When was Mary Sidney first identified as the possible author of all or part of the writings of Shakespeare?
Who first identified Mary Sidney as a candidate for the authorship of the Shakespeare canon and who has carried out significant research?
Mary Sidney Herbert, the Countess of Pembroke, was first identified as the possible author of part of the Shakespearean canon in 1931 in a book by Gilbert Slater, Seven Shakespeares, published by Cecil Palmer in London. Slater devotes a chapter to the feminine attributes in the plays, especially the later plays, as well as the intimate connections to Wales and the Welsh in the plays and in Mary’s life, and the depth of knowledge that was commensurate with her education. He believed that Mary Sidney was the literary executor of Oxford’s work as author, that she added to and completed his unfinished work.
In Who Wrote Shakespeare, published in 1996 by Thames and Hudson, John Michell devotes one paragraph to the possibility of Mary Sidney as author.
Both Slater and Michell include Mary Sidney in possible groups of authorship, and both find Ben Jonson's allusion to “Sweet Swan of Avon” to apply most appropriately to Mary Sidney.
In 2006, Robin P. Williams published Sweet Swan of Avon: Did a Woman Write Shakespeare?, the first comprehensive look at the documented evidence that ties Mary Sidney Herbert, the Countess of Pembroke, to the authorship.
Robin P. Williams, Sweet Swan of Avon: Did a Woman Write Shakespeare?, published by Wilton Circle Press in 2006.
Fred Faulkes, Tiger's Heart in Woman's Hide, the first of a fifteen-book series called “The Tiger Heart Chronicles”. First volume published in 2007.
Jonathan Star, analysis of Ben Jonson’s eulogy to the author and more; 2008.
The Mary Sidney Society publishes a journal, The Cygnet.
Articles about Mary Sidney as author have appeared in Newsweek (both in the States and abroad), Wiltshire Life, Zeitung, Herald Tribune, and other magazines and newspapers around the world. Mentions of her in general authorship articles is becoming more common.
Mary Sidney Society, founded April 23, 2004
Currently over 200 members, several of whom are working on articles or film projects about Mary Sidney as author.