Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary

April 23, 2016 was the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death. Throughout 2016, global events are celebrating and honoring the enduring work and legacy of a man considered the greatest writer in the English language.

In the Woodson we have many fantastic examples of his works starting with the 1623 First Folio. Printed seven years after Shakespeare’s death, the folio is the first complete publication of Shakespeare’s works. The Woodson has three tragedies from the folio: King Lear, Othello, Antony & Cleopatra.


[Three tragedies from the first folio]. [Printed by Isaac Iaggard and Ed. Blount], 1623.

There are wonderful examples of the marginal notes and corrections that owners added to the First Folio.


This beautiful 20th century compilation of works by Shakespeare has metal pin and hole with leather straps.


The poems and sonnets of Shakspere [Shakespeare]/ with an introduction by Edward Dowden. London: K. Paul, Trench Trűbner, 1903.

From our beautiful Limited Editions collection we have the complete letterpress editions of “The Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies of William Shakespeare” published in 1939-1940. Each volume was illustrated by some of the very best illustrators of the day. Much Ado About Nothing includes watercolors by Fritz Kredel:

The comedies, histories & tragedies of William Shakespeare. The Limited Editions Club, 1939-1940.

The comedies, histories & tragedies of William Shakespeare. The Limited Editions Club, 1939-1940.

The play is the thing and in the Woodson we also have many examples of performances of Shakespeare’s works at Rice. Records from The Rice Players and BakerShake (Baker College’s annual performance of Shakespeare since 1970) include photographs, programs, and ephemera. From our Institutional repository here is Dr. Albert Van Helden performing Twelfth Night at BakerShake in 1972:

“Al Van Helden, History professor, during Twelfth Night at Baker Shakespeare, Rice University.” (1972) Rice University:

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