Digitizing the Second Folio

September 23rd, 2015

The process of digitizing our copy of Shakespeare’s Second Folio is underway, in anticipation of all the events, on campus and further afield, in 2016, the year of Shakespeare. In that year we will join in events and exhibitions honoring the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s legacy.

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Jesse Henderson of the UW Digital Collections Center, working with Special Collections staff, has begun the high-resolution preservation-quality digitizing, using UWDCC equipment in Memorial Library. Once the reformatting and metadata are complete, a digital version of our copy of the Second Folio, complete with its extensive marginalia by the late 18th-century philologist John Horne Tooke (1736-1812), will be available to all as part of the UW Digital Collections.

Detail of the custom-made box housing the Second Folio. The book itself was rebound in red morocco by Riviere & Sons in London, with box to match. From the Department of Special Collections, Memorial Library, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Detail of the custom-made box housing the Second Folio. The book itself was rebound in red morocco by Riviere & Sons in London, with box to match. From the Department of Special Collections, Memorial Library, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

According to the entry by Michael T. Davis in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, John Horne Tooke’s interest in Shakespeare dated from his youth, and he “passed his last days correcting a copy of Shakespeare” — this copy, we assume.

Our copy was the gift to the Libraries of Ann Nelson, in memory of her husband Prof. “Bud” Nelson and in honor of now curator emeritus Dr. John Tedeschi.

— Robin Rider