A Program By Any Name: Calling All Theater Goers and Performers!

Shakespeare Celebration BookmarkWe need your help! The Archives and Rare Books Library is expanding its Shakespeare holdings as part of the 2016 quadricentennial . In our effort to document and preserve the heritage of Shakespeare productions in the greater Cincinnati area over the past two centuries, we’re building an archival collection of local Shakespeare play programs. It doesn’t matter if they are from 1902 or two days ago. They can be programs from performances by CCM, high schools, professional theater groups, or the couple next door who are forever emoting on Romeo and Juliet. It doesn’t matter! The only requirement we have is that the performance took place somewhere in the tri-state.

Please mail your submissions to the Archives and Rare Books Library, P.O. Box 210113, Cincinnati, OH 45211-0113 or drop them by our library on the 8th floor of Blegen Library. If you have any questions, just contact us via email (archives@mail.uc.edu) or give us a call Monday through Friday, 8-5, at (513) 556-1959.

Thank you all so much for following our celebration, and a special thanks to anyone who can contribute. We can’t wait to see the wonderful programs you have in store for us! To learn more about our Shakespeare commemoration, have a look at our web page, http://libapps.libraries.uc.edu/exhibits/shakespeare400/.

Program for Macbeth at CCMScript of Hamlet, presented in Music Hall, Cincinnati

Will(iam) You Allow Me To Deviate?

By:  Sydney Vollmer, ARB Intern

William Shakespeare     I’m going to depart from the traditional format of my blog posts for just a moment. Instead of trying to share some story or educate you on our holdings, I would rather take a second and start a discussion with all of you.

Recently I came across an article in the Wall Street Journal, titled, “The Coming Shakespeare Extravaganza” (you may have seen it on our Facebook page). The article goes over the impending 400th anniversary celebrations, but it also asks if we are celebrating William too much. I would like to ask you all the same question, but in broader terms. Continue reading Will(iam) You Allow Me To Deviate?

UC Celebrates Its Library’s Founding Collection as It Celebrates Shakespeare 400

Shakespeare Celebration BookmarkEvents around the world will mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death in April. University of Cincinnati Libraries are showcasing UC’s rare Shakespeare collections and highlights of the UC Shakespeare Tercentenary a century ago.

Cultural, creative and educational organizations around the world will kick off celebrations honoring the legacy of William Shakespeare as the world observes the 400th anniversary of his death, which was on April 23, 1616. Here at the University of Cincinnati, the Archives & Rare Books Library’s Shakespeare collection is one of the university’s original library collections, purchased for the university back in the 1890s.

The Enoch T. Carson collection holds more than 250 volumes. The collection has illustrations from editions of Shakespeare’s works along with pamphlets, clippings, excerpts, criticism, almanacs and various souvenirs that were collected by Carson. Over the past century, dozens of additional volumes have augmented that original collection, including rare editions illustrated by Edmund Dulac, Arthur Rackham, and W. Heath Robinson. Continue reading UC Celebrates Its Library’s Founding Collection as It Celebrates Shakespeare 400

The Art Family Robinson, or, A Picture is Worth 1000 Words…Maybe That’s Why Books are Illustrated

By:  Sydney Vollmer, ARB Intern

hermia-helena-1Our Shakespeare family is growing! This week, we received a copy of A Midsummer Night’s Dream with illustrations by W. Heath Robinson! Sure, sure. We know you already know the play, but do you know this illustrator?

Heath Robinson (weird that he goes by his middle name, especially when it’s also the middle name of one of his brothers) was born to illustrate in May of the year 1872. Even if he hadn’t had any talent, some form of artistry was surely expected of him. His father and both of his brothers all worked as illustrators. Heath, himself, aspired to paint landscapes. Why, I will never understand. Fortunately for us book lovers, he found little success with that venture and thus was born another illustrator to the Robinson family. Continue reading The Art Family Robinson, or, A Picture is Worth 1000 Words…Maybe That’s Why Books are Illustrated

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?

By: Sydney Vollmer, ARB Intern, 2015-2016

I’m not one to frequent dinner parties, seeing as my peers are assuredly drowning in some form of debt and being strangled by the long, drawn out sentences that fill the pages of their textbooks. However, if I were to be seated at any table of twelve, these Shakespearean dinner place cards would turn a regular dinner into a fancy party. No Pinterest expert I, but if it had existed when these cards came out, I’m sure they would have made their way to social media in a heartbeat.

These particular cards are antiques, but no one is stopping you from typing them out and printing them on fancy paper so you too can have an Elizabethan inspired night. Make your guests feel welcomed and appreciated with sentiments strung together from six of Shakespeare’s plays.

