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September 16, 2019

Free Library to display Shakespeare first folio in rare book department

Books Shakespeare
Free Library of Philadelphia Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

The Free Library of Philadelphia

It was recently discovered that a Shakespeare first folio in the Free Library of Philadelphia's rare book department likely belonged to the English poet John Milton, who made hundreds of annotations throughout.

The assertion was published in an article in the The Guardian citing two scholars.

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To celebrate the discovery, the rare book department will display the folio for public viewing for a short period. It will be on display with other items related to Shakespeare and Milton, including a first edition of Milton's masterwork "Paradise Lost." 

The folio was last displayed at the Free Library in 2014, when it was featured in a Shakespeare exhibit centered around the library's extraordinary research collections on Shakespeare and his influence.

Of the 750 first folios originally printed, only 235 remain and the Free Library's is one of about 40 complete copies in the world.

The folio can be viewed through Saturday, Oct. 19 in the rare book department, located on the third floor of the Parkway Central Library, and open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. There's also a guided tour of the department's general collections at 11 a.m.

Shakespeare First Folio on Display

Monday, Sept. 16, through Saturday, Oct. 19
Free Library of Philadelphia's Parkway Central branch
1901 Vine St., Philadelphia, PA 19103

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