digitized first folios

detail from Bodleian's copy of Shakespeare's First Folio

A list of currently available digital F1s with descriptions of their various features with some general useful information about the textual history of the First Folio. (note: Info on uncorrected pages comes from Rasmussen & West’s descriptive catalog of F1s, but heed my caveat.) I wrote an article looking at digital F1s through a bibliographical and cultural materialist lens for the Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare’s First Folio; it’s available on my site for your reading pleasure. If you want an online census of all of Shakespeare’s plays, including F1, see the Shakespeare Census, which has lots of information including links to digital copies.

tl;dr Your first stop for an easy-to-use digitized First Folio should be the Bodleian’s copy: it’s good for general use and good for textual scholars. If you want one-stop-shopping for all four Folios, use Miami’s. If you want early marginalia, use the copy from the Free Library of Philadelphia.

49 First Folios, organized alphabetically by holding institution

(updated April 22, 2023)

Auckland | Bodleian | Boston | Brandeis | British Columbia | British Library | Buffalo | CambridgeFolger 5 | Folger 7 | Folger 9 | Folger 68 | more Folger | Free Library | Geneva | Harry Ransom Center | Haverford | John Rylands | Leeds | Lehigh | Meisei | Miami of Ohio | New South Wales | PaduaPenn | Saint-Omer | Stuttgart | Trinity | West Chester | Yale

Auckland Public Library (West 214)

quick take: Not easy to navigate, but it is public domain

  • catalog record (1623 SHAK)
  • digitized cover-to-cover as individual pages, navigable as individual thumbnails numbered consecutively
    • downloadable as hi-res jpegs of individual pages (1356 x 2000 x 24 bpp)
    • public domain
  • uncorrected pages: C4, D2, m3, q4v, ee5, ff2, ff5v, pp5, pp5v, qq2v, qq5v, rr1v
  • copy-specific notes from catalog: Lacks title page and preceding leaf with Ben Jonson’s verses and signatures E4, b6, c6, o3-4, aaa2; all these are supplied in facsimile. Signatures c1 and x2-3 are believed to be from another copy. Prelims bound as: (1) ‘A catalogue of the severall comedies, histories, and tragedies contained in this volume’ (πA6) (2) ‘The epistle dedicatorie’ (πA2) (3) ‘To the great variety of readers’ (πA3) (4) Commendatory verses by L. Digges and I.M. (πA5+1) (5) The names of the principall actors in all these playes’, with half-title (πA5+2) (6) Commendatory verses by Ben Jonson and Hugh Holland (πA4, πA5).
  • includes various clippings about F1 and correspondence relating to the purchase of this copy
  • imaged in 2023 for the 400th anniversary of F1

Bodleian Library, University of Oxford (West 31)

quick take: The go-to online F1, with multiple options for viewing images as well as a transcription, and high-resolution jpegs and xml for downloads

  • catalog record (Arch. G c.7)
  • digitized cover-to-cover as page spreads or individual pages, with ability to jump to specific acts/scenes in each play
    • urls to individual pages in the text/image view (my beloved)
    • downloadable as hi-res jpegs of individual pages for each play (2122 x 3475 pixels), low-res pdfs of images of individual pages for each play, pdfs of the formatted digital text for each play, pdfs of the XML text for each play, and XML file for each play
    • also available as text adjacent to (or not) digitized pages, with the ability to navigate by play/act/scene or by signatures in the text/image view
    • also available in Digital.Bodleian
    • available as an IIIF manifest
    • CC BY 3.0 license for images, text, and XML
  • uncorrected pages: D2, V1, m3, qq5v, ss3; qq2v in third state (πA1 missing)
  • copy-specific notes from catalog: The portrait is the second state.; Lacks A1 (Jonson’s “To the reader”); title page is trimmed and mounted; Two MS verses on first endpaper verso: 1) 9 lines of verse by an unknown author, first line reads “An active swain to make a leap was seen” 2) A copy of Ben Jonson’s printed “To the Reader”; MS note on tp appears to read “Honest [Shakes]peare”. Minor annotations on leaf 2n4 (Macbeth). All in an early English hand, presumably added after leaving the Library.
  • digitized 2013; digital texts added 2014;  IIIF manifest added 2016
  • The story of this copy and the two projects that led it to be acquired and digitized are interesting in themselves: more info is at Sprint for Shakespeare.

Boston Public Library (West 150)

quick take: Public domain, high-resolution images through Internet Archive; includes both the corrected and uncorrected R1 and R6v, which is pretty darn fun.