Shakespeare Dinner CardIf thou wantest anything, and will not call, beshrew thy heart ­­Henry IV, Part 2; V:3. Continue reading Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?

Illustrating Shakespeare’s Plays, Part the Second – Edmund Dulac

By: Sydney Vollmer, ARB Intern

Tempest IllustrationNot too long ago, I posted a blog focused on Arthur Rackham and his illustrations. It’s time for Part 2, this time featuring Rackham’s most worthy competition, Edmund Dulac.

A year ago, when I was asked what I thought about Edmund Dulac’s artistic style, I said, “I think his illustrations are a little darker and less whimsical than the others [Arthur Rackham and Hugh Thomson]”. However, my tastes must have changed over time. Looking through Dulac’s illustrations in Shakespeare’s The Tempest, I find myself in love with his use of color and the way he blends it so beautifully. It’s interesting to see the different styles, as well as the histories which led each artist to his renown. Continue reading Illustrating Shakespeare’s Plays, Part the Second – Edmund Dulac

Illustrating Shakespeare’s Plays (Pt. 1)

By:  Sydney Vollmer, ARB Intern

Illustration from A Midsummer Night's DreamArthur Rackham was born to a legal clerk and the daughter of a draper on September 19, 1867 in Lambeth, London. And very nearly seventy-two years later, his life ceased on September 6, 1939 in Stilegate.  Cancer is what took him, but certainly not before he had lived a full life.

Before he became an illustrator, Rackham began employment as a clerk in 1885 at the age of eighteen, following in his father’s footsteps.  Ultimately, though, this brought him no joy so he took night classes at the Lambeth School of Art. By 1884, his art, a satirical political drawing, was published in Scraps magazine and by 1892, he resigned from the life of a clerk to become a full-time illustrator with the Pall Mall Budget, later continuing his career in two other publications, the Westminster Budget and the Westminster Gazette. Continue reading Illustrating Shakespeare’s Plays (Pt. 1)

Wherefore ART Thou, Romeo?

By:  Sydney Vollmer, ARB Intern

Because he’s so given to romantic portraiture, and so is Juliet. Below, I have hand-selected fifteen images from six different editions of Romeo and Juliet. One of the great things about this collection is how many illustrated renditions there are of each play. For this blog, I chose to feature Romeo and Juliet because it’s a story with which everyone is familiar and there are a few different artistic styles captured within the works. I hope you enjoy as you peruse some images from our collection, and if there is another Shakespearian work from which you would like to see illustrations, please make an appointment to visit our library, or let me know by sending us a message on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ArchivesRareBooksLibraryUniversityOfCincinnati, calling 513.556.1959, visiting our website at http://www.libraries.uc.edu/arb.html or emailing us at archives@ucmail.uc.edu. Continue reading Wherefore ART Thou, Romeo?

O’Hamlet: What Your Teacher Didn’t Tell You

By:   Sydney Vollmer, ARB Intern

Hamlet AnimationSure, and you’ve wondered about your heritage? Where did you come from? Where did it all start? And surely, you’ve wondered these same questions about the books you read?

Much of Cincinnati has Irish heritage, and you probably know that. But did you know that the story of Hamlet also has Irish roots? It’s true.  It has often been said that Shakespeare probably stole the idea for his play from the works of the Scandinavian poet, Snow Bear. However, Dr. Lisa Collinson of the University of Aberdeen has researched the origin of the Dane’s story for years and reaches the conclusion that Hamlet’s roots go back even further than Snow Bear. Continue reading O’Hamlet: What Your Teacher Didn’t Tell You

You’re Probably More Like a Groundling Than You Think

By:  Sydney Vollmer, ARB Intern

Globe TheatreI’m pretty sure that during a quiz my freshman year of high school I couldn’t remember the term for the people who stood in the pit of the Globe Theatre to save my life. I sat in my honors English course feeling very stupid, and eventually turning in my quiz knowing I had failed to comprehend even the simplest term surrounding Shakespeare.

Now I’m aware, as I’m sure you are as well, that those smelly folks who couldn’t afford more than a penny to see a show were called groundlings. A penny may seem like nothing to us now, but back then it was the equivalent to 10% of one day’s wage (Globe Theatre Groundlings, n.d.). The majority of groundlings were London apprentices who were shirking their trades to see a show. This led to disgruntled employers as well as some rowdy activity in the crowds, due to the age of most groundlings. The players were not entirely happy either. As Shakespeare’s Hamlet speaks of the groundlings in Act 3, Scene 2:

“O, it offends me to the soul to hear a robustious periwig-pated fellow tear a passion to tatters, to very rags, to split the ears of the groundlings, who for the most part are capable of nothing but inexplicable dumb shows and noise.”

Continue reading You’re Probably More Like a Groundling Than You Think