Excerpt from The Shakespeare First Folios: A Descriptive Catalogue
Edited by Eric Rasmussen and Anthony James West
London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012


79  The Free Library of Philadelphia

Logan Square

Philadelphia, PA 19103



Joseph Early Widener, an owner of this copy, was the second member of the Widener family to own a First Folio. His nephew, Harry Elkins Widener (1885-1912), had acquired a Folio, West 151, in 1907. Joseph lost his older brother, George Dunton Widener, and nephew Harry in the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. The majority of Joseph’s life was devoted to continuing his father’s passion for collecting art and rare books. He arranged to bequeath the family art collection, with works by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Manet, and Renoir, to the National Gallery in Washington, D.C., of which he was a founding benefactor.


This volume is heavily annotated and the manuscript is in two hands that appear to date from the 17th century. Many of the annotations are focused on removing perceived obscenities and correcting typographical mistakes. There are also examples of more detailed literary commentary, identification of sources, and the marking of songs.



Lee, Census, no. 10, Class IA: ‘Long in the French family of Belleroche, which settled for a time in England after the revocation of the edict of Nantes. Subsequently owned by a member of the family residing near Brussels; sold by him at Christie’s Sale-rooms in London in July 1899, to present owner for £1,700.’


The owner at the time of Lee’s Census was Bernard Buchanan MacGeorge, Esq. of 19 Woodside Terrace, Glasgow. MacGeorge privately sold his set of the four Folios for £10,000 in 1905 or in July 1908 to Marsden J. Perry of Rhode Island. There are conflicting dates due to notes that exist in Maggs’ copy of Lee’s Census. Perry made his fortune in railroads and amassed a remarkable Shakespeare library that included Halliwell-Phillipps’s collection. Perry’s collection was acquired by Rosenbach in August 1919, who sold the set of four Folios (including a Second once owned by George Daniel) to Joseph Early Widener, the collector and bibliophile of Philadelphia, for $60,000. After Widener’s death his son, Peter A.B. Widener II, and daughter, Mrs Josephine Widener Wichfeld, presented all four Folios to the Free Library of Philadelphia in memory of their father. The donation was made in April 1944 and officially announced on 22 January 1945.



Belleroche family

Bernard Buchanan MacGeorge (d. 1924)

Marsden J. Perry (1850-1937)

A.S.W. Rosenbach (1876-1952)

Joseph Early Widener (1872-1943)

Peter A.B. Widener II (1895-1948) and Mrs. Josephine Widener Wichfeld (1902-1961)

Free Library of Philadelphia (1944-present)



Bound size: 339mm x 216mm. The binding is dark brown calfskin. There is no ornamentation on the boards. The spine has six bands and gold-tooled ornamentation. The second panel has a reddish leather patch with 'shakespea | works' gold-tooled on it. William Spawn, the conservator and historian of bookbinding, believed the binding was done in London in the eighteenth century. The British Library's binding specialist confirms that the binder was also a binder for Samuel Pepys. The bottom corners are bent on the front and back. The hinge has creases in the leather and is partially separating at the top. (In the examination of this copy, a binders' pin was found in one of the gutters.)


Original Leaves Present: all (100%).


Condition: Binder's Leaves

Pre-Original Leaves

The pastedown is loose; there are wormholes along the top; there are some red spots on the page; it has MS pencil at the top: '5'. The first binder’s leaf has a vertical 'PPH' watermark; there are red spots and yellow stains on the outer edge; holes along the gutter are from previous sewing; the verso ahs a bookplate in the center: 'ex libris joseph widener'.


Post-Original Leaves

The first binder’s leaf has a 'PPH' watermark; there are gutter holes and a stain; the verso has pencil MS in the gutter '14'. The second binder’s leaf has a 'PPH' watermark. The pastedown has a 'PPH' watermark and some brown spots.