  • catalog record (G.174.1 FOLIO)
  • digitized cover-to-cover by Internet Archive, viewable as single pages, page spreads, or thumbnails and navigable by moving a slider (corresponds to digitization page number) or via thumbnail
    • urls to individual pages or openings (All’s Well)
    • downloadable as individual pages or as a whole volume as high-resolution .jp2 (2449 x 4054 pixels) and as pdf
    • no copyright or licensing claims made
  • also viewable in Digital Commonwealth as page spreads or thumbnails using the Internet Archive viewer
  • uncorrected pages: R1 and R6v (both have the corrected leaves following the uncorrected, which is kind of fun), e3v, k5, m3, ee5, ff2, ff6, zz6v
  • copy-specific notes from catalog: portrait state 3, inscriptions on various leaves (see catalog record for details), appears to be a made-up copy
  • imaged in 2016

Brandeis University (West 153)

quick take: Useful because of the ISE interface, but not great imaging by today’s standards

  • catalog record (Shaksp PR2751 .A1 1623)
  • digitized (textblock only, starting with πA1+1r [the title page]) as individual pages available through Internet Shakespeare Editions, navigable by page, play/act/scene/TLN
    • urls to individual pages (💭)
    • downloadable as jpegs of pages at 1200 x 1906 pixels (follow “page info” link)
    • copyrighted by Brandeis, permission to use for “educational, non-profit purposes”
  • also available through Perseus
  • uncorrected pages: A1v, D2, S5v, d1, m3, ‘gg4’v, dd2, dd4, dd6v, ee5, kk6v, zz6v (πA1-6, aaa1, aaa6, bbb1, bbb5, bbb6 missing)
  • imaged in 1999 by Perseus (see) presumably as part of the NEH/NSF grant for their Digital Library Initiative Phase 2 (see)

University of British Columbia (West 202)

quick take: Annoying interface with limited rights to reuse, but collector letters and clippings are always fun

  • catalog record (PR2751 .A1 1623)
  • digitized cover to cover as individual pages, but displays only as openings navigable by scrolling the reader or by OCR searches
    • urls of individual pages (£1500)
    • downloadable as images openings 4906 x 4025 x 24 bpp or as a pdf of the full volume
    • “Images provided for research and reference use only. Permission to publish, copy, or otherwise use these images must be obtained from Rare Books and Special Collections: http://rbsc.library.ubc.ca”
    • includes images of inserted files including notes by and about previous owners and sales
  • uncorrected pages: B3, B3v, B4, S5v, V1, m3, rr1
  • imaged/uploaded November 2022
  • Formerly MR 619 at Meisei University, sold in 2014. Sold to University of British Columbia in 2021 by an anonymous private owner, facilitated by Christie’s

British Library (West 14)

quick take: It has the first state of the portrait, which is rare, and it’s public domain, which is a plus!

  • catalog record (C.39.k.15)
  • digitized cover-to-cover as individual pages, navigable as thumbnails numbered consecutively
    • urls for individual pages or openings (be Merry)
    • downloadable as jpgs of pages 1502 x 2000 x 24 bpp
    • public domain, actually truly, unlike BL usual practice
    • includes color and ruler references and untrimmed backgrounds
  • uncorrected pages: L5, S5v, V1, d1, e1, m3, r2, cc5, dd4, pp2v, pp5, ss3
  • copy-specific notes: One of only four copies that has the first state of the portrait

University of Buffalo (West 161)

quick take: An erratically lit copy you can download as a pdf, but at least it’s public domain

  • catalog record (Vault PR2751 .A1 1623)
  • digitized cover to cover as openings, navigable by scrolling or as thumbnails, or as an outline of the volume’s contents (both options are on the left sidebar of the viewer; I miss the contents table the first few times)
    • download the entire volume as a pdf
    • public domain
  • uncorrected pages: B3, B4v, D2, L5, S5v, V1, V5, m3, dd2v, dd6v, ff1v, oo2v, ss3, zz5v, zz6v
  • imaged April 14, 2016
  • Buffalo also has F2, F3, and F4 imaged in their Shakespeare Collection

Cambridge University Library (West 6)

quick take: It’s there.

  • catalog record (SSS.10.6)
  • digitized cover-to-cover as individual pages, navigable by thumbnails or list of contents in which the image number is the same as the page number, which is not dreamy
    • urls to link to individual pages (Dream)
    • downloadable as jpegs of pages 1195 x 2000 pixels
    • CC BY-NC 3.0 license
  • uncorrected pages: B3v, D2, S5v, V1, f2v, f5, m3, t4v, oo2v, oo5, qq6, qq6v, rr2, rr3, ss3
  • copy-specific notes from catalog: πA1 in facsimile; title page (πA1+1) remargined and repaired with some text in facsimile; portrait is in state 3; profile drawing of a head in profile in Richard II, leaf d3v.
  • imaged in 2016 as part of the 600th anniversary exhibit of the University Library, “Lines of Thought

Folger Shakespeare Library, no. 05  (West 63)

quick take: It’s there, but with openings, not pages; not easily navigable.

