Education: Open House

When Historian Louis Booker Wright took over as director of Washington's Folger Shakespeare Library in July 1948, he found the entrance to the reading room barred by a red silken rope and two guards. He promptly ordered the rope sent to the attic, cut the guard force by a third, put the remaining guards to work as janitors. Said Wright: "I came here to make an institution come alive, not to preside over a mausoleum."

Before Wright, Folger was sometimes known as a literary Fort Knox, with its invaluable treasures buried in regulations. Built and...

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