2023 marked the 400th anniversary of the publication of Shakespeare’s plays in a single volume, known as the ‘First Folio’ – one of the world’s most famous books. The College is proud to hold one of the 235 First Folios known to still exist (along with the next three editions). The College’s copy is particularly interesting, as it was once owned by the eighteenth-century actor and impresario David Garrick, who helped cement Shakespeare’s place on the English stage.

As part of the 400th anniversary celebrations, the College arranged an exhibition, talks, and workshops. The year culminated with the digitisation of its copy, ensuring a lasting legacy and making the text (with its unique annotations, including some by the Folio’s printers) available to students, scholars, and the general public.

The Folio has now joined 32 other digitised items as part of a long-term project to make available a range of the College’s special collections, focusing on treasures and items most in demand by researchers.

Queen’s currently has the third-highest number of items made available by a college on Digital Bodleian.

Dr Matthew Shaw, College Librarian