The Furness Memorial Library is devoted to the study of Shakespeare and other Tudor and Stuart dramatists. It includes most writings in English--as well as writings in many other languages--about Shakespeare and virtually all English-language editions of his plays and poems, including the first four folios, some early quartos, and other editions up to the present time. Translations of Shakespeare into many world languages are a special focus of the collection. Promptbooks, biographies, photographs, letters, scrapbooks (with reviews and news reports about Shakespearean performances and performers), and playbills offer rich resources for early stage history. In addition, the Library gathers primary and secondary information about the history of the Renaissance, especially in England but also on the Continent, and Shakespeare's predecessors, contemporaries, and successors among English Renaissance literary writers, particularly dramatists.
Current scholarship in the Furness Collection is housed in the Furness Shakespeare Library, Van Pelt 628, where it may be accessed during the hours Van Pelt-Dietrich Library is open. These books are non-circulating. Older materials in the Furness Collection must be consulted in the Kislak Center Reading Room (Van Pelt 616).