Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

A Holinshed’s Chronicles Provenance Puzzle

February 6th, 2018

Holinshed’s Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland is widely regarded as a book that inspired and informed many of William Shakespeare’s history plays, as well as tragedies such as Macbeth and King Lear. Last year Kenneth Spencer Research Library (KSRL) purchased the first edition (1577) with the aim of making the book and its 212 lively woodcut illustrations available to visiting classes and researchers. The bookseller’s description said that this copy had been in private family ownership for generations, but we never dreamed that it would be possible to trace the book back to its original owner. After unpacking the two volumes, we leafed through them page by page looking for manuscript annotations.

On the title page of volume one “William Kyllygrewe” had signed his name twice in Tudor script:

Title page of volume 1 of Holinshed's Chronicles (1577), with William Killigrew's signature

Title page of Volume 1 of Raphael Holinshed’s Chronicles of England, Scotlande, and Irelande. At London : Imprinted for Iohn Hunne, 1577. Call #: Pryce D11. Click image to enlarge.

Could William Kyllygrewe have been the original owner of the book? Browsing through the rest of the book revealed some marginal notes and manicules (sketches of a pointing hand) marking passages of interest to some past reader. There is no other handwritten evidence of ownership.

However, there is an eye-catching pictorial map in the section about the reign of Queen Elizabeth I that concludes volume two. The text recounts the conflict between the Catholic forces supporting Mary, Queen of Scots, and the Protestant forces of Queen Elizabeth during 1571-1573. The hostilities culminated in the “Lang Siege” of Edinburgh Castle.

The map shows the Protestant artillery bombarding Edinburgh Castle before achieving victory.

Map showing the Protestant artillery bombarding of Edinburgh Castle from volume 2 of Holinshed's Chronicles, following p. 1868

 Map of the siege of Edinburgh Castle, from Vol. 2 (following page 1868) of Holinshed’s Chronicles of England, Scotlande, and Irelande. At London: Imprinted for Iohn Hunne, 1577. Call #: Pryce D11. Click image to enlarge.

Text on the back side of the map lists the chief participants in the siege. General Sir William Drurie commanded the Protestant forces with the aid of ten Gentlemen and Captaines. One of them was “Henrie Killigrew hir maiesties ambassadoure at that present in Scotland.” Listed next are thirteen “Gentlemen as went thither to serve of their owne free willes.”

Among the gentlemen who participated “of their own free willes” is William Killigrew.

List of participants in the Siege of Edinburgh Castle, including the names of Henry and William Killigrew.

List of participants in the siege from the verso of the map of Edinburgh castle, from Vol. 2 (following page 1868) of Holinshed’s Chronicles of England, Scotlande, and Irelande. At London: Imprinted for Iohn Hunne, 1577. Call #: Pryce D11.

Allowing for the variations in spelling usual at that time, could he be the William Kyllygrewe who owned this book? In his shoes, wouldn’t you want to own a book in which you and your brother are mentioned as major players in a recent military victory?

Some genealogical investigation of the Killigrew family tree with its numerous Henrys and Williams revealed that the Henry Killigrew (d. 1603) and William Killigrew (d.1622) were the fourth and fifth sons of John Killigrew and Elizabeth (née Trewennard) of Arwennack in Cornwall. As younger sons they needed to make their own way in the world and did so successfully as royal courtiers. William was elected Member of Parliament a number of times and was appointed to various government offices, including Groom of the Privy Chamber to Elizabeth I in 1576 and Chamberlain of the Exchequer under James I in 1608.  In 1594 he took an 80-year lease on Kempton and Hanworth, adjoining royal manors in Middlesex near London. In 1603 he was knighted.

While the biographical information did not answer the question whether this William Killigrew had owned our copy of Holinshed’s Chronicles, his prominence suggested that surviving documents signed by him might be located and compared with our owner’s inscription. The Discovery database at the website of The National Archives at Kew near London in England led to an archival record in the Surrey History Centre for a letter held written by William Killigrew to Sir William Moore on 3 June 1579, just two years after the publication of Holinshed’s Chronicles.

Killigrew’s letter concerns the Bishop of Winchester’s meadow at Farnham in Surrey.

Letter from William Killigrew to Sir William Moore, 3 June 1579

Letter from William Killigrew to Sir William Moore, 3 June 1579. Surrey History Center. Letter ref. # 6729/1/56. Reproduced by permission of the More-Molyneux family and Surrey History Centre. Click Image to enlarge.

Killigrew planned to pasture his horses there but was asking Moore, one of the Bishop’s executors, to reduce the rent because the meadow was “very much choked with sand and gravel by reason of the great floods.” It was exciting for us to discover that the Killigrew signature on the letter is a close match to the ownership inscriptions in our Holinshed’s Chronicles.

