Shakespeare on Page and Stage

Curated by Pablo Alvarez and Juli McLoone (Outreach Librarians & Curators at the University of Michigan Special Collections Library)


Our exhibit, Shakespeare on Page and Stage: A Celebration, is a virtual record of the physical exhibit that took place in the Audubon Room of Hatcher January 11-April 27, 2016. As the title playfully suggests, the exhibit is a historical journey through different versions of Shakespeare’s plays as they were edited for publication or interpreted for the stage. Starting with the Second Folio (1632), our online display includes a selection of landmark editions by authors and scholars like John Dryden, Nicholas Rowe, Alexander Pope, Samuel Johnson, and Edmond Malone. It explores the staging and costuming of productions such as Charles Kean’s archaeologically informed, elaborately costumed 1856 production of The Winter’s Tale, and the Maurice Browne  & Ellen Van Volkenburg 1930 production of Othello, casting Paul Robeson as the first black actor to play Othello on the London stage in almost a century.

Most of the titles in this exhibit come from the McMillan Shakespeare Library. Materials are also displayed from the Maurice Browne and Ellen Van Volkenburg Papers, 1772-1983 and the Zelma Weisfeld Archive, 1954-2006. All these books and artifacts are held at the University of Michigan Special Collections Research Center. Additionally, this online exhibit showcases the U-M Wolverine Press students setting the type for a replica of a gathering from the second quarto of Hamlet (1604). Finally, the exhibit ends with a selection of five video clips from films based on Shakespeare's plays.

Four Hundred Years of Shakespeare!

The First Folio of Shakespeare was published in November 1623, only seven years after the death of the author at..

The Quartos

When reading a Shakespeare's play printed in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, we might detect some peculiar features such as..

The Folios

The editors of the First Folio, John Heminge and Henry Condell, had been associates of Shakespeare since he established himself..

Hamlet and the Wolverine Press

An extraordinary project was undertaken at the Wolverine Press, the letterpress studio at the University of Michigan. Led by Rebecca..

Shakespeare & The Restoration

By the second half of the seventeenth century, Shakespeare was already considered a dated author. Thus, following the example of..

Illustrating Shakespeare

Nicholas Rowe (1674-1718) was the first major editor of the complete works of Shakespeare. While Rowe mainly relied on the Fourth..

Editing Shakespeare

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) became notorious for imposing contemporary taste on the language of Shakespeare, highlighting the most remarkable passages with commas..

Building Worlds

Cymbeline: Ancient Britain in Art Nouveau
Written around 1609-1610, Cymbeline shares the mythic character and genre-mixing qualities of Shakespeare's other late..

Embodying Characters

A Victorian View of the Ancient World in Charles Kean's The Winter's Tale
In The Winter's Tale, King Leontes of Sicily wrongfully..

New interpretations

Desdemona in her Own Words
Desdemona is a difficult Shakespearean heroine for modern audiences to grapple with. The spontaneity and afffection..

Shakespeare in Film

Julius Caesar

View video on YouTube
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View video on YouTube
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Richard III

View video on YouTube
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Romeo and Juliet

View video on YouTube


Curators Pablo Alvarez and Juli McLoone would like to express their most sincere gratitude to all who contributed their expertise..

Rights and Permissions Statement

The University of Michigan Library has placed copies of these works online for educational and research purposes. These works may..

Accessing Shakespeare Resources in Special Collections

University of Michigan Special Collections Research Center materials are non-circulating (you can't take them with you). Instead, we ask that..