The Folger Shakespeare Library

Frequently Asked Questions


How do I download transcriptions and images?

Transcriptions are available for downloading as PDFs (semi-diplomatic version) or as XML from the individual transcription pages. Images are available for download via the Folger’s digital image repository, Luna, and links are provided to the image for each transcription.


What is a semi-diplomatic transcription?

A semi-diplomatic transcription refers to a transcription in which a few small changes have been made in the text for ease of reading by a modern audience, e.g., common abbreviations have been expanded and archaic brevigraphs replaced by modern equivalents. Any expanded or replaced characters in the transcriptions will appear in italics. Original spelling of the text is preserved.


Where are the manuscripts kept?

The manuscripts are stored below ground at the Folger Shakespeare Library’s main building in Washington, DC. The location is called Deck C-Vault.


How can I learn secretary hand?

Our partner site, Shakespeare’s World has a brief tutorial, example alphabets, and plenty of opportunities to practice transcribing secretary hand. Other sites that provide assistance in learning about paleography include