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Shakespeare and Shakespeariana Collection
University of Toronto, Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library

Shakespeare, William; English literature

The collection has been on loan since 1973 from Sidney Fisher through the Ontario Heritage Foundation.

The collection includes editions of Shakespeare and Shakespeariana. It contains the four Shakespeare folios (1623, 1632,1664, and 1685); significant editions of collected works edited during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; and some twentieth century editions. Early editions of some works believed to be sources for Shakespeare's plays include: histories of Halle (1550), Grafton (1569), and Holinshed (1577); North's translation of Plutarch's lives (1579); and Chaucer's Workes (1561). First editions of Shakespeare's contemporaries include: Jonson's Workes (1616), Beaumont and Fletcher's Comedies and tragedies (1647), Spenser's Faerie Queene (1609), Coryat's Crudities (1611), and Chapman's Caesar and Pompey (1631). Biographical and critical works range from Jonson's Timber (1641) and Thomas Fuller's Historie of the worthies of England (1662) to twentieth century studies. Also present is material on the forgeries of William Henry Ireland and John Payne Collier, dictionaries; and books on hunting, heraldry, genealogy, and other aspects of Shakespeare's world. A unique item in the collection is a manuscript account of the life of Richard III, originally written by Sir George Buck (ca 1620). This account attempts to correct the image of Richard perpetuated in Shakespeare's play.


2,500 volumes.

Bibliographic Access
The collection is being catalogued. The material is listed in a special Fisher card file kept with the public catalogue. There is also an exhibition catalogue (see below).

Physical Access
The collection is open to the public with identification. For further information visit:

Interlibrary Loan: No.

Reprography: As the condition of the material warrants.

Reference Assistance: Yes.

Publications Describing Collection
Notes on an exhibition of books from the Fisher Collection. -- Toronto : Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, 1973.