  • catalog record (STC 22273 Fo.1 no.05)
  • digitized cover-to-cover as page spreads in the Folger’s Digital Image Collection (displayed as thumbnails without navigation tools)
    • urls to link to the whole set or to openings (noble brethren)
    • downloadable as jpegs of openings now up to 5769 x 4268 pixels max
    • CC BY-SA 4.0 license
  • uncorrected pages: D2, L5, d1, m3, dd2, dd2v, ee5, ff2, ff5v, ss3, zz6v (original leaf E5 missing)
  • copy-specific notes from catalog: πA5+1.2 bound after πA6.; portrait in state 3.; Leaves T3, T4, and b2 supplied from another copy or copies.
  • imaged first in 1999 by Octavo and released as a CD-ROM in 2000; release includes a booklet with a lot of information about F1 in general and this copy in particular (the Folger used to host an OA pdf of the booklet, but the file is corrupted; although see Penn). Included in the booklet is an essay by Donald Farren on why this copy was chosen for the project (pp 13–15); tl;dr good condition, few blemishes, only 2 “misbound” leaves and 3 from other copies of F1.
  • the volume was re-imaged by Octavo in 2004 in order to be used for the kiosk in the exhibition hall (the 1999 images used a raking light that resulted in too many shadows to work well); those are the images now seen in Luna and in Octavo’s Rare Book Room

Folger Shakespeare Library, no. 07 (West 65)

quick take: Digitized microfilm in poor black-and-white resolution available only through paywalled EEBO.

  • catalog record (STC 22273 Fo.1 no. 07)
  • digitized microfilm pastedown-to-pastedown of page spreads in Early English Books Online (subscription-only) nb: this is only identifiable on EEBO as this copy by searching the Folger’s catalog for “STC 22273” and “Syston Park” (visible on the front-paste down bookplate)
    • urls to EEBO record or to openings
    • downloadable as full book or specified images as pdfs or tiffs
    • copyright claimed by ProQuest (see process for requesting permissions)
  • uncorrected pages: B3v, V1, d1, ee5, ss3, zz6v, aaa3
  • copy-specific notes from catalog: πA1 has all margins cropped and is mounted and ruled in red; πA1+1 (title leaf) is close trimmed and inlaid, completed in ms facsimile, and ruled in red.; portrait in state 2.
  • filmed for UMI December 19, 1957; also used for the 1997 Arden CD-ROM

Folger Shakespeare Library, no. 09 (West 67)

quick take: Like Folger no. 5, displays as openings; not easily navigable.

  • catalog record (STC 22273 Fo.1 no. 09)
  • digitized cover-to-cover as page spreads in the Folger’s digital image collection (displayed as thumbnails without navigation tools)
    • urls to link to full set or to openings (great variety)
    • downloadable as jpegs of openings now up to a 6190 x 4591 pixel max
    • CC BY-SA 4.0 license
  • uncorrected pages: L5, S5v, f2v, f5, m3, dd4, ee4v, ee5, ss3, vv1v, xx6
  • copy-specific notes from catalog: πA1 is extended, and πA5+1.2 are bound after πA6. 3b6 is patched, with one word completed in ms facsimile; portrait in state 3; patched (with the lower right corner completed in ms. facsim.) and with the highlight of the pupils inked out.; Leaves B2-5, D2-5, E1,3,4,6, and Z2,5, are supplied from shorter copies, and perhaps d3.4.
  • imaged in 2014 at the request of the rare books curator; the copy had been selected to be loaned to U North Carolina for exhibit and was digitized prior to the loan; the loan ultimately didn’t happen

Folger Shakespeare Library, no. 68 (West 126)

quick take: My preferred of the Folger copies, but still annoying to navigate unless you’re adept at Luna; also viewable in a bookreader.

  • catalog record (STC 22273 Fo.1 no.68)
  • digitized cover-to-cover as page spreads in the Folger’s digital image collection (displayed as thumbnails without navigation tools)
    • urls to link to the whole set or to openings (and, if you know the trick of the search function, to individual plays, although it’s probably easiest to grab those links from the Shakespeare’s Works pages on the Folger’s website) (Tempest)
    • downloadable as jpegs of page openings now up to a 6339 x 5039 pixel max
    • CC BY-SA 4.0 license
  • also available as page spreads and a pdf through the World Digital Library
  • also available in a book reader view with links to individual plays, added as part of the 2016 Wonder of Will celebrations
  • uncorrected pages: D2, H5v, L5, S2, S5v, V1, m3, v3, ‘gg4’v, ee5, ff2, ff5v, zz6v
  • copy-specific notes from catalog: πA1 and 3b6 mounted; πA5+1.2 bound after πA6.; portrait in state 3.
  • imaged in 2007 before being loaned for display in Jamestown for the “World of 1607” Cycle III exhibit

