra information. it is like if you were to do a job interview face-to-face versus on the telephone you will prefer face to face because there is more information there. same thing with historical materials. the more you work with them the more you get a sense of how things are put together. we will move around a little more. i want to show you a couple more things. this is called the bishops bible and it is queen elizabeth's first bible. >> host: this is her bible? >> guest: it is her bible and given to her my matthew parker and probably used in her chapel. so the readings during celebrations in her chapel would come from this book. you see it has a beautiful red cover.
this is a very expensive book with the tudor roses here. it has her identifying marks here, elizabeth regina, saying she is the queen. you can see on this side, if the cameras can come in, this has been textured so the side has a set of patterns carved into it. when i think about this book, peter, this is the equivalent in the sense it is complicated for the amount of learning and craft you have to develop as a community to get to the point where you can create a book like this is tremendous. and that is why it is created in this way because it is given to elizabeth and it is monument. it is not made out of stone but it is fabulously complicated
object. the sources for these are greek and latin so you need classical language training. >> host: when you see this beautiful i want to say print, or you tell me what it is, the colors are so vivid 400 years later. >> guest: this is a wonderful example of hand colored or hand tinted print. this is the latin term here meaning the theater of the world or the globe. and you have these figures here representing africa here. another figure here. you have some pretty grisly stuff down here and you have probably something look like the
g goddess wisdom. this is a high quality print and someone hand colored the page itself. and this edition is wonderful because the hand coloring extends to every plate in the editi edition. i will show you this one. this one is europe and some of this is known well and some is not known well. you can see the cathedral with the national borders at the time it was created. england, ireland, scotland here. >> host: pretty accurate map. >> guest: this is pretty accurate. the way in which the atlantic takes shape is through exploration of mapping. so our collection holds a large quantity of items about that exploration moment when includes
the moment when elizabeth and jack welcome to the united states. so you have colonies and james town and that is shakespeare's world planting itself in north america. that is a complicated history and part of the history of this country and part of what was good and bad about colonialism. >> host: was shakespeare aware of this? >> guest: yes, he was. when he wrote the temp he read a pamphlet about a shipwreck in bermuda. he never visited. but when he is using the phrase brave new world he is saying there is a place that hasn't been explored and is overturning
expectations of what human means are like. that is something that is firing his imagination. >> host: how about one more from the archives and then i want to go up to the theater. >> guest: sure. this is a copy of the shooting script for henry the fifth. this is a film from 1945. this gives us the notes to how they wanted this shot. the film, maybe you have seen it, is created during the second world war. here is this famous frame from one of the battle scenes. this was viewed as a piece of propaganda during the second world war because it is stirring and so much of the play is
supportive of the idea of london being triumphant. so we have a cling-on tranilation of hamlet here. hamlet louis barletta translated into a lot of different langu e languages. the linguist said i need to do hamlet and he did and that is in our collection. this is perhaps my favorite item in the collection. this is a modest copy of shakespeare's poems from the 18th century. it is portable and you can keep it in your pocket. but this is the copy walt whitman kept in his pocket. this particular book represents, i think the direct connection between the renaissance lyric
tradition, and the kind of poetry that whitman and others were creating as an american living in the 19th century. this is really one of the reasons why the two cultures are connecting and an important reason why this collection is here in washington. >> host: we very much appreciate you sharing this with us and our viewers. let's go up to the theater. >> guest: great. >> host: michael whitmore, is this a public institution, so what is your budget? >> guest: we are a public institution. i will tell you a story about our birth certificate kind of. when mr. and mrs. folger wanted to create this library they brought the property for this parcel which is across from the future supreme court and across from the jefferson building. he learned new yoin the new yors
the congress was about to take over this block. he wrote to the library saying i have a collection of shakespeare materials that you could not afford to create. it is the best in the world and it is my intention to make a gift for the american people of this collection. and so the librarian went to the congress and said we need to exte extempt that part of the parcel so the folger's can build this library. and in the record it said the folger's created an institution dedicated to the public. it says they are doing the work that the library of congress can't do because of the depression. we were born as an institution to serve the nation. but what is interesting about us is we don't have federal funding. mr. and mrs. folger created an endowment managed by a college
but we are not a college or university so we cannot charge tuition and we are not a federal institution so we don't get federal funds unless it is a grant. so we have to be sel self-sustaining. about half of the budget comes from endowments and we raise the rest. so it is important to raise money and give us the ability to be the public institution we were created to be. we have about 120 full-time employees. our building was probably created for a quarter of that. we have space needs and a challenge is how to keep this growing collection here and just share it with the public. >> host: michael whitmore, is the director of the folger shakespeare library. on april 23ered, saturday, join booktv live from the