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Folger Shakespeare Library
Folger Shakespeare Library
Great Hall, 201 East Capitol Street, SE
Washington, DC
free
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We will never have a photograph of William Shakespeare or a recording of his voice, but we can catch glimpses of the man in this stunning array of documents from his own lifetime.

Shakespeare, Life of an Icon brings together some of the most important manuscripts and printed books related to Shakespeare's life and career, drawn from the Folger collection and other major British and US institutions. Among them: deeds recording Shakespeare's real estate purchases, drafts of the heraldic grant of arms that he helped his father to obtain, diary entries about seeing his plays and buying his works, and quick takes on Shakespeare's fast-rising reputation—from disdained, "upstart crow" in 1592, to the "sweet swan of Avon," as his friend Ben Jonson describes him in the preliminary material to the first edition of Shakespeare's collected works, the 1623 First Folio.