News And Events

Acclaimed Author Andrea Mays Tells the Miraculous and Romantic Story of the Making of the First Folio

Special 'Meet and Greet the Author' Buffet Reception Follows Lecture

Andrea Mays, acclaimed author and distinguished scholar, will present a lecture on her newly published book, "The Millionaire and the Bard: Henry Folger's Obsessive Hunt for Shakespeare's First Folio." The free lecture program is sponsored by The English-Speaking Union Kansas City Branch and co-sponsored by the Kansas City Public Library. It will be held at the downtown Central Library on Tuesday, May 24, 2016. The public is invited.

The late 19th- and early 20th-century millionaire businessman Henry Clay Folger and his wife Emily spent a lifetime tracking down one of literature's greatest treasures, the first collection of Shakespeare's plays. Known as the First Folio, it was published seven years after the Bard's death in 1616. Today it is the most valuable book in the world. Recently one sold for over five million dollars.

It is the book that rescued the name of William Shakespeare and half of his plays from oblivion.

When Shakespeare died in 1616 half of his plays died with him. No one—not even their author—believed that his writings would last, that he was a genius, or that future generations would celebrate him as the greatest author in the history of the English language.

The Millionaire and the Bard is a literary detective story, the tale of two mysterious men—a brilliant author and his obsessive collector—separated by space and time. It is a tale of two cities—Elizabethan and Jacobean London and Gilded Age New York. It is a chronicle of two worlds—of art and commerce—that unfolded an ocean and three centuries apart. And it is the thrilling tale of the luminous book that saved the name of William Shakespeare "to the last syllable of recorded time."

The Millionaire and the Bard tells the miraculous and romantic story of the making of the First Folio, and of the American industrialist, Henry Clay Folger, whose thrilling pursuit of the book became a lifelong obsession. Folger and his wife founded the Shakespeare Folger Library to house his volumes and other Shakespeare materials, and it now holds 82 of the 234 copies of the Folio known to still exist.

About the Author

Andrea E. Mays has degrees in economics from the State University of New York at Binghamton and from UCLA, and teaches economics at California State University at Long Beach. Like Henry Folger, she is a native New Yorker and has had a lifelong Shakespeare obsession. She spent much of her Manhattan youth in the New York Public Library listening to vinyl LP recordings of performances by the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. The Millionaire and the Bard is her first book.

Date: May 24, 2016

Time: Reception: 6:00 pm; Lecture: 6:30 pm

Where: Kansas City Public Library, Central Library downtown - 14 W. 10th St. Kansas City, Mo.

Admission: This is a free lecture program, open to the public; however, RSVPs are required. Click here to RSVP. Limited seating.

Book Signing: Mrs. Mays will be autographing her new book immediately after the lecture. The Millionaire and the Bard will be available for purchase.

This lecture is part of special programming throughout Kansas City to commemorate the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare's death including a special upcoming exhibit at the Central Library, "First Folio! The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare" on tour from the Folger Shakespeare Library.

A Special Post-Lecture
Meet and Greet the Author, Buffet Reception

What:The ESU Kansas City Branch is hosting a special Post-Lecture Fundraising Buffet Reception for ESU members and guests to personally meet author Andrea Mays. Join us for a wonderful buffet reception after the lecture at one of Kansas City's finest restaurants. Cash bar available.

When:Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Time:8:00 pm

Where: Charisse Restaurant, 1006 Walnut, downtown Kansas City. The food is described as a blend of old French and modern American. From the library, walk one-half block to Main Street and turn south to arcade entrance. Go up the escalator. Charisse is at the end of the corridor facing Walnut Street.

Tickets for Fundraiser Reception: $50 per person includes delightful buffet selection of food from Charisse's top award-winning recipes, including dessert. Gratuity included. As a fundraiser, approximately one-half of ticket price will be a tax-deductible donation to the ESU Education Fund.

RSVP and Purchase Tickets: Click Here to purchase tickets. Major credit cards accepted.

"The Millionaire and the Bard, Andrea Mays' labor-of-love history of the Shakespeare's First Folio and of Standard Oil executive Henry Folger's obsession to acquire every possible copy . . . gives an exacting and very readable account of how the folio came to be — and how easily it might not have been." —Dallas Morning News

"A love story . . . Fun and even suspenseful . . . A well-researched and surprisingly engrossing account." —The Wall Street Journal

"The Millionaire and the Bard weaves a thrilling tale of literary detective work, high financial stakes, and the vision of one man, Henry Folger, to preserve one of the great written treasures of civilization. A splendid debut by Andrea Mays."
—Amanda Foreman, author of Georgiana and A World on Fire

"Fascinating … illuminating … poignant. … Recommended for all book lovers, Shakespeare fans, and anyone interested in America's Gilded Age." —Library Journal


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