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The Rev. J. Clayton Murray Archives and Special Collections is displaying “The First Folio of Shakespeare: The Norton Facsimile” (1st ed.) in conjunction with the commemoration of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.

At the invitation of the Folger Shakespeare Library, archives and special collections throughout the world have opened their original facsimiles, or copies of “The First Folio” (1623) to The Tragedy of Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 1, Line 1710, page 733. The oft’ quoted phrase “To be, or not to be…” appears for the first time in print.

Two members of Shakespeare’s acting company, John Heninge and Henry Condrell, compiled the “First Folio” and had it printed seven years after Shakespeare’s death. All 18 plays in the volume make their first appearance in print. Without “First Folio” (1623), Shakespearian scholars and historians believe that “all of that work would have been lost forever.”

The facsimile is displayed on the second floor of the library near the archives through the end of April, National Poetry Month.

For more information, contact Kathleen DeLaney at or Ext. 8421.

Submitted by: Kathleen DeLaney, archivist and special collections librarian, archives