The Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship’s Research Grant Program selection committee has awarded grants for Oxfordian research to Michael Delahoyde and Coleen Moriarty, Gary Goldstein, and Eddi Jolly. The Committee had the sum of $20,000 available for grants in 2017 – $10,000 from donations, and $10,000 in matching funds. Here are the details of the winning projects:
Michael Delahoyde and Coleen Moriarty: “Oxford on Record and Incognito in Italy.”
Award – $14,100
After uncovering several previously unknown documents in Italian State Archives from the 1570s containing news of Oxford; obtaining access for what can now be put forth as the full, correct, and contextualized version of one of the two Venetian ambassadorial dispatches concerning him; and widening our network of local experts in archival research, history, and the Shakespeare Authorship Question, we seek to follow up on last summer’s trail in northern Italy and Tuscany, focused primarily on Oxford’s travels in 1575/76, expanding our scope to later years, and ideally including archives and collections in more cities.
Gary Goldstein: “Discovering books from the 17th Earl of Oxford’s personal library.”
Award – $2,300
At the present time, only two books from the 17th Earl of Oxford’s personal library are available for research: a Geneva Bible, and an Italian edition of the History of Italy by Francesco Guicciardini, both owned by the Folger Library. Oxford’s copy of Herodotus’ Histories, published in Venice in 1565, was auctioned by Sotheby’s in December 2015 to a private buyer who remains anonymous. Goldstein contacted Sotheby’s to request the buyer to grant research access to the book, but the buyer refused to respond to Sotheby’s at all. Thus, the book remains inaccessible for research purposes.
To advance the Oxfordian hypothesis in a significant way, we need to find a repository that contains a cache of Oxford’s books. To that end, Gary researched the entries on Sir Francis Vere and other close Vere family members in the Dictionary of National Biography. According to the DNB, “Between 1605 and his death Sir Francis Vere made generous donations in money and books to the library which his old friend Sir Thomas Bodley was founding at Oxford.” Since the Earl of Oxford died in 1604, it is possible that at least a portion of his library was donated to Oxford University by his first cousin, Sir Francis Vere. Gary will travel to Oxford University to research the books donated by Sir Francis Vere to determine if any were originally owned by Oxford.
Emma (Eddi) Jolly: “Hunting for De Vere in English Archives and Libraries.”
Award – $3,600
More concrete evidence is required to substantiate the case for De Vere’s proposed authorship of the Shakespeare canon, and this requires a number of different approaches. One is to ensure that all possible public (and private) archives are investigated, in England and abroad, in areas where De Vere is known to have travelled; a second is to try to track down other books which may have been owned by De Vere or the author of the plays, and either marked as owned by him or with similar annotations and manicules as those found in the De Vere bible, books which may be found in private libraries. This application proposes investigating more archives and making enquiries at specific libraries in order to try to locate further information about De Vere.
England has forty-nine counties and slightly more public record offices with archives (e.g., Sussex has an east one, and a west one, in Chichester; there are also metropolitan archives). One line of investigation is to carry out online research for each of these record offices, and make a personal visit to each one with an indication of a document related to De Vere. England also has a number of stately homes with Tudor origins and archives, and significant libraries.
— John Hamill, RGP Chair
You can support future research grants by donating to our Research Grant Program.[posted January 24, 2018]