Folger Shakespeare Library, additional copies

quick take: hard-to-navigate hi-res images of copies that were part of the 2016 F1 tour but with friendly copy-specific information; also kind of fun to see Folger images without the usual digital clean-up


presumably all copies listed on this page will eventually be added to the “First Folios collection” on the Folger’s Luna portal although that collection does not (at the moment?) include the F1s listed above; images made circa 2014-2015 and put online starting 2018

Free Library of Philadelphia (West 179)

quick take: a great hi-res public domain imaging of an interesting copy with marginalia attributed to John Milton. My new second favorite one for the artifact, the image quality, signature mark navigation, and PUBLIC DOMAIN (it’s hard to beat the Bodleian’s interface).

  • digital item record and less detailed catalog record (RBD EL Sh15m 1623)
  • digitized cover to cover as individual pages, navigable by thumbnails, plays, or gatherings
    • go to the full item record (linked here and more helpfully at the top of the digitization) to access downloads, and navigation by plays and gatherings; use this digitized copy for a book reader view
    • urls for pages: scroll down to the downloads and choose the zoomable image for the page you want; open or right-click to save link (As You Like It)
    • downloadable as a pdf of the entire book and as individual pages in a range of sizes up to a fab hi-res max of 7320 x 8700 px
    • public domain!!
  • uncorrected pages: V1, d1, m3, ee5, ff5v, qq2v, qq5v, ss3, zz6v
  • Possibly owned and annotated by John Milton, according to a fairly recent analysis; see work by Claire M.L. Bourne and Jason Scott Warren
  • imaged and put online ca. 2020

University of Geneva, Martin Bodmer Foundation (West 216)

quick take: A pristine copy in hi-res images, although only non-commercial use

  • digitized cover to cover as individual pages, navigable by thumbnails or paging through
    • persistent urls for pages (£3. 3. 0)
    • downloadable as jpegs 3672 x 5422 px
    • non-commercial use
  • uncorrected pages: D2, d1, m3, ‘gg4’v, zz6v, kk1, kk6v, ss3, xx3v, zz4v
  • portrait in state 3
  • part of the Bodmer collection of Shakespeare and early modern English literature, which is in the process of being digitized by the Bodmer Lab
  • digitized January 2018 (as per)
  • note: also copies of F2, F3, and F4

Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas Austin (West 185)

quick take: Public domain with reasonably hi-res images and manageable navigation via ContentDM. No longer my second-favorite after the Bodleian’s, because the passage of time is brutal to digital projects; it’s just hard for 2015 to compete with the pace of technology and the higher levels of resolution easy to achieve and store in 2023.

  • catalog record (PFORZ 905 PFZ)
  • digitized cover to cover as page spreads in HRC’s digital image collection, navigable by thumbnails, by play, or by image number
    • persistent urls for individual openings (Loves Labours Lost)
    • downloadable as jpegs of page openings up to 3000 x 2350 px and larger, I think, but my computer doesn’t want to cooperate with the “high-quality” option (oddly still true in 2023 with an entirely different system, so perhaps that’s as large as it gets)
    • public domain!!
    • also viewable through Mirador, allowing for some image manipulation
  • uncorrected pages: D2, L5, V1, V5, k5, m3, ee5, pp5v, qq2v, qq5v, ss3, tt1, vv2
  • copy specific notes from catalog:  πA6 facsimile; belonged to the Newdigate family from 17th century until 1922; not noted in the catalog, but the tp portrait is state 3
  • launched December 22, 2015 (as per) in connection with their exhibit, “Shakespeare in Print and Performance

Haverford College (West 178)

quick take: It’s there, it’s public domain.

  • catalog record (Philips 44)
  • digitized cover-to-cover as individual pages, navigable by page-turning viewer or thumbnails
    • urls for pages or openings (slip case!)
    • downloadable as pdf, jpg (500 x 708 px), or jp2 (1011 x 1416 px) via the Internet Archive
    • presumably public domain (no copyright claims made)
  • uncorrected pages: D2, d1, e2v, e5, k5, m3, ‘gg4’v, ee5, ll2v, qq2v, qq5v
  • added to Internet Archive in February 2023

John Rylands Library, University of Manchester (West 30)

quick take: Annoying and limited interface and ridiculously non-commercial, especially for the year 2023

  • catalog record (8123)
  • digitized cover-to-cover as individual pages, navigable by page-turning viewer or thumbnails (you can choose the Luna or Mirador interface, for what that’s worth)
    • downloadable in Luna as pdf of the full volume or right-click to save lo-res image (553 x 812 px)
    • CC BY-NC-SA
  • uncorrected pages: A1v, B3v, L5, V1, d1, m3, ee5, oo3v, rr1, ss3, zz5v, zz6v
  • imaged in January 2023 and uploaded February 2023, as per info on the digital copy sidebar

University of Leeds, Brotherton Collection (West 12)

quick take: Good context provided, but highly restrictive licensing, so skip this.

