Shakespeare’s First Folio at UBC

UBC and Rare Books and Special Collections at UBC Library is thrilled to announce the acquisition of a complete first edition of William Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies. Published in 1623, seven years after Shakespeare’s death, the First Folio includes 36 of Shakespeare’s 38 known plays. The texts, edited by Shakespeare’s close friends, fellow writers and actors, are considered the most authoritative of all early printings.

The First Folio, formerly owned by a private collector in the US, was purchased 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.

16th century London and 21st century Vancouver.

In partnership with the Vancouver Art Gallery, this tangible piece of cultural heritage will be exhibited to the public from January 12 to March 22 along with three subsequent seventeenth-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. The exhibition will be accompanied by an audio mobile guide featuring the voice of Christopher Gaze, Founding Artistic Director, Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival, in addition to a series of public programs, including talks, performances and more. For further information, please visit

To compliment the exhibition at the VAG, a display of books from RBSC’s collection that support early modern and Shakespeare studies will be up through the end of February 2022 in the Rare Books and Special collections reading room. The RBSC reading room is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, please contact Rare Books and Special Collections at (604) 822-2521 or

You can read more about the acquisition and view a curated photo collection of Shakespeare’s First Folio at UBC Library.