The Shakespeare Census attempts to locate and describe all extant copies of all editions of Shakespeare’s works through 1700. We include all items attributed to Shakespeare in print during the period, but not those attributed to him only by modern scholarship. We exclude the Restoration adaptations. Copies attested earlier but currently missing are not included.
Fragments (copies with fewer than half of their original leaves) are indicated by the icon . For the four folios, we only include fragments in institutional repositories, not those privately held, since there are so many and they are difficult to trace through repeated private sales and auctions.
The Census currently includes 3003 copies, plus 382 fragments.
High-quality, color digital facsimiles are available for 710 copies and fragments, or 21% of the total. Click on the icon in the list of copies to access the digital facsimile. If you know of any we have missed, please let us know. (We exclude EEBO copies and some older, lower-resolution image sets.)
Each copy in the Shakespeare Census has been given a unique identifier, the SC #, which can be used in references and citations and which will not change. (For this reason, some numbers may appear out of order in copy listings, since individual copies may have changed Location or otherwise moved position since numbers were first assigned.) Copies of the First Folio have SC #s beginning at 5000; F2 begin at 6000; F3 at 7000; F4 at 8000. Please cite the Shakespeare Census as follows:
Shakespeare Census. Ed. Adam G. Hooks and Zachary Lesser. Created 2018. Accessed 04 December 2023. <http://www.shakespearecensus.org>. SC n.
The static URL for any copy is https://shakespearecensus.org/sc/n , where n is the SC #.
Currently, 437 copies and fragments (almost all folios) are attested only by the holdings details in ESTC or library catalogues, but as these details are often erroneous, such copies are listed as unverified (⃠) until they have been confirmed. The other copies, including both those initially deriving from ESTC and not, have been confirmed on site (✓). A list of all unverified copies can be found here.
The four folio editions are treated slightly differently from the other titles, since there are so many more surviving copies; since people are often interested in the number of surviving copies of each folio and not of all of them combined into a single title; and since F2, F3, and F4 were each published in multiple issues. Each folio is treated as a distinct title: when you click on one of them, you will see a listing of all issues of that edition, described in brief. The count of extant editions at the top of this page thus provides the total for each folio edition. Much of the initial information about the First Folio was gathered from Eric Rasmussen and Anthony West's census (see References). The initial data for the Second, Third, and Fourth Folios derives from the Shakespeare Folios Project begun by Cyrus Mulready with Adam G. Hooks, Emma Smith, and Sarah Werner. In 2019, the Shakespeare Folios Project began a collaboration with the Shakespeare Census, and we are very grateful to these editors for sharing their data with us. We have also searched auction records for copies going back to 1990; before that date, information about each copy is more sparse, and it therefore becomes difficult to ensure that a given copy is not already in the Census either because of a later auction record or because it has since made its way into an institution repository.
A note about the number of First Folios: the Shakespeare Census differs from the Rasmussen and West census in that it includes only presently extant copies. For this reason, the Shakespeare Census does not include 7 copies of F1 that are included in Rasmussen and West (their numbers 218, 219, 221, 223, 226, 227, and 228), because these copies are currently untraceable and presumed lost. If any of them do turn up, they will of course be added to the Shakespeare Census. Subtracting these 7 copies from Rasmussen and West's total of 232 copies, and adding the three that have turned up since then (SC 5004, SC 5151, SC 5187) yields 228 copies included in the Shakespeare Census.
A list of "ghost" copies recorded (mainly) in ESTC Holdings Details or (in a few cases) in other library catalogs or in Bartlett – which turn out not to exist – can be found here.
A list of all libraries currently in the database, along with the number of copies they hold, can be downloaded here. Note that some universities have multiple collection locations associated with them, which will each appear separately in the list. This project is modeled on and extends the groundbreaking bibliographic work of Henrietta C. Bartlett (archival papers and Wikipedia page). It builds on and incorporates the information in A Census of Shakespeare’s Plays in Quarto 1594-1709, compiled by Bartlett and Alfred W. Pollard (1916 - digital facsimile), which was revised and extended by Bartlett alone (1939 - digital facsimile).
You can download a cross-index of SC numbers and both the 1916 and 1939 Bartlett numbers here.
We are still attempting to locate the following copies listed in Bartlett; if you have any information about them, please contact us:
Bartlett 1939 #s: 73, 78, 80, 91, 93, 109, 110, 112, 121, 127, 128, 137, 153, 269, 291, 410, 413, 415, 416, 423, 424, 425, 431, 433, 435, 436, 437, 441, 449, 450, 455, 461, 464, 471, 472, 474, 475, 579, 717, 784, 839, 842, 901, 902, 903, 908, 909, 911, 918, 920, 921, 929, 932, 933, 939, 1027, 1217 (error?)
Bartlett 1916 #s : 65, 245, 251 (error?), 310, 317, 352, 441, 494, 607, 628, 631, 634.
We are also still attempting to locate the following items in Sidney Lee's various Censuses:
Lee, Pericles #: 39, 45, 46, 55, 59, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74
Lee, Lucrece #: 28, 41
Lee, Venus and Adonis #: 21 (error?)
We welcome contributions and corrections to copy-specific information from users via the Contact page.
Created by: Adam G. Hooks and Zachary Lesser
Principal Developer: Scott Enderle
Project Developers: Roshan Benefo, Yufan Cheng, Lucy Ferry, Jinyun Mu, J.D. Porter, Mariana Vega, Sophia Ye
Graduate Research Assistants: Eve Houghton, Judith Weston
Undergraduate Research Assistant: Rishabh Tagore With support from: Price Lab for Digital Humanities and Penn Libraries.