  • catalog record (BC Safe/SHA)
  • digitized (textblock only, starting with πA1r [the blank recto of “To the Reader”]) as individual pages, navigable by play/act/scene/line
  • uncorrected pages: S5v, V1, d1, m3, cc5v, ss3, zz6
  • launched May 12, 2014 (as per)
  • actually includes a reasonable amount of context for F1 in general, this copy, and the digitization process

Lehigh University (West 176)

quick take: It’s there.

  • catalog record (822.33 I 1623)
  • digitized cover to cover as individual pages, navigable through the page-turning reader or via thumbnails
    • urls for pages/openings (rear pastedown)
    • downloadable as pdf, jpg (3134 x 4244 px), or jp2 through Internet Archive
    • CC BY
  • uncorrected pages: C4, D2, L5, S2, V1, d1, f1v, f6, v3, dd2v, dd6v, ff1v, ff6, ss3
  • uploaded to Internet Archive March 1, 2023

Meisei University (West 201)

quick take: An interesting annotated copy in a difficult-to-use interface with lo-res images.

  • digitized (textblock only, starting with πA1r [the blank recto of “To the Reader”]) as individual pages, navigable by play/act/scene, TLN, signature, or image number (note: the landing screen is blank and you’ll need to input some sort of search to pull up on image; once you have an image, you can use the navigation to go back and forward)
    • no persistent urls for individual images
    • downloadable individual pages as jpegs of 655 x 932 pixels (use the “printable image” button)
    • images and text copyrighted by Meisei, with permission granted for “non-profit-making, educational or scholarly use” (see)
  • searchable marginalia by word, with results offering the option to open a transcription and to enlarge the marginalia
  • uncorrected pages: D2, e1, e3v, q4v, aa6v, dd4, kk6v, xx6v, zz4v
  • created 2002–2006; F1 imaged on film and then digitized. I believe they are in the process of redesigning the site. (nb, 2020 update: I can’t remember when I wrote that note, but it’s not been updated yet and shows no sign of it) (2023 update: still not redesigned; it’s possible it lives somewhere else and there’s no redirect, but that seems unlikely; would love to know more.)
  • This is an unusual copy in the amount of marginalia provided by a single early 17th-century reader. Akihiro Yamada’s 1998 study and transcription of the marginalia is available in full in a corrected 2005 edition on the site.
  • note: digitized copies of F2, F3, and F4 and of Jonson’s Folio also available

Miami University of Ohio (West 174)

quick take: The place to go for all four folios; public domain of decently sized images; includes uncorrected d5 which misses two lines in R2.

  • catalog record (PR2751 .A1 1623)
  • digitized cover-to-cover as individual pages, navigable by contents, or browse in book reader view
    • urls to pages (provenance info)
    • downloadable as jpgs up to 2256 x 4000 px
    • public domain!!
  • uncorrected pages: B3v, C4, L5, S5v, V1, d1, d5, m3, ‘gg4’v, ¶5v, dd6v, ee5, gg1v, qq5v, rr2, ss3, ss4, ss4v, xx6 (πA1 missing)
  • originally done in 2008; new imaging and new interface April 2015 (as per)
  • note: collection also provides access to 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Folios

New South Wales, State Library (West 192)

quick take: Oddly colored F1 that can be accessed in newly done images at NSW or in older images (but easier to navigate) in ISE.

  • catalog record (SAFE/ RB/ Y1/ 1)
  • digitized cover to cover as individual pages, navigable by book reader or thumbnails
    • urls for individual pages though awkwardly slow to load (tp)
    • downloadable pages as jpgs 3373 x 5000 px (click the not-intuitive “use this” in the bottom right of the viewer)
    • public domain as per
  • digitized in ISE (cover plus textblock, starting with πA1v [“To the Reader”]) as individual pages, navigable by page, play/act/scene/TLN
    • urls for individual pages (tp)
    • downloadable as individual pages as jpegs of 1275 x 2000 pixels (follow “page info” link)
    • copyrighted by New South Wales with permission for “educational, non-profit purposes”—although the public domain license above supersedes this license
  • uncorrected pages: no uncorrected leaves listed (πA1, πA1+1 missing)
  • copy-specific notes from catalog: The first two leaves appear to be a late 18th-century facsimile.
  • the ISE imaging is old; the NSW hosted images were taken in 2015; more info about Shakespeare at NSW
  • note: copies of their F2, F3, and F4 are available at Internet Shakespeare Editions but not, as far as I can find, on the NSW site

Biblioteca Universitaria, Padova (University of Padua) (West 198)

quick take: A fascinating copy with 17th-century prompt notes in less-than-ideal digital form.

