Manuscript material within the Cambridge Shakespeare Collection, 1746-1923

Scope and Content

The main body of the collection consists of illustrations and printed items cut from books, newspapers and literary journals and concerning William Shakespeare, his life and work, his contemporaries, the performance and production of his work, places mentioned in his work, and Shakespearean actors. Sources used include: The Daily Graphic, The Sketch, The Publishers' Circular, The Bookman, T.P.'s Weekley and The Times Literary Supplement. The collection comprises:

Printed articles, letters and other prose articles cut from books, newspapers and literary journals relating to Shakespeare and the performance of his work. 1774-1921 (TCS 1);

Engravings, illustrations and photographs cut from books, newspapers and literary journals relating to Shakespeare and the performance of his work. 1746-1916 (TCS 2);

Printed advertisements cut from newspapers and literary journals, primarily relating to editions of Shakespeare's work. 1877-1910 (TCS 3);

Artwork for programmes for performances by the Bruges Shakespeare Club, 1894-1895. A poster for one of the club's performances appears amongst the advertisements (TCS 4);

Complete issues of newspapers: 'Stratford upon Avon Herald', a Shakespeare Memorial Theatre special edition dated 23 April 1923; and 'The Shake Spear', a tercentenary number dated 31 June 1913. (TCS 5).

Administrative / Biographical History

Henry Thomas Hall (1823-1894), a resident of Cambridge, was an active member of the Cambridge Garrick Club with a passion for the theatre in general and the work of Shakespeare in particular. His occasional publications on these interests include the titles: 'Cambridge Dramatic Album' (Cambridge, 1868); 'Shakspere's Plays' (Cambridge, 1880); 'Shaksperean Fly-Leaves etc.' (Cambridge, 1864); 'Shaksperean Statistics' (Cambridge, 1865). A one-act play in verse appeared under the title 'Ye latest edition of ye Rye House Plot, or ye maid, ye Monarch, and ye man' (Cambridge 1868).

The Cambridge Shakespeare Collection is primarily a library of printed works, containing editions and related historical and critical works about the dramatist William Shakespeare (1564-1616) and concerning the reception and performance of his work. It was built up by Henry Hall, who presented it in 1882 to Cambridge Free Library, where further additions were made to it. Hall also collected more generally in the area of dramatic texts and theatre studies 1750-1850, forming a collection which he also presented to the Cambridge Free Library where it was known as the Cambridge Drama Collection.

Ephemeral items found within the library of published works have been separated and identified as a private manuscript group within the Cambridge Shakespeare Collection. Material in this group was all apparently collected by Hall, drawing generally on newspapers, magazines and printed sources of ephemera. It is anticipated that further items may be added to this group as detailed work on the Collection continues.


The collection has been divided by document type into series. Within these series, items have been arranged chronologically where possible.

Access Information

Access restricted pending full listing and processing; prospective researchers should contact the Department for advice concerning available series.

Other Finding Aids

This description is the only publicly available finding aid available for the collection. Copyright on the description belongs to The University of Nottingham.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements


Conditions Governing Use

Reprographic copies can be supplied for educational use and private study purposes only, depending on access status and the condition of the documents.

Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the Keeper of Manuscripts and Special Collections (email

Custodial History

The Cambridge Shakespeare Collection was presented by Cambridge City Libraries, together with the Cambridge Drama Collection, to the University of Nottingham in 1960.

Related Material

The University of Nottingham, Manuscripts and Special Collections: Cambridge Shakespeare Collection of printed books and periodicals (CSC); Cambridge Drama Collection of printed books and periodicals (CDC) and manuscripts (TCD); and subscription books of the Cambridge Garrick Club, 1833-1843 (MS 265)