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Shakespeare Company records

Identifier: 00071

Scope and Contents

The Shakespeare Company records consist of a history of the company, financial records, legal records, advertising and marketing records, catalogues and price lists, equipment specifications, Sport Fishing Institute materials, correspondence, and photographs. The photographs in the collection include images of fishing, fishing and golf equipment, and advertisements. There are also images of employees as well as C. W. Davis, Henry Shakespeare, and Mr. and Mrs. Jack Smith.


  • Creation: 1913 - 1973


Conditions Governing Access note

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use note

Permission to publish material from this collection must be obtained from University Archives & Historical Collections, Michigan State University.

Historical Note

The discovery of the level-wind fishing reel, which allowed line to be rewound without the use of the thumb, was patented by William Shakespeare Jr. in 1896 and led to the formation of the William Shakespeare Company in 1906, later changed to the Shakespeare Company in 1915. Since 1896 the Shakespeare Company has patented many other fishing equipment items and has diversified into such areas as archery, golf, firearms, ski equipment, boat motors, taxidermy, leather items, and automotive equipment.

In 1946 the glass fiber rod production was moved to Columbia, South Carolina, incorporating the Columbia Products Company, and the corporate headquarters followed in 1970.


3 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials


Legal Status note

Copyright: Michigan State University. Property Rights: Michigan State University.

Shakespeare Company Records
4 Published And Cataloged
J. VanderWal
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives and Historical Collections Repository

Conrad Hall
943 Conrad Road, Room 101
East Lansing MI 48824 US