Papers of Edward Alleyn and Philip Henslowe are online

The personal and business papers of actor Edward Alleyn and theater impresario Philip Henslowe are online and awaiting your perusal!

Dulwich College, founded by Alleyn, is opening up papers from its archive to the online community. “Less than half of the theatrical items in the Henslowe-Alleyn Papers have ever been transcribed, and these transcriptions are largely available only in out-of-print editions. It is the hope of the Henslowe Alleyn Digitisation Project that the use of these manuscripts… will not be confined to students and scholars but to a wide-ranging and ever-changing community of readers in a variety of ways.”

Includes items such as “Letter from Philip Henslowe to Edward Alleyn on the death of Gabriel Spenser, slain by Ben Jonson in a duel in Hoxton fields, Sept. 26, 1598.”

According to the site, “Half of these manuscript volumes and most of the muniments concern the private affairs and non-theatrical businesses of the Henslowe and Alleyn families, as well as the history of Dulwich College since its inception. It is the other half of these volumes, representing the theatrical affairs of Henslowe and Alleyn, that are the subject of this website and electronic archive.”

Edward Alleyn was a contemporary of William Shakespeare, and son-in-law of theater entrepreneur Philip Henslowe.  It is interesting to compare the profusion of Alleyn’s surviving letters and memoranda (only a portion of which are catalogued on the site) to what remains from William Shakespeare (to date: six signatures on legal documents).