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Shakespeare Documented, the largest and most authoritative resource for learning about primary sources that document the life and career of William Shakespeare, launched today, January 20, at www.shakespearedocumented.org.

This free and publicly accessible online exhibition includes images, descriptions, and transcriptions of all known references and allusions to Shakespeare and his works during his lifetime and shortly after that, as well as additional references to his family.

"Never before have all of these resources been so readily available and searchable in a single place, for the use of the general public, teachers, and scholars alike," says Shakespeare Documented curatorHeather Wolfe.

Nearly 500 references, found in roughly 400 print and manuscript records, provide a rich portrait of Shakespeare as a professional playwright, actor, poet, businessman, and family man who lived in bothLondon and Stratford-upon-Avon, tracing his path from a man of his time to a household name today.

More than 30 institutions in the United States and the United Kingdom contributed to the project, with the majority of the documents coming from the Folger and its partners across the Atlantic: the Bodleian Libraries at Oxford University, the British Library, The National Archives, and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

Shakespeare Documented launched with 200 documents, and the descriptive content will continue to be added, updated and expanded throughout 2016. The site joins the Folger's extensive digital resources for students, researchers, and enthusiasts, including Folger Digital Texts and Early Modern Manuscripts Online.

Shakespeare Documented Highlights

  • The Parish Register for Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon, including the entries for Shakespeare's baptism and burial
  • The 1597 and 1602 final concords for Shakespeare's purchase of New Place
  • The 1613 bargain and sale and mortgage deed for the Blackfriars Gatehouse signed by Shakespeare
  • Shakespeare's signed last will and testament