National Geographic : 1951 Sep
424 "In Sweet Music Is Such Art, Killing Care and Grief of Heart," Wrote Shakespeare Sixteenth-century scenes can be recreated in minute detail almost anywhere in the Folger. Library assistant Elizabeth Niemyer strums an original Padua lute, using a rare volume of Elizabethan music as her score. One of a number of musical antiques owned by the library, this lute is believed to be the oldest in existence today. It was made in 1598. Miss Niemyer's ermine-ruffled costume was worn by Ida Vernon as the ill-fated Queen Gertrude in Edwin Booth's production of Hamlet. into retirement and produced these literary masterpieces. The Folger takes no official stand in the many controversies on authorship. Because of this, Baconians often unjustly accuse the institution of withholding evidence. "They think we know the real truth," Dr. Giles Dawson, curator of books and manu scripts, declared, "but don't dare admit it." Once the Folger made an outright con version. One doubting man, a retired at torney, came to the library armed with Ox fordian reports from New York papers. He argued his point and then thoughtfully listened to what Dr. James B. McManaway, consultant in literature and bibliography, had to say. "Can you," he asked, "in 10 minutes show me documents that substantiate the Strat fordian claim?" By the time he left, he announced he was "for Shakespeare 100 percent." The Folger carries on a brisk correspond ence with Shakespearean scholars and stu dents all over the world. A South African professor sent in his manu script for the library to check. A British soldier who wrote a study of Hamlet while in a German prison camp asked for and was furnished some photostats from Folger to help in his research. Shakespeare in Pidgin English A GI in the Pacific in World War II proudly sent in the "Friends, Romans, countrymen" speech from Julius Caesar in South Sea pidgin English. He had heard a mission-trained boy recite it and copied it down phonetically. The library exhibited it. Occasionally the Folger staff gets a letter that really stumps them all. It usually comes from a schoolboy or girl. And it is usually short and to the point. It asks: "Please tell me all you know about Shakespeare."