The Census

The Census is a blog that showcases new book historical and bibliographical research at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

The series is named for A Census of Shakespeare’s Plays in Quarto, 1594-1709: a pioneering attempt to describe “Every known copy of each edition and issue” of Shakespearean quarto playbooks, published by Henrietta C. Bartlett and Alfred W. Pollard (1916) and later extended by Bartlett (1939) with support from the Yale University Press and the Elizabethan Club.

In her Introduction to the 1939 Census, Bartlett responded to contemporary debates over where and how these rare books should be collected by asserting, “What matters is that serious students of Shakespeare on both sides of the water should have easy access to the original editions necessary for the construction of his text.” In the same spirit, The Census aims to make the Beinecke’s resources accessible to a wider audience by highlighting items of interest and suggesting possibilities for future scholarship. Updates for the blog can be found here, or by subscribing to our RSS feed.

If you are a student or visiting researcher who’d like to contribute a post based on work in the Beinecke collections, please contact Eve Houghton and Kathryn James with a brief statement of interest. Entries relating to all historical periods and geographical regions are invited and encouraged, particularly those methods and topics that have traditionally been underrepresented in the field of bibliography.