Folger First Folio number 33

Fast Facts About This First Folio—On Tour!

During the 2016 First Folio! tour, this First Folio did not travel. During the Folger exhibition at the tour's end, however, it is on display at the Great Hall of the Folger Shakespeare Library.

 

The Understudy Copy

The tour nickname for First Folio number 33 is the "understudy" copy. Although it never left the Folger Shakespeare Library on the tour, it was prepared to travel just in case another First Folio needed to be pulled from the lineup. Instead, its only exhibition for the tour is in the Folger's Great Hall, alongside the other First Folios that have completed the tour. While each of the touring First Folios is open to the first page of a different play, the "understudy" copy is open to the "To be or not to be" speech. Each of the First Folios was open to that speech during the tour.

Henry and Emily purchased this First Folio in 1903 for $825. In 1875, its pages were completely taken apart (or disbound) to be photographed for the first-ever photomechanical facsimile of the First Folio. Like many other First Folios, it is missing leaves in the introduction and its final play, Cymbeline. Original leaves from other First Folios were used to replace four missing leaves in The Comedy of Errors, Much Ado About Nothing, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Henry IV, Part 2.

In the Folger exhibition celebrating the nationwide tour, this First Folio is open to Hamlet's "To be or not to be" soliloquy. 
 

Want to learn more about First Folio number 33?

Fast Facts About This First Folio—On Tour!

During the 2016 First Folio! tour, this First Folio did not travel. During the Folger exhibition at the tour's end, however, it is on display at the Great Hall of the Folger Shakespeare Library.