William Killigrew signature detail from the title page of volume 1 of Raphael Holinshed's Chronicles of England, Scotlande, and Irelande. William Killigrew signature from a letter from William Killigrew to Sir William Moore, 3 June 1579

Details of William Killigrew’s signatures: Holinshed’s Chronicles (left) and the letter to Moore (right).
Click image to enlarge.

In fact, the search for a William Killigrew signature need not have led so far afield. Kenneth Spencer Research Library’s large collection of English Historical Documents includes, as it turns out, a 26 October 1601 deed of covenant by William Killigrew and his son, Robert, agreeing to sell a messuage (dwelling house, outbuildings, and land) in Clerkenwell Parish, Middlesex to John Gregorye and his wife, Judith.

William Killigrew’s signature is clear at the bottom of the deed, although Robert’s signature to the right is only partly legible

Deed of covenant by William Killigrew and his son, Robert, agreeing to sell a messuage (dwelling house, outbuildings, and land) in Clerkenwell Parish, Middlesex to John Gregorye and his wife, Judith.

Deed of covenant signed by William Killigrew, 26 October 1601. A Miscellany of Deeds and Manorial, Estate, Probate and Family Documents, 1194-1900. Call number MS 239: 2357

Once again, the signatures match.

William Killigrew signature detail from the title page of volume 1 of Raphael Holinshed's Chronicles of England, Scotlande, and Irelande. William Killigrew signature detail from 1601 deed of covenant.

Details of William Killigrew’s signatures: Holinshed’s Chronicles (left) and Killigrew-Gregorye deed (right).

The manner in which the copy of Holinshed’s Chronicles descended from the hands of William Killigrew in family ownership until Kenneth Spencer Research Library purchased it is still uncertain. The bookseller’s description suggests that a female Killigrew relative may have taken the book with her when she married into the Grenville family. More research remains to be done.

Karen Severud Cook
Special Collections Librarian

Romeo and Juliet: Creative Reimaginings

May 23rd, 2017

Spencer Research Library certainly has the staples for any Shakespeare-phile: a complete Second Folio, a partial First Folio, individual books, and works from his contemporaries Thomas Heywood, Ben Jonson, Philip Sidney, and others. Printed in ages past, these works demonstrate the long history and enduring fascination scholars and bibliophiles alike maintain concerning the works of the Bard and the many social issues he addresses in them. But more importantly, KSRL also possesses works that demonstrate Shakespeare’s lasting influence and application through creative reimaginings.

The cover of Emily Martin’s interpretation of
The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet
.
[Iowa City] : Naughty Dog Press, 2012.
Call Number: D7385. Click image to enlarge.

One such reimagining was crafted by Emily Martin. Created for a designer bookbinding competition for the Bodleian Libraries and Designer Bookbinders in 2013, the carousel book adapts one of Shakespeare’s best-known tragedies, The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. With five main “views” to embody each of the play’s five acts, the carousel book pays homage to the play’s central ideas and its modern application. Martin creates corresponding pop-ups for each act and uses key lines from Juliet, Romeo, and the Prince (for Act V) to illustrate and remind readers of the important events from each act.

View of The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet by Emily Martin

View of The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet by Emily Martin

Views of Emily Martin’s interpretation of
The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet (2012).
Call Number: D7385. Click images to enlarge.

In between each of the main views, Martin emphasizes “the timelessness of the play through repetition of the chorus and insertion of modern equivalents for Verona,” as Martin explains in the colophon for the book. These modern equivalents include: Bosnia, Israel, Rwanda, and America. In correspondence, Martin adds that these locations, “were ‘scenes of strife’ at the time, I used countries rather than cities for name recognition and to expand out from small locations to large. I felt the need to remind readers the play is still timely by connecting to current conflicts.” Martin also includes her own commentary under each repetition of the chorus, articulating the many ways that Shakespeare’s central themes can be reimagined and updated far beyond Shakespeare’s time.

View of The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet by Emily Martin

A close-up of Emily Martin’s interpretation of
The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet (2012).
The top section is the first four lines of the play’s prologue.
Note that Martin has changed “fair Verona” to “fair America.”
The bottom text is Martin’s commentary.
Call Number: D7385. Click image to enlarge.

Even though The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet is advertised as a tale of two “star-crossed lovers,” Martin comments, “I was struck more by the universality of feuding more than the romance.” Romeo and Juliet individually must combat the trials of a forbidden love, and their families exemplify the enduring consequences of unabashed hatred of others for no deeper reason than one’s name. Despite Romeo and Juliet’s tragic deaths, the feud shows no signs of ending. Martin describes this plot point as a reason for the book’s carousel design. She states, “circular format emphasizes the repetitive aspect of the feuding, it doesn’t end, it just begins again.”

