May 28, 2022

William Shakespeare’s First Folio Published in 1623 Gifted to UBC Library

From UBC Library:

The University of British Columbia has acquired a complete first edition of William Shakespeare’s Comedies Histories and Tragedies—an extremely rare book published seven years after Shakespeare’s death and credited with preserving almost half of his plays.

The First Folio, as it’s also known, includes 36 of Shakespeare’s 38 known plays, edited by his close friends, fellow writers and actors. The 1623 publication is considered the most authoritative of all early printings.

Photo of William Shakespeare’s First Folio, published in 1623, and gifted to the UBC Library.

UBC purchased the First Folio, formerly owned by a private collector in the U.S., through Christie’s New York with funding provided by a consortium of donors from across North America and with the generous support of the Department of Canadian Heritage.

“In comparison to many of our peer institutions, we are a relatively young university library,” said University Librarian Dr. Susan E. Parker. “We are deeply grateful to the many foundations and individual donors who have been essential in making an acquisition like this possible for a place like UBC Library and we are honoured to be its caretakers.”


The acquisition comes with a mandate to ensure public access to the unique volume. UBC’s department of theatre and film, the emerging media lab at UBC, and the master of digital media program at the Centre for Digital Media plan to collaborate on augmented and virtual reality projects. UBC’s digital media plan for the Folio will not only engage new communities, but also amplify the value of one of the world’s most precious cultural treasures and make the wonder of Shakespeare accessible to everyone.


In partnership with the Vancouver Art Gallery, this tangible piece of cultural heritage will be exhibited to the public from Jan. 12 to March 22 along with three subsequent 17th-century Folio editions of Shakespeare’s plays. The exhibition, For All Time – The Shakespeare FIRST FOLIO, marks the first time that all four Folios have been presented in Vancouver.

Learn More, Read the Complete Announcement (about 1400 words)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.