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Shakespeare died 400 years ago, but today more people than ever know his name, and his plays are among the best-selling works of all time. Shakespeare’s enduring fame was predicted by one of his playwriting friends, Ben Jonson. After Shakespeare’s death, Ben Jonson described him as “a monument without a tomb” and proclaimed that “he was not of an age but for all time!” The first edition of his collected plays in 1623, known as the First Folio, solidified this legacy, and original copies are considered to be some of the most valuable books in the world.

Shakespeare died on April 23, 1616, at the age of 52. He was buried two days later in Holy Trinity Church at Stratford-upon-Avon. The epitaph on his monument, written soon after, refers to him as a writer whose wit exceeds that of all living writers: “all that he hath writ / leaves living art but page unto his wit.” Friends and colleagues acknowledged the loss of the great writer in their own epitaphs and elegies, contributing to his posthumous role as a literary icon.  

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1625
The antiquarian Richard James (1592-1638), fellow of Christ Church College, Oxford, explains in this dedicatory letter to Sir Henry Bourchier why Shakespeare changed the character originally named “Sir John Oldcastle” to one named “Sir John Falstaff” in Henry IV, Parts
ca. 1622- 1625
SHAKESPEARE DOCUMENTED IS STILL GROWING! Descriptive content and transcriptions will continue to be added, updated and expanded. Check back for regular updates!
ca. 1616- 1630
SHAKESPEARE DOCUMENTED IS STILL GROWING! Descriptive content and transcriptions will continue to be added, updated and expanded. Check back for regular updates!
ca. 1620- 1630
SHAKESPEARE DOCUMENTED IS STILL GROWING! Descriptive content and transcriptions will continue to be added, updated and expanded. Check back for regular updates!
ca. 1630s
SHAKESPEARE DOCUMENTED IS STILL GROWING! Descriptive content and transcriptions will continue to be added, updated and expanded. Check back for regular updates!
1631
SHAKESPEARE DOCUMENTED IS STILL GROWING! Descriptive content and transcriptions will continue to be added, updated and expanded. Check back for regular updates!
ca. 1632
Stratford-upon-Avon is identified as the birthplace of William Shakespeare in a jest-book first printed in 1630, descriptively titled A Banquet of Ieasts. Or Change of Cheare. Being a Collection of Moderne Iests. Witty Ieeres. Pleasant Taunts. Merry Tales. Neuer before Imprinted.
1632
The lawsuit shown here, Heminges et al. v. Brend, is of greatest importance in allowing scholars to reconstruct the building of the 1599 Globe playhouse and its 1614 post-fire replacement in considerable financial detail.
April 24, 1633
The grant shown here needs to be read in the context of a fierce dispute between the zealous Puritan vicar of Holy Trinity Church, Thomas Wilson, and the more moderate majority of the Stratford Corporation.
ca. 1623- 1633
Humphrey Dyson (1582-1633) was probably the first owner of this copy of the first edition of Troilus and Cressida (1609), now in the Huntington Library. Dyson signed his name on the title page, as he did with many other volumes in his extensive library.

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