American Shakespeare Clubs and Commemoration

in Critical Survey
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In late nineteenth- and twentieth-century America, hundreds of Shakespeare clubs met regularly to read, study, and perform Shakespeare's works. Their motives ranged from personal improvement to community betterment, and they were frequently involved in initiatives designed to memorialize Shakespeare and celebrate their own intellectual achievements. Dozens of public gardens, libraries, and other civic projects are a result of the efforts of clubwomen, in small towns and large cities. Privately, club members also memorized Shakespeare by incorporating a variety of domestic practices into their Shakespeare-centered labors, which preserved Shakespeare as a prominent part of American cultural life.