The Folger Shakespeare Library has launched First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare, which will bring the original 1623 First Folio of Shakespeare across America at museums, universities, library and historical societies.
The First Folio is the first collected edition of Shakespeare’s plays was published seven years after his death. Thirty-six of his plays were compiled by two of Shakespeare’s actors, John Heminges and Henry Condell, to preserve them for future generations. While many of his plays were performed, not many had been published while he lived.
Without the First Folio, 18 plays, including Macbeth, Twelfth Night, Antony and Cleopatra and As You Like It, would have been lost, according to the Folger Shakespeare Library, as they had never been in print before.
The library, located in Washington, DC, has 82 copies of the First Folio of 233 known copies in the world – making it the world’s largest collection. It is believed that about 750 copies were printed.
See a list of where the exhibit will be on display here.