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Special Collections Spotlight: Shakespeare

October 12th, 2013

Humanities News

Special Collections Spotlight’s latest entry showcases the Shakespeare collection of rare books and prints, anchored by the first published collection of Shakespeare’s plays.

In December of 1961, Allan Bluestein, a member of the philanthropic club The Brandeis Bibliophiles, donated what is perhaps the most brilliant gem in the collection: a First Folio edition of Shakespeare’s works from 1632. Fewer than 240 copies of the First Folio are known to exist today, and roughly one-third of these are in the Folger Shakespeare Library. Bluestein also donated a copy of the Second Folio and a Fourth Folio; another Fourth Folio was donated by Henry and Hannah Hofheimer. In addition to these materials, the Baldwin Shakespeare Collection—the core of which was acquired from Ruth M. Baldwin of the Baldwin Library, University of Florida, combined with other Shakespeare gifts and purchases—includes many rare and fascinating editions, compilations, and critical material from the Renaissance through the early twentieth century. See the Spotlight for details, written by Margo Kolenda, undergraduate student in English, Hispanic Studies, and Comparative Literature. 

Special Collections Spotlight provides a close online look at rare and fascinating individual items from the special collections of Brandeis Libraries, including unique manuscripts, rare books, and unusual ephemera. Click on the link from the Archives and Special Collections home page, or go directly to

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