William Shakespeare’s biography has long circled a set of tantalizing mysteries: Was he Protestant or secretly Catholic? Gay or straight? Loving toward his wife, or coldly dismissive?
Most of those questions remain unanswered but one new discovery does provide a bit of insight into the man’s personal life. New documents were recently discovered by Heather Wolfe, the Folger Shakespeare Library’s curator of manuscripts. The documents are said to relate to a coat of arms given to Shakespeare’s father in the year 1596 — a discovery that offers proof of Shakespeare’s gentlemanly status and provides researchers with new insights into his life.
Wolfe’s discoveries began at the College of Arms in London, where she gathered archival materials including forgotten depictions of the coat of arms. Its existence also helps scholars refute the theory that Shakespeare didn’t author the plays attributed to him.
You can read more in an article by Jennifer Schuessler in the New York Times at http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/30/theater/shakespeare-coat-of-arms.html.