The very special company nestled in a small town in NorCal

About 90 minutes from San Francisco, above the winding Santa Cruz Mountains and through the otter-filled Elkhorn Slough, lies a special cultural treasure.

Knights in armor guard the entrance to a two-story colonial-style house that serves as the headquarters of the Shakespeare Society of America. in the Shakespeare canon (“Shakespeare on Management”). This is the largest collection of Shakespeare ephemera I have ever seen in a building – and I have spent more years than I would like to admit studying English literature.

This cache of literary memorabilia is one of the few attractions in Moss Landing, a small coastal town of just 54 people north of Monterey, dominated by the smoking towers of a power station. Its 0.6 square mile contains a few art galleries and shops, a Mexican and seafood restaurant, a huge marine biology research center and that’s about it.


Every day of the year, you’ll find a man among the thousands of Bard-related items and instants. You might think of Terry Taylor as a Renaissance man in a literal sense. He dedicated the last decade of his life to everything Shakespeare related. He hasn’t taken a day off for two years. He is not paid. And to make things more special, Taylor says he doesn’t really like the bard.

The Shakespeare Society of America in Moss Landing, California contains over 15,000 objects related to the bard.

Liz Celeste Photography

How could a man who dedicated his life to Shakespeare not love him? For Taylor, it’s about more than that.


“I am an educator and I have a responsibility to make these things available for a long time,” he said. He considers that today’s culture lacks valuable production. Shakespeare, on the other hand, is a man he can respect – and he considers it his duty to preserve his heritage.


There are over 15,000 unique objects in his collection: 1,000 graphics – some of which are over 500 years old – 3,000 books, 1,000 miscellaneous memorabilia and at least 10,000 photos of theatrical productions. Taylor is everyone’s steward and has a story to tell about each of them.

It is a responsibility Taylor does not take lightly and has led him to $ 300,000 in debt. “Corporate offices” float in society, he said. When asked for more details, Taylor was a mom. He hopes that a major donor will succeed in protecting the company for years to come. In the meantime, he relies on donations and sales from the small gift shop at the front of the building. He has big plans to digitize the items in the collection and sell them online and has even purchased Shakespeare-related domain names including Shakespeareamerica.com and Shakesepearebrand.com.

The Shakespeare Society of America in Moss Landing, California contains over 15,000 objects related to the bard.

The Shakespeare Society of America in Moss Landing, California contains more than 15,000 objects related to the bard.

Liz Celeste Photography

Protecting society is extremely personal for Taylor. His uncle, R. Thad Taylor, founded it around 1965 with a dream and an old mansion on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood. It later became a nonprofit and moved to a new property in West Hollywood, where Taylor went on to build what he claimed was the world’s first authentic 1-scale composite replica of the Globe Theater. origin, where Shakespeare staged his plays.

Even the replica has a story behind it. According to Taylor, the Globe replica was constructed from a set donated by sci-fi author Ray Bradbury, when the space drama he sought to produce hit major obstacles.

The theater staged Shakespeare’s 38 plays in succession from 1976 to 1979. It did so again from 1981 to 1984. Ed Harris performed on its stage, as did thousands of renowned theater actors.

The Shakespeare Society of America in Moss Landing, California contains more than 15,000 objects related to the bard.

The Shakespeare Society of America in Moss Landing, California contains more than 15,000 objects related to the bard.

Liz Celeste Photography

Unfortunately, the theater closed in 1972 after running out of funds. Taylor remembers the day well. He and his uncle had only 45 days to clear the theater of its thousands of Shakespearean items that had been amassed through donations and gifts over the years.

The Taylors loaded two trucks to the brim and stored the items in a warehouse in Santa Cruz County, where Taylor grew up. In 2008, Taylor transferred the Shakespeare Society archives to Moss Landing. He says more than 20,000 visitors have passed through its doors from more than 140 countries.

The Shakespeare Society of America in Moss Landing, California contains more than 15,000 objects related to the bard.

The Shakespeare Society of America in Moss Landing, California contains more than 15,000 objects related to the bard.

Liz Celeste Photography

When I asked Taylor why he persisted every day, with no vacation, no money, just Shakespeare, he didn’t hesitate.

“I could work 9 to 5 and have a mortgage of $ 300,000, but instead there’s that,” he continued, barely catching his breath as he pointed to the objects around him. “It’s more valuable than a four bedroom house in my book. Whatever the sacrifice, it’s worth it.




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