  • catalog record (RARI.N.S.1)
  • digitized cover to cover as individual pages, navigable by thumbnails and page numbers
    • downloadable as pdf or jpg (1442 x 2054) of full item or page; details of zoom also downloadable (use the scissors on the left)
    • non-commercial use
  • uncorrected pages: B3v, L5, S5v, V1, d1, e1, m3, ee5, ff2, ff5v, qq6v, rr2, ss3, vv2v, vv3, vv4v
  • copy-specific notes: It’s hard to know where to start with this! There are extensive seventeenth-century manuscript prompt notes on leaves of Measure for Measure, The Winter’s Tale, and Macbeth, including characters’ names, stage directions, and lines presumably marking cuts. πA1 and πA1+1 facsimile.

University of Pennsylvania, Furness Library (West 180)

quick take: Updated imaging and interface for an early and pace-setting digital humanities project; I’m nostalgic for the old site and all its contextual information, but time moves on.

  • catalog record (Folio PR2751 .A1)
  • digitized in a fresh version, now cover to cover and better quality images of individual pages, navigable by scrolling or thumbnails
  • uncorrected pages: B3v, D2, e5, k5, m3, ‘gg4’v, dd2v, dd6v, ff1v, ff6, ss3 (πA1+1, bbb6 missing)
  • copy-specific notes from catalog: Imperfect: genuine port. (in state 2) inlaid in title leaf; colophon mutilated with some text supplied in ms; several leaves mended at margins.
  • imaged originally 1998–2000 as part of the NEH-funded English Renaissance in Context website; that site is available on the Wayback.
  • for posterity, my notes about details on the original images:
    • (textblock only, starting with  πA1r [the blank recto of “To the Reader”]) as individual pages, navigable by play/act/scene and by page numbers (though not signatures)
    • urls for individual pages
    • downloadable as jpegs up to 1045 x 1665 pixels max (use right-click to save image)
    • no obvious statement about rights or licensing, but I believe the SCETI license of CC BY 2.5 covers this (see)

Bibliothèque d’agglomération de Saint-Omer

quick take: An interesting copy although not easy to navigate; now downloadable in hi-res jpgs.

  • catalog record
  • digitized cover-to-cover as page openings, navigable as thumbnails and by jumping to image numbers
    • persistent urls to images (Henry 5)
    • downloadable openings as hi-res images of 5000 x 3580 px
    • non-commercial reuse (see)
  • The story of this First Folio is fabulous: it was identified in 2014 by librarian Rémy Cordonnier in the public library at Saint-Omer, having been assumed previously—in part due to missing preliminary leaves—to be an 18th-century edition. (The reason is doesn’t have a West number is that it was identified after West’s census was completed.) It used to belong to the local Jesuit college until the French revolution. For more information, the article in The Independent is an accessible place to begin.

Trinity College, University of Dublin (West 45)

quick take:

  • catalog record (OL Safe 2.1) but you’ll get a fuller record of details from the digital collections linked below
  • digitized (DOI 10.48495/9s161g78s) cover to cover as individual pages, navigable as thumbnails or—scroll down the page—via the start of individual plays identified by title, page numbers, and signature marks (a nice and easy solution to the navigation problem!)
    • urls to start of plays (Richard II)
    • downloadable as big jpgs of 9235 x 13057 pixels
    • “Copyright The Board of Trinity College Dublin. Images are available for single-use academic application only. Publication, transmission or display is prohibited without formal written approval of the Library of Trinity College, Dublin.” (a very bad solution to a problem that doesn’t exist)
  • uncorrected pages: D2, L5, S5v, V1, d1, ¶¶5v, cc4v,dd2, dd2v, ee5, ff2, ff5v, pp5, qq5v, r1v, ss3, zz6v
  • copy specific notes: πA1 is a pen facsimile, a pawprint on k1
  • digitized and put online in April 2023 (press release)

West Chester University (West 182)

quick take: It’s there, in the public domain!

  • catalog record (822.33 A1)
  • digitized cover-to-cover as individual pages
    • downloadable pages as jpgs of 3500 x 5300 x 24 bpp or as tiffs of the original files
    • no copyright claimed (http://rightsstatements.org/page/NoC-US/1.0/?)
  • uncorrected pages: B3v, B4v, L5, S5v, V1, d1, m3, ee5, ee6, gg2, ss3, vv1v
  • imaged December 2022 by Penn and hosted with their digital collections

Württembergische Landesbibliothek, Stuttgart (West 197)

quick take: It’s there.

