The Birmingham Photo Album: Illustrating Germany’s Shakespeare Reception
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 about 150 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.
To view the album and biographies, please visit the project website at http://www.shakespearealbum.de/en/about.html .