The Norton Facsimile of The First Folio of Shakespeare (First edition published on October 11, 1968), was donated to Western Libraries by Dr. Howard McGaw, faculty member (1963-1976) who also served as director of Wilson Library from 1964 to 1967. It is the sixth facsimile edition to be published with previous editions prepared in 1866, 1876, 1902, 1910 and 1954. Prepared by Charlton Hinman, who made an extensive comparison of the originals held in the Folger Library, to find the clearest and best examples for reproduction.
The First Folio was originally an effort by friends, Edward Blount and Isaac Jaggard to bring together all of Shakespeare’s works following his death in 1616. It was completed in 1623. Though formally titled, Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies, it became known by the size of paper (folio, full size sheets, folded once) that it was published on. In addition to the gathering of the texts of many of his works, the title page includes a portrait, created by Martin Droeshout that is assumed to closely represent what Mr. Shakespeare actually looked like. According to the Folger Shakespeare Library, scholars believe that no more than 750 copies were originally printed, with 233 surviving today, 82 of which are housed at the Folger Library.