  • catalog record (Ra 17 Sha 1)
  • digitized cover-to-cover, viewable as individual pages or as openings, navigable by play and by thumbnail views
    • urls for individual pages (Titus)
    • downloadable pages as jpegs of 2924 x 4500 pixels
    • CC BY-SA 3.0 license (see)
  • also viewable through DFG where you can download the whole volume as a pdf
  • uncorrected pages: D2, L5, S5v, V1, m3, q6v, ss3, vv2v, vv3, vv4v

Yale (West 232)

quick take: a hard-to-navigate but public domain with hi-res images of the Elizabethan Club copy

  • catalog record (BEIN Eliz +28)
  • digitized cover-to-cover as individual pages navigable as thumbnails with signature mark and content info in labels; blanks in prelims omitted, which is weird tbh
    • downloadable pages as jpgs (3535 x 4980 px) or tiffs; pages or full book downloadable as a pdf (scroll all the way down for option in “tools”)
    • public domain (see)
  • uncorrected pages: B3, B3v, B4v, L5, S5v, V1, d1, f1v, f2v, f6, m3, q6v, ‘gg4’v, dd2v, dd6v, ee5, gg1,v, oo3v, ss3, zz5v

Useful related information:

How many copies of the First Folio still exist today?

The easy number to give is 235: 232 counted by West in his census plus the Saint-Omer, an unlisted copy from the Shuckburgh Collection (to be auctioned by Christie’s on May 25, 2016), and a newly identified copy from the collection at Mount Stuart, in Bute, Scotland (which they call the Reed-Bute copy; more bibliographic details on it are in Emma Smith’s description in the TLS).

The answer, however, is more complicated: How many original leaves need to be present? Do made-up copies count if more than half the leaves come from different copies? What about copies that are believed to still exist but aren’t connected to a known copy? Depending on your audience, you’re probably safe saying “235” as long as you give some qualification.

Which plays appeared only in the First Folio? 

All’s Well That Ends Well, Antony and Cleopatra, As You Like It, Comedy of Errors, Coriolanus, Cymbeline, 1 Henry VI, Henry VIII, Julius Caesar, King John, Macbeth, Measure for Measure, Taming of the Shrew, Tempest, Timon of Athens, Twelfth Night, Two Gentlemen of Verona, and Winter’s Tale.

The following plays appeared in both quarto editions prior to F1 and in F1: Hamlet, 1 Henry IV, 2 Henry IV, Henry V, 2 Henry VI (as 1 Contention), 3 Henry VI (as Richard Duke of York), King Lear, Love’s Labour’s Lost, Merchant of Venice, Merry Wives of Windsor, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Much Ado About Nothing, Othello, Richard II, Richard III, Romeo and Juliet, Titus Andronicus, and Troilus and Cressida.

Three plays that we now attribute to Shakespeare did not appear in the First Folio: Edward III (first published in quarto in 1596), Pericles (1609), and Two Noble Kinsmen (1634).

What’s the standard collation formula for an ideal copy of F1?

2°: πA⁶(πA1+1, πA5+1.2), A-2B6, 2C2, a-g6, χ2g8, h-v6, x4, ‘gg3.4′ (±’gg3’), ¶-2¶6, 3¶1, 2a-2f6, 2g2, Gg6, 2h6, 2k-3b6.

What are the signatures for the preliminaries?

Ah, this is tricky. Ben Jonson’s poem (“To the Reader”) is on the verso side of the first leaf: πA1v. The title page (with Shakespeare’s portrait) is on the recto of a single leaf inserted between the first and second leaves: πA1+1r. However, these are inconsistently cataloged in this way! The superscript π is to differentiate the preliminary leaves (signed A) from the first gathering of The Tempest (also signed A), but lots of the projects I’ve listed here do not use the π. And many of them also want to start counting leaves with the tp, not the first leaf. (See, eg, the image of the πA1πA1+1r opening for Folger 5 and the page info for the titlepage as A1r in the Brandeis copy.) So, you should always look at what the page is, rather than relying on what the metadata tells you it is! For more information on the complex issues at stake in the collational formula, and in describing specific copies, see Anthony James West, “A Model for Describing Shakespeare First Folios, With Descriptions of Selected Copies,” The Library 6 (March 1999): 1-49, http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/library/s6-21.1.1. I created a set of slides diagramming the order of the prelims, Blayney’s reasoning behind it, and some alternatives seen in digitized F1s; see the opening image below from “Diagramming the First Folio’s Preliminaries” (http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/M6P413), a CC BY-SA series created just for you.

There are three states of the portrait??

If you need to learn about the three states of the titlepage portrait and how to tell them apart, I cover that for you in my post on the Droeshout engraving for The Collation.

Ack, tell me about the plays’ textual histories! And I need to see digitized quartos and later folios!

