The Centre for Research Collections (CRC) provides access to the University of Edinburgh’s cultural and heritage collections, including Special Collections (rare books, manuscripts, archives) and Museums (art, historic musical instruments). The Centre is located within the University’s Main Library and cares for over 400,000 rare books and manuscripts.

The CRC’s rich holdings of early English drama include the majority of editions of William Shakespeare published before 1660, mainly through the Halliwell-Phillipps Collection. Halliwell-Phillipps (1820-1889) was a prolific and controversial literary scholar, who built up vast collections on Shakespeare and English literature. Over a number of years starting in 1872, Halliwell-Phillipps donated some 1,000 printed volumes on Shakespeare. The University was able to secure another collection, consisting mainly of Jacobean, Restoration and early 18th-century plays, which Halliwell-Phillipps had gifted to Penzance Library in 1866, by purchase at auction in 1964. The impetus for that purchase came from the recently-formed Friends of Edinburgh University Library. This second collection includes 600 volumes of 17th and 18th century English drama.

The overall collection includes 16th-century works by Italian, French and Spanish authors. Its strength lies in English books, especially English drama of the 17th and 18th centuries. There are over plays including works by Ben Jonson, Beaumont and Fletcher, George Chapman, Thomas Middleton, John Webster, John Dryden, Philip Massinger, and William Wycherley. Several are playhouse copies with contemporary stage directions added in manuscript.

You can learn more about the CRC at their website, and browse images of their collections through their Image Collections.

Terms of use

The Centre for Research Collections, Edinburgh University Library has graciously contributed images from their collections to Shakespeare Documented, and retains sole ownership of said images. Visitors may download, link to and cite the images within Shakespeare Documented in personal research only. Any further use, including, but not limited to, unauthorized downloading or distribution of the images is strictly prohibited. Visitors must contact the Centre for Research Collections, Edinburgh University Library to request additional use, at:

Documents contributed by Centre for Research Collections, Edinburgh University Library

SHAKESPEARE DOCUMENTED IS STILL GROWING! Descriptive content and transcriptions will continue to be added, updated and expanded. Check back for regular updates!
This is the second edition of Titus Andronicus, printed in 1600 by James Roberts for Edward White. John Danter registered the play and printed the first edition in 1594, for White and Thomas Millington. 
ca. 1633 - 1643
This document provides a unique record of Shakespeare, at the peak of his career, gathering with friends and colleagues at the Tabard Inn in Southwark, and all of them cutting their names into the paneling of one of the public rooms there.