Alan Keen Collection

Scope and Content

Photostats, press-cuttings, unpublished essays and research notes relating to the annotated copy of Edward Halle's The union of two noble and illustrate famelies of Lancastre and Yorke, (1550), collected by Alan Keen. The copy contains over 400 marginal notes believed by Keen to be written by Shakespeare and evidence of Shakespeare's residence in Lancashire at the home of Alexander Houghton. Keen published his findings in The annotator: the pursuit of an Elizabethan reader of Halle's Chronicle, involving some surmises about the early life of William Shakespeare, (London: Putman, 1954).

Administrative / Biographical History

Alan Keen was a London bookseller and manuscript dealer.

Reference: University of Birmingham, Special Collections Department, Online Archive Catalogue ( Accessed May 2002.

Access Information

Open. Access to all registered researchers.

Other Finding Aids

A catalogue is available in electronic format on the University of Birmingham Special Collections website: A paper catalogue to file and item level is available in the Shakespeare Institute Library.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the University Archivist, Special Collections. Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Special Collections will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.


Further deposits are expected.