There are brief textual histories of all the plays and links to digitized copies held by the Folger Shakespeare Library of the early printed texts on their Shakespeare’s Works page (compiled originally by me, although no longer my responsibility). The British Library has digitized all of their pre-1642 Shakespeare quartos. Copies of the Second (1632), Third (1664), and Fourth (1685) have been digitized by Meisei, Miami, and New South Wales.

What are West numbers and who are “Rasmussen and West”?

West numbers are the number that Anthony James West assigns to copies of the First Folio in his census (Oxford, 2003), which is a hugely useful resource for learning more about copies of the book. R & W refers to The Shakespeare First Folios: A Descriptive Catalogue, eds Eric Rasmussen and Anthony James West (Palgrave, 2011). This book is, as reviews have pointed out, a bit of a mess. I used it as the source for the uncorrected pages, and I corrected their mistakes when I saw them. (Warning! We’re going to get into the weeds here!) For instance, they seem to identify (e.g., in Brandeis, Folger 68, Miami, and Penn) what—according to the collation that West himself uses and that I provide here—is ‘gg4’ instead as “x6,” which is just silly. (The single quotes around the signature ‘gg4’ indicate, per Bowers, that the signature is anomalous. The double quotes of “x6” are my scornful scare quotes.) Before Blayney introduced ‘gg3.4’, the accepted notation for those pages, per Hinman, was χ1,2, using the Greek letter chi to denote the unsigned leaves opening Troilus. But χ is not x and even though these leaves follow the x gathering, they have never been incorporated into that gathering (Greg, before Hinman, noted them as [1,2], carefully placed after the series ending with x4), so to refer to the second leaf follow the 4 leaves of x as “x6” is just nonsensical. Nor, honestly, do I understand why they wouldn’t use the now-standard Blayney collation, especially since that’s what West himself advocates for. Also, while I’m at it, they also use “x6” (e.g., Folger 9, Meisei, and Miami) to denote the 6th leaf of the xx gathering, ignoring what is obviously a missigned “x” gathering and so should more properly be indicated with xx. Finally, there is no such thing as leaf y5 (as they identify in Miami), only a failure to understand italic pilcrows. I have corrected these mistakes to read ‘gg4’, xx6, and ¶5, following Blayney. I have not actually verified that the listed uncorrected pages are, in fact, uncorrected, so double-check these for yourself. I note, as well, that the appendix listing press variants in R&W should be taken with a grain of salt. Obviously. FFS. Sorry.

zomg after this I am so tired of the First Folio.

Me, too, sweetie. Me, too.

I still like downloading things, though, so how do I get images out of Internet Archive?

Follow their instructions on the help page: Downloading—A Basic Guide. You can usually do shortcuts that follow this pattern, but that success depends on the filenames being consistent with the identifier name:

  • original file name: archive.org/details/identifier/page, mode, etc
  • to view single downloadable jpgs and jp2s: archive.org/download/identifier/identifier_jp2.zip/


When I first published this page in 2015, there were 13 copies listed: Brandeis; Folger copies 5, 7, 9, and 68; Leeds; Meisei; Miami of Ohio; New South Wales; Bodleian; St Omer; and Stuttgart. (See it on the Wayback!) There’s been a lot of changes since then.

  • March 11, 2016: added digitized copies from Cambridge and the Harry Ransom Center and the new bookreader view for Folger 68.
  • April 7, 2016: changed numbers of extant F1s to include Shuckburgh and Mount Stuart.
  • April 27, 2016: added new IIIF manifest and viewer to Bodleian description
  • June 16, 2016: added digitized copy from Boston Public Library and a spreadsheet of characteristics
  • January 3, 2017: cosmetic changes only but the accordians should make this page easier to browse
  • February 16, 2017: added link to my article on “Digital First Folios”
  • June 6, 2017: added diagram of prelims and link to my slides of more diagrams
  • November 26, 2017: add links to the 2015 imaging of NSW’s F1
  • December 19, 2017: updated St Omer links
  • February 4, 2018: added Geneva, Folger copies 19, 22, 33, 38, and 43.
  • November 1, 2019: added Folger copy 54, corrected various links.
  • November 3, 2020: added Yale as a way of not thinking about the election
  • January 18, 2022: added Free Library of Philadelphia, made the accordions less annoying
  • April 21, 2023: Gotta be up-to-date for the 400th year of it all, so updated the accordion plugin again and added a bunch of new copies (h/t Shakespeare Census): Auckland, British Columbia, British Library, Buffalo, Folger copies 31, 36, 50, 51, 58, 59, 61, 67, 71, 72, 77, Haverford, John Rylands, Lehigh, Padua, and West Chester. Records for Penn updated to reflect to new digitization, other items updated with links where needed.
  • April 22, 2023: Trinity College, Dublin, added; reranked my favorites to create a top 3 list, but resisted the urge to list my most hated.

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