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Shakespeare’s personal documents added to UNESCO heritage list


They will be immortalized next to the Gutenberg Bible, the Magna Carta, and ‘The Wizard of Oz.’

The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has added a collection of 90 documents relating to the personal life of William Shakespeare to the UNESCO International Memory of the World Register. The documents record the Bard’s baptismal and burial records, family matters, property holdings, and business dealings, and even include rare examples of his signature.

These documents will be protected and preserved for all time to provide future generations with reference and insight into Shakespeare’s inspirations and influences. The Guardian points out that the Shakespeare documents now hold the same status that the Egyptian pyramids enjoy, in the category of building heritage:

The documents join the likes of the Gutenberg Bible, Magna Carta, Bayeux Tapestry and the films The Battle of the Somme and The Wizard of Oz on the register.

The documents are spread out over several institutions: The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, The National Archives, Worcestershire Archives and Archaeology Service, The College of Arms, The British Library and London Metropolitan Archives in the UK, and the Folger Shakespeare Library in the US. Although they are not accumulated in one place, each document will be protected by UNESCO.

Amy Hurst, collections archivist at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, said in a statement:

“The documentary trail left by Shakespeare provides a rich narrative of his life, giving unique insight into his personal circumstances and how these may have influenced his creative work.”

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