View of The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet by Emily Martin

View of Emily Martin’s interpretation of
The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet (2012).
Call Number: D7385. Click image to enlarge.

This piece, like many others in Spencer Library’s collection, demonstrates the many ways that the old and new, the past and present can come together. Martin’s reimagining masterfully blends “details specific to Verona,” (including illustrations to match the settings in each act) with new elements that make Shakespeare’s famous tragedy come alive again.  Even though it invokes new ideas to bring the star-crossed lovers into the 21st century, it is still maintains the integrity of their tragic tale and breathes new life into their multi-faceted story. As the Prince decrees, “For never was a story of more woe / Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.” Martin uses this timeless tale of woe and turns it into a well-crafted political commentary, exemplifying the ways that Shakespeare speaks to not only Shakespeare-philes, but also anyone looking to bridge disciplines and time periods in meaningful ways.

Melissa Kleinschmidt
Public Services Student Assistant and 2017 KU graduate (Master’s of Arts, English)

Researchers Wanted!

June 6th, 2014

Ask any special collections librarian or archivist about her favorite collection item, and she may hem and haw (how can you pick just one favorite?!?). However, ask that same librarian about interesting items or collections that she wishes more researchers would use, and invariably she will rattle off a frighteningly long list.

This week, in the spirit of summer discovery, we present two intriguing selections that scream “researchers wanted!”

1.  Papers of William Poel, ca. 1895-1934 (http://etext.ku.edu/view?docId=ksrlead/ksrl.sc.poelwilliam.xml)

As admirers of William Shakespeare know, this April marked the 450th anniversary of the playwright’s birth.  And while Spencer doesn’t have a manuscript by the Bard gathering dust on a shelf (no manuscripts in his hand are known to survive), the library does hold papers for William Poel (1852-1934), an actor, writer, and theater director known for his attempts to revive the conventions of the Elizabethan stage at the dawn of the twentieth century. The collection includes correspondence with figures from the theater world (actors, writers, critics, and others), a small number of scripts, prompt books, and journals, and ephemera such as playbills and review clippings.  Pictured below is Poel’s heavily annotated prompt copy for Fratricide Punished, a German version of Hamlet of ambiguous relation to Shakespeare’s play.  Also pictured are a theater program and a lecture announcement, examples of Poel ephemera.

Picture of Poel's Fratricide Punished Prompt book, open to the list of characters and a pasted in print announcement. Plan of playscene in Poel's Fratricide Punished prompt book.
Lecture announcement for a lecture series on Shakespeare. Image of exterior of program for Poel's production of Marlowe's Faustus
Top: Poel’s prompt book for Fratricide Punished , ca. 1924. MS 31:D4; Bottom: an announcement for a series of lectures by Poel on Shakespeare, 1900, and the program for a production of Marlowe’s Faustus directed by Poel, 1904. MS 31, F6.  Click images to enlarge.

2. Don Quixote, el Castellano viejo, undated (before 1860).

This mysterious bound manuscript came to Spencer from the library of the well-known nineteenth-century art historian, bibliophile, and Hispanist, Sir William Stirling Maxwell (1818-1878).   A portion of Stirling Maxwell’s vast library was sold at auction and 1958, enabling KU to acquire a significant number of early printed Spanish volumes,  including important editions that now form the basis of Spencer’s Cervantes Collection, and this manuscript.  As far as we know, the author of this manuscript has not been identified, though the text concerns Cervantes’s famed character Don Quixote.   A note pasted toward the front gives further provenance, describing it as a “curious manuscript” sold as part of the auction of the library of “the late Don Justo de Sancha” by Sotheby’s in December of 1860.  Though the hand is later than Cervantes’s time, scholars of Spanish literature might find much to pique their interest in this 205-page manuscript.  The pictures below include the table of contents, which offers readers an idea of the matter covered.

Image of the title page (in a different hand?) giving the title, Don Quixote, el Castellano viejo Image of prologue with pasted in provenance note for Don Quixote, el Castellano viejo. Image of the first page of the table of contents of Don Quixote, el Castellano viejo Image of the final page of Don Quixote, el Castellano viejo.

Bookplate of William Stirling-Maxwell Image of the beginning of Chapter 2 in Don Quixote, el Castellano viejo.

Don Quixote, el Castellano viejo, undated (before 1860). MS C73. Click images to enlarge.

For more information on these and any of our other manuscript holdings, please don’t hesitate to contact us.  After all, the summer is an ideal time to start a new research project.

Elspeth Healey
Special Collections Librarian