FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (February 26, 2015)
Folger Shakespeare Library Announces 52 Host Sites Across the Country for Traveling Exhibit to Mark the 400th Anniversary of Shakespeare’s Death (1616-2016).
NOTRE DAME, INDIANA— Shakespeare at Notre Dame and the University of Notre Dame’s Hesburgh Library have been selected as the host site for the state of Indiana for First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare, a national traveling exhibition of the Shakespeare First Folio, one of the world’s most treasured books. The Folger Shakespeare Library, in partnership with Cincinnati Museum Center and the American Library Association, is touring a First Folio of Shakespeare in 2016 to all 50 states, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico.
“Shakespeare at Notre Dame is honored to partner with the Hesburgh Library’s Rare Books Collection and the Folger Shakespeare Library in serving as the sole Indiana venue for First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare," said Scott Jackson, Executive Director of Shakespeare at Notre Dame. “Our mission is to directly engage our audiences with the works of Shakespeare both on the page and on the stage. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to host the First Folio in a venue as iconic as Notre Dame’s Hesburgh Library will provide the wider Michiana community with an entirely new way to experience one of the world’s greatest dramatists.”
Many of Shakespeare's plays, which were written to be performed, were not published during his lifetime. The First Folio is the first collected edition of Shakespeare’s plays. It was published in 1623, seven years after Shakespeare’s death. Two of Shakespeare’s fellow actors compiled 36 of his plays, hoping to preserve them for future generations. Without it, we would not have 18 of Shakespeare’s plays, including Macbeth, Julius Caesar, Twelfth Night, The Tempest, Antony and Cleopatra, The Comedy of Errors, and As You Like It.
“The First Folio is the book that gave us Shakespeare. Between its covers we discover his most famous characters—Hamlet, Desdemona, Cordelia, Macbeth, Romeo, Juliet and hundreds of others—speaking words that continue to move and inspire us,” said Michael Witmore, Director of the Folger Shakespeare Library. “Shakespeare tells the human story like no one else. He connects us to each other, to our history, and to themes and ideas that touch us every day. We are delighted that we can share this precious resource with people everywhere, from San Diego, California to Gurabo, Puerto Rico, from Eugene, Oregon to Duluth, Minnesota.”
The Folger Shakespeare Library holds 82 copies of the First Folio, by far the largest collection in the world and more than a third of the 233 known copies in the world today. It is believed that 750 copies were originally printed. The Shakespeare First Folio is one of the most valuable printed books in the world; a First Folio sold for $6.2 million in 2001 at Christie’s and another one for $5.2 million in 2006 in London. It originally sold for one British pound (20 shillings)—about $200 today. When the First Folio arrives at the University of Notre Dame, its pages will be opened to the most quoted line from Shakespeare and one of the most quoted lines in the world, “To be or not to be” from Hamlet. Accompanying the rare book will be a multi-panel exhibition exploring the significance of Shakespeare, then and now, with additional digital content and interactive activities. During the exhibition, Shakespeare at Notre Dame is planning numerous programs for the public and families around the First Folio exhibition. Final touring dates for First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare will be announced in April 2015.
First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the Human Endeavor, and by the generous support of Vinton and Sigrid Cerf and the Google Inc. Charitable Giving Fund of Tides Foundation. Sponsorship opportunities of this major exhibition and the Folger’s other Wonder of Will programs commemorating the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death are available; learn more at www.folger.edu.
About Shakespeare at Notre Dame:
Shakespeare at Notre Dame (S@ND) is a program that recognizes the centrality of the study of Shakespeare in humanistic pedagogy at the University of Notre Dame. To that end, the current programs and future prospects that comprise S@ND have created a regional center for Shakespearean scholarship, production, educational outreach, and academic research by enmeshing programs as far-reaching and diverse as Actors From The London Stage, the Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival, visiting guest artists and lecturers, touring productions, and new media library collections; ensuring Notre Dame’s status as a nationally visible—and the Midwest’s pre-eminent—venue for Shakespeare Studies.
About the University of Notre Dame’s Hesburgh Library:
The Theodore M. Hesburgh Libraries contain about 3.5 million volumes, more than 3 million electronic titles, microform units, and audiovisual items in support of learning, teaching, and research. The Department of Rare Books and Special Collections is located on the main floor of the Hesburgh Library. Holdings include more than 175,000 volumes of printed books and periodicals, and about 6,000 linear feet of manuscript holdings ranging from medieval codices to collections dating from the late twentieth century, and various other format materials including printed ephemera, maps, newspapers, numismatic and philatelic items.
About Folger Shakespeare Library:
The Folger Shakespeare Library is a world-renowned center for scholarship, learning, culture, and the arts. It is home to the world’s largest Shakespeare collection and a primary repository for rare materials from the early modern period (1500-1750). The Folger is an internationally recognized research library offering advanced scholarly programs in the humanities; an innovator in the preservation of rare materials; a national leader in how Shakespeare is taught in grades K–12; and an award-winning producer of cultural and arts programs—theatre, music, poetry, exhibits, lectures, and family programs. Learn more at www.folger.edu
About Cincinnati Museum Center:
Cincinnati Museum Center (CMC) at Union Terminal is a nationally recognized institution and national historic landmark. Dedicated to sparking community dialogue, insight and inspiration, CMC was awarded the 2009 National Medal for Museum and Library Service from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and received accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums in 2012. CMC is one of only 16 museums in the nation with both of these honors, making it a unique asset and a vital community resource. Union Terminal has been voted the nation's 45th most important building by the American Institute of Architects. Organizations within CMC include the Cincinnati History Museum, Duke Energy Children's Museum, Museum of Natural History & Science, Robert D. Lindner Family OMNIMAX® Theater, and Cincinnati History Library & Archives. Recognized by Forbes Traveler Magazine as the 17th most visited museum in the country, CMC welcomes more than one million visitors annually. For more information, visit www.cincymuseum.org
About the American Library Association:
The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with approximately 58,000 members in academic, public, school, government, and special libraries. The mission of the American Library Association is to provide leadership for the development, promotion, and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all. ALA’s Public Programs Office provides leadership, resources, training, and networking opportunities that help thousands of librarians nationwide develop and host cultural programs for adult, young adult, and family audiences. The mission of the ALA Public Programs Office is to promote cultural programming as an essential part of library service in all types of libraries. Projects include book and film discussion series, literary and cultural programs featuring authors and artists, professional development opportunities, and traveling exhibitions. School, public, academic, and special libraries nationwide benefit from the office’s programming initiatives. Additional information can be found at www.ala.org/programming
About the National Endowment for the Humanities:
Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at www.neh.gov
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