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Main Library 800 Vine Street Cincinnati, Ohio 45202–2009

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Shakespeare Folio


n 2016, the Folger Shakespeare Library displayed First Folios in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. Folger selected the Cincinnati Museum Center to design the exhibits, handle logistics, and escort the folios to each venue. In recognition of a successful tour, Folger lent its First Folio for a special exhibit just for Cincinnati: Shakespeare and the Queen City. As part of this exhibit, the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County lent its second and fourth Shakespeare folios. You can see them by visiting the Joseph S. Stern, Jr. Cincinnati Room at the Main Library or online at

by any other name…



The First Folio sold very well and a second edition, known as the Second Folio, was printed in 1632. The text of the Second Folio remained largely the same as the First Folio, though it included nearly 1,700 minor corrections, fixed typographical errors, and made spelling changes for consistency. The one addition was a poem about William Shakespeare by John Milton. The folio came from the estate of John J. Emery, the developer of the Carew Tower.

The collection of Shakespeare’s plays went into a fourth printing in 1685, known as the Fourth Folio. The Fourth Folio includes seven additional plays only one of which is now believed to be the work of William Shakespeare. This book was the final edition that strictly followed the format established in the First Folio, including the frontispiece featuring the engraved portrait by Martin Droeshout. The portrait was produced after Shakespeare died, but because it was approved by his friends it is believed to be a good likeness. Shakespeare’s Fourth Folio was given to the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County in 1961 from the Friends of the Library as the “2 millionth book” added to its collection.

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