PHILADELPHIA, PA, April 15, 2014 - The Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts will celebrate the Bard's 450th birthday at 5:30pm on April 23rd. Along with the opening of an exhibition Shakespearian Residues, the birthday party will include refreshments and selected short readings from various Shakespeare plays performed by the Underground Shakespeare Company. The exhibit will be on display from April 23 through June 9, 2014, next to the Rittenhouse Orrery on the 6th floor of the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center.

Penn Libraries holds one of the world's largest Shakespeare collections. Housed in the Horace Howard Furness Memorial Library, which is devoted to the study of Shakespeare and other Tudor and Stuart dramatists, the collection includes most writings about Shakespeare and virtually all English-language editions of his plays and poems, including the first four folios, some early quartos, and other editions up to the present time. Also among its holdings are superb examples of scholarship about Shakespeare by former and present Penn students and faculty.

For this exhibit, the Kislak Center has chosen to display a selection of "Shakespeariana" from its collection, including early editions, romantic images, quirky artifacts, and works inspired by the Bard from the collections. Listed below are a few of the items that will be exhibited:

Hamlet. Lithograph poster for Ambroise Thomas's Opera (Paris, n.d.). Kislak Center, University of Pennsylvania Libraries

Shakespeare's gloves. 16th-century leather gloves allegedly owned by Shakespeare, authentic to the time period. Kislak Center, University of Pennsylvania Libraries

Yorick's skull. This human skull, originally used in 19th-century productions of Hamlet at the Walnut Street Theatre, belonged to a former employee of the Theatre by the name of "Pop" Reed, who bequeathed it to the Theatre in his will to be used as a prop for Yorick's skull in future productions of Hamlet. It was given to Horace Howard Furness by S. Weir Mitchell. Kislak Center, University of Pennsylvania Libraries

For more information and to RSVP for the birthday party (appreciated but not required), visit Shakespearian Residues.