Considered among the greatest, if not the finest, writer in the English language, William Shakespeare was born on April 23, 1564 and died on the same date in 1616. A great page to start reading his works, perusing his biography, looking at some of his more memorable quotes, and so much more is Absolute Shakespeare. Shakespeare Online also offers comprehensive treatment of the Bard, though marred by intrusive ads. (But then someone has to pay the hosting and managing fees. As Robert Heinlein stated: TANSTAAFL) The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C. houses hundreds of thousands of items relating to Shakespeare and the theater in general. Due to the rarity and fragility of many of its holdings only scholars have direct access to these materials, but the public is offered access to thousands of digital images that include books, theater memorabilia, and manuscripts via the Digital Image Collection. There have always been arguments over whether or not Shakespeare actually wrote what we read; some representative articles include: The Case for Oxford (that the Earl of Oxford is the true author, The Atlantic); The Case for Shakespeare (The Atlantic); and Shakespeare: the conspiracy theories (The Telegraph).
Audio Arts was an innovative audio-cassette magazine first published in 1972; it contained interviews with artists, critics, and other luminaries from the arts. The Tate Museum has preserved and made these interviews, over 1600 of them, available online. Listen to Christo, James Joyce, Marcel Duchamp, and Paul McCarthy, among others.
British Pathe was a media company founded in the 1890s, and over the course of the next eighty years it produced thousands of hours of newsreels; its collection of World War I and World War II videos are exceptional. All of these hours, divided into almost 90,000 film clips, are freely available on YouTube. Watch an interview with Laurel and Hardy, listen to Titanic survivors, see Queen Victoria, and storm the beaches on D-Day. These same films can also be accessed at the company’s site where retrieval is expedited by more in-depth subject headings and other guides. A must for those interested in twentieth-century history.
An influential and controversial poet, Lord Byron is considered one the great Romantic writers. Lord Byron and His Times is a wonderfully dense collection of material on Byron and his contemporaries. Included are his memoirs, memoirs by his contemporaries, hundreds of letters, criticism and commentary, and document collections arranged by topic. This latter section is especially valuable for the introductory overviews that are provided. The various parts of this site have active links so you can identify the persons and writings referenced. The multiple layers embedded in this presentation are entrancing and informative. A great way to be introduced to this world.
For those of us who believe in the power of libraries, this report from CNN validates our viewpoint.
This site – Hispanic Americans in Congress, 1822-2012 – details the long years that Hispanic Americans have been serving in Congress. The site contains biographies of all members, featured historical highlights, chronological historical essays with numerous links, relevant historical data, and a useful glossary. An almost 800-page book of the same name is also available. A treasure trove of information!