Tales of Shakespeare, collectors, love

SANTA FE, N.M. — It might be worth joining the Friends of the Library just to be included on the guest list for their get-togethers. They’re special.
I recently attended an intimate book-signing and casual talk held in the comfortable, relaxing atmosphere of a board member’s elegant home. The early evening event included an assortment of 60 very interesting, friendly people who were good at meaningful conversation with some depth, even at a cocktail party, along with a beautiful table filled with delicious homemade delectables, lovingly produced by board members from proven family recipes. Yum!

There was beautiful, unobtrusive, live music in the living room and the fulfillment of educational entertainment – the captivating talk by our guest speaker, author Stephen Grant, who was in town speaking about his biography, “Collecting Shakespeare: The Story of Henry and Emily Folger,” at the New Mexico Museum of Art during Santa Fe’s spectacular Shakespeare extravaganza. P.S., I heard the high point of his trip was speaking at this party, and no wonder!

Mr. Grant spoke about the process of writing his book about Emily and Henry Folger – two love stories, theirs for each other, and their shared passion for all things Shakespearean – and he told of his experience researching at the famous Folger Library that they built in Washington, D.C., foremost Shakespearean collection in the world. Mr. Folger ran Standard Oil for the Rockefeller family in the Gilded Age and Stephen Grant spoke casually, like old pals, about the time Mr. Folger had a fabulous opportunity to buy some very important Shakespearean books and had to borrow money from Mr. Rockefeller to pay for them.

He also shared an anecdote about the $10,000 checks Mr. Folger had written throughout his life. Mr. Grant has examined them all and thus has seen an intimate picture of the man through his expenditures. Remember that the next time you write out a check.

Then he modestly dropped a little bombshell: “I don’t have another book in me.” He said he had loved working on it, had a great time, but he is enjoying his life as it is with the book talks and touring, and writing short stories … a new chapter!

The Friends of the Library raised $2,500 this evening, which will fund various bibliophilistic activities, such as reading programs for children aged from 6 months through high school. The babies may not read, but they sure like to snuggle on somebody’s lap and be read to, and that lays a strong foundation for later reading interest and ability.
There are all sorts of fun reading and science programs for children (and adults) at the Santa Fe Library, and they are free to the community, sponsored by the Friends, a major gift to those who currently can’t read. Without the ability to read, where can anyone go in life? Just nowhere.

Did you know libraries evolved about 5000 B.C. as a place to store the clay tablets of the day? They used to be one of the main centers of a community when they were the locus of storage and gathering of information. Today, we can hop on our own computers and get information in seconds but, until just a minute ago, only libraries offered access to answers and info.
And not everything in the world has been entered into computers yet! Libraries still hold much that hasn’t made its way in, so you can sit in the stacks and pore through ancient tomes searching for just the right tidbit.

I went to the Friends website to see what they do, (a lot) and found it costs only $10 to join and they make it so easy! I pushed PayPal and now I am a Friend of the Library, too! I am looking forward to their future events. Maybe see you there!

Ashley Margetson has a B.A. in English from UCLA, is a senior real estate broker with Sotheby’s International Realty and has a finger on the pulse of philanthropic activities in Santa Fe. To tell us about an upcoming event, email apm@ashleymargetson.com.

Friends of the Library Co-President Lucinda Surber greets guests at the fundraiser.

Author Stephen Grant wrote about Henry and Emily Folger.

Betsy Robinson wears a Shakespearean cap while entertaining guests.

Library director Patricia Hodapp sits with author Stephen Grant and Susan Nalder.

Shakespeare scholar John Andrews chats with two other guests.

Hostess Joan Less mingles with guests at a Friends of the Library fundraiser.

Friends of the Library members pick out some choice morsels from the delicious edible offerings.





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