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First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare


April 7, 2016 - May 1, 2016

Key image for: First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare

Imagine a world without the immortal phrases “To be, or not to be,” “Beware the Ides of March” and others. It almost happened! The book that saved many of William Shakespeare’s greatest plays from being forever lost will be on view April 7 to May 1, 2016 in the exhibition, First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare. The exhibition brings one of the remaining copies of this important historic publication to the Currier as its exclusive New Hampshire and Boston-area venue.

Many of Shakespeare's plays were written to be performed and were not published during his lifetime. The First Folio came out in 1623, seven years after Shakespeare’s death and represents the first collected edition of Shakespeare’s plays. Two of Shakespeare’s fellow actors compiled 36 of his plays, hoping to preserve them for future generations. Eighteen of these plays would have been lost if not for the First Folio, including Macbeth, Julius Caesar, Twelfth Night, The Tempest, Antony and Cleopatra, The Comedy of Errors and As You Like It.

The Currier is proud to have worked with our academic partners, Saint Anselm College, University of Massachusetts Lowell; University of New Hampshire, Durham and University of New Hampshire, Manchester to secure this treasure for our regional audience.

Image credit: Title page with Martin Droeshout engraving of Shakespeare. Shakespeare First Folio, 1623. Folger Shakespeare Library.

Exhibition Support

First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and by the support of, Vinton and Sigrid Cerf, the British Council and other generous donors.

The Currier's presentation of First Folio! The Book that Gave us Shakespeare is sponsored by the Getz Charitable Trust, Citizens Bank, N.A. Trustee; the McIninch Foundation; the New Hampshire Humanities, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Humanities; the Jack and Dorothy Byrne Foundation; and William W. Upton. 

This project was made possible with support from New Hampshire Humanities, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Humanities. Learn more at

Related Events at the Currier
Shakespeare Family Day Saturday, April 9, 2016, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
ARTalk: First Folio Sunday, April 10, 2016, 2 p.m.
First Folio: Late Night Thursday, April 21, 2016, 6-9 p.m.
Public Tour: Spotlight on Shakespeare Saturday, April 23, 2016, 11:30 a.m.

Related Currier Exhibition
Shakespeare's Potions: Library Focus Exhibition: on view through June 26.

Explore Events at Our Partner Institutions
UNH Durham
UNH Manchester
Saint Anselm College

Other Events
New Hampshire Library Events
First Folio Educator Conference

Read the exhibition press release.