Celebrating Shakespeare’s Birthday

April 23, 2015

On this, Shakespeare’s birthday, we celebrate as well the depth of the Peter Pauper Press Collection in the Department of Special Collections, the generous gift of James and Nancy Dast. We devoted an entire exhibit to the Peter Pauper Press in 2011, but individual titles from the Collection also find their way into other exhibits and class presentations in Special Collections, including our recent collaborations with Prof. Josh Calhoun of the English Department.

The Peter Pauper Press produced many volumes drawing on the works of Shakespeare, and we have been pleased to point them out to students in Prof. Calhoun’s Shakespeare classes. Handsomely designed and produced at “prices even a pauper could afford,” such titles capitalized on the enduring popularity of Shakespeare’s writings. They include, as shown here, editions smaller and larger of Hamlet, and multiple editions of Shakespeare’s verse, among the many books of poetry produced by the Peter Pauper Press.

Volumes of Shakespeare soliloquies and sonnets exemplify a certain Peter Pauper graphic style; whereas this one is filled with pithy sentiments we owe to Shakespeare, such as “There’s small choice in rotten apples,” from Taming of the shrew.

Watch this space for more about Shakespeare and the UW-Madison Libraries, as we, with our many campus and community partners, prepare for the visit in fall of 2016 of one of the Folger Library’s copies of Shakespeare’s First Folio — part of a whole year of Shakespeare in Wisconsin.

Hearty congratulations are also in order to James (Jim) Dast on his receipt of the Rotary Club Senior Service Award. We are so grateful for such steadfast library friends, donors, and supporters as Jim and Nancy Dast.