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The first collected edition of William Shakespeare’s plays is a celebrated volume known as the "First Folio." It is called a “Folio” because of the large-format size of the book.
The antiquarian Richard James (1592-1638), fellow of Christ Church College, Oxford, explains in this dedicatory letter to Sir Henry Bourchier why Shakespeare changed the character originally named “Sir John Oldcastle” to one named “Sir John Falstaff” in Henry IV, Parts
ca. 1633 - 1643
This document provides a unique record of Shakespeare, at the peak of his career, gathering with friends and colleagues at the Tabard Inn in Southwark, and all of them cutting their names into the paneling of one of the public rooms there.
ca. 1625- 1650
William Basse (1583?-1653?) apparently attended Oxford University before entering the service of Francis Lord Norris (or Norreys) (ODNB).
Sir Nicholas L’Estrange (1604-1655) recorded over 600 jokes and anecdotes from his Norfolk friends and family in this manuscript, noting the source for each one in a separate section.
John Ward, vicar of Stratford-upon-Avon and physician, collected extensive notes on religion, medicine, and literature alongside miscellaneous gossip.