Every First Folio at the Folger has its own story, from the people who have owned it, to its binding and physical condition, and many other details. Some First Folios include handwritten notes and drawings (which may be from multiple centuries); others have appeared in news reports, such as when Henry and Emily Folger first purchased them.
After nearly four centuries, many First Folios at the Folger and elsewhere have lost some of their original pages. Some owners in the late 1800s and early 1900s replaced them with facsimiles, which were printed or drawn by hand, or with pages from other First Folios, a process euphemistically known as "sophistication." Other pages have been damaged or torn, necessitating repairs that we can examine today.
Eighteen of the Folger's 82 First Folios toured the United States in 2016 in First Folio! The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare, commemorating the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. Other First Folios have been displayed in a wide range of exhibitions at the Folger or have been the subject of research efforts. Learn more about some of our Folger First Folios from the list below.