Project description

Illustrating the History of Germany's Shakespeare Reception: the Birmingham Photo Album

Cover image 
Front cover of the Shakespeare Memorial Album

In cooperation with other libraries and archives, the Academy of Sciences and Literature Mainz presents, on the occasion of Shakespeare’s (1564-1616) 450th birthday, an impressively produced photo album with 109 portraits and autograph signatures of personalities meritorious for having communicated and maintained the interest for Shakespeare in Germany.

On May 4th 1878 the Berlin private scholar Friedrich August Leo – who was a founding member of the German Shakespeare Society, and also served on its governing board, going on to edit the Shakespeare Yearbook from 1880 to 1898 – had the album sent to the Birmingham Shakespeare Library, which, like the German Shakespeare Society, was founded in 1864 to commemorate Shakespeare’s 300th birthday and which, particularly in its early years, kept up a lively exchange with German Shakespeare researchers. It was not, however, until the later twentieth century that Werner Habicht, Professor Emeritus of the University of Würzburg managed to locate the photo album in the Birmingham Library and to reintroduce it to the world in an article in Shakespeare Yearbook 141 (2005), pp. 150-157. We are grateful to the Kamp-publishing house for their permission to republish his article on this website.

The photo album itself, biographies of the personalities, and Werner Habicht’s article, were all prepared and digitized by collaborators from the Academy, from Bamberg University’s Chair for British Culture, and from Cologne University’s Theatre Collection.

The Commitee for English Philology of the Mainz Academy wishes to thank all those who contributed, in particular Stefan Alexander Eick, M.A., M.Litt., Christian Feser, B.A., Elisabeth Herrmann, M.A. (Bamberg University),1 the Academy’s members, Prof. Dr. Werner Habicht (Würzburg University) and Dieter Mehl (Bonn University), likewise Prof. Dr. P. Marx and Dr. Hedwig Müller (Theatre Collection of Cologne University). Dr. Tom Nolan (Bamberg University) kindly prepared the English translation. Financial support for the photographic processing was provided by the Chair for British Culture (Bamberg) and the Shakespeare Institute (Stratford-upon-Avon) – and we take this occasion to thank its director, Professor Michael Dobson. At a digital humanities level, the project was carried out by the Digital Academy Mainz, with particular thanks to Torsten Schrade, M.A. Finally, particular thanks are owed to Mrs. Lucy Kamenova, Librarian (Shakespeare Library) and Brian Gambles, Assistant Director – Culture, at the Birmingham Library, who put the Album at our disposal.

Bamberg, January 2014

Christa Jansohn, Chair of the Commission for English Philology, Mainz Academy

  1. The Faculty includes in its remit the study of British Culture from the Middle Ages to the present, with a particular emphasis on cultural receptivity, interdisciplinarity, and vocational relevance. Equally, it recognizes the value of international and national collaboration, so that students (particularly those enrolled in the new BA and MA courses) can, already during their university years, become acquainted with exciting professional prospects beyond those of conventional Teacher Training – by means of (among other things) excursions, workshops. We also offer help in securing work-placements etc.Zurückspringen