This is part of a weekly series here at TSS: Early Modern and Open Access regularly showcases peer-reviewed articles (or other resources) of interest to early modernists that are freely available in open access formats.
Shakespeare Documented is one of the first initiatives that has been launched by the Folger Shakespeare Library as part of their 2016 commemoration programme. In conjunction with partners including the British Library, the Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, and the National Archives, the Folger has produced what they describe as ‘the largest and most authoritative collection of primary-source materials documenting the life of William Shakespeare (1564-1616), bringing together all known manuscript and print references to Shakespeare, his works, and additional references to his family, in his lifetime and shortly thereafter’. The website includes reproductions and transcriptions of:
- 103 manuscripts that refer to William Shakespeare by name in his lifetime (spelled in many different ways, which was typical of the period), including four manuscripts signed by him, and one letter addressed to him
- 89 printed books and manuscripts from Shakespeare’s lifetime that mention or quote his plays or poems, or that refer to him directly or indirectly as a writer
- 34 Stationers’ Register entries for Shakespeare’s plays and poems, up to and including the First Folio (1623), five of which name him as author
- 84 printed editions of Shakespeare’s plays and poems, up to and including the First Folio (1623), 62 of which include his name on the title-page or dedicatory leaf
- More than 100 documents that refer to other members of Shakespeare’s family, including references to Shakespeare’s coat of arms