Condition: Preliminaries

πA1 has tears in the inner foot; there are holes in the gutter from previous sewing; the foot is fagged. πA1+1 is mounted on another leaf; there are 2 repaired holes in the portrait; the portrait is askew; a strip 20mm x 218mm is missing on the right edge of the portrait; there are red spots. πA2 has wormholes in the foot; there is spotting in the outer margin; the lower outer corner is worn; the outer edge is uneven. πA3 has a spot that affects 1 letter in 'praise' in line 32. πA5 has a tear in the foot and a worn lower outer corner. πA5+1 has a fold in the top half of column a affecting 4 letters in lines 15 and 17-19; the lower outer corner is worn; there is a tear below the text. πA5+2 has a wrinkled outer margin.


Condition: Text

A1 measurements: 327mm x 207mm


Manuscript Annotations

General Notes: Unless otherwise noted, the MS is brown ink marking the stated lines. MS early in the volume is usually in a hand identified by light brown ink; this is mostly marking lines, although there are some more detailed notes. Most written notes and corrections are in a different, later hand identified by dark brown ink. Individual marks are recorded through the end of gg8v (2 Henry IV). After that, MS that is marking lines is not noted, but MS words or emendations are. Every play is heavily marked up except the following: 1 Henry VI2 Henry VI3 Henry VI (1 mark on q4v a30-2), Henry VIII (1 mark on v3v a11-28, the only highlight by the 'dark brown ink' hand that is usually making editorial corrections), and Titus Andronicus.


The Tempest A1 MS a55-62, b44-49, 52-57, 63-66. A1v MS a3-6, 24-26, 60-2. A2 MS a1-2, 15-20, 33-7, 39-44, b15-19, 22-30, 60-3; underlining 'sight-out-running' in b22-30 and 'still-vext' b60-3. A2v MS a25-30, 32-4, 44-59, 64-66, b1-4, 6-9, 15-20, 41-4, 45-51; underlining 'blew ey’d hag' and 's' added after 'that' a44-59. A3 MS a27-30, 32-5, 36-40, 42, 55-61, 63-5; underlining 'the watch-dogges barke' a42. A3v MS a1-5, a35-7, a51-3. A4 MS a42-9, b26-8, 63-6. A4v MS a42-6, 51-2, b3-5, 34-48; stroke through final 'd' of 'undrown’d'. A5 MS a40-52; MS margin 'Setebos god of ye Can. Gals | purch. pil. vol. 1. p. 33.' a38-9. A6v MS b45-54. B1 MS a32-4, 62-6, b13, 17-22, 30-2, 54-5, 57-64; underlining 'neuer [s]urfeited Sea' b13. B1v MS a2-7, 23-38, 47-50, 61-5, b23-36, 40-66. B2 MS a13-15, 23-35, 52-9, b1-5, 13-20, 35-6; crossed-out 'y' of 'your' a27. B2v MS a7-8, 20-2, 32-5, 61-2, b1-8, 20-45, 56-62. B3 MS a17-24, 32-3. B3v MS b38-41. B4 MS b3-4. The Two Gentlemen of Verona B6v MS b40-4. C1v MS b23-9. C2 MS b45-6. C2v MS a30-5, 49-54. C3 MS b50-9. C3v MS a17-27. C4v MS a40-4. C5 MS a57-66, b1-6. C6 MS b51-7. D1 MS incorrect running title and correct one is written in, partially trimmed off; MS b18-21, 38-44. D1v MS incorrect running title and correct one is written in, partially trimmed off; MS a3-6. The Merry Wives of Windsor D3 MS b61-5. D3v MS a2-5, 25-37, 50-7. E3v MS b45 second 'direct' crossed out; MS b52-3 adding comma after printed 'acte', crossing out comma after 'often', crossing out 's' of 'acts'. Measure for Measure F1 MS a48-53. F2 MS a41-2, 55-9, b20, 38-9, 49-50, 65-6; 's' added after printed 'move' a55-9; 'and' added before 'witle[ss]e' b20. F2v MS a42-4, b3-4, 7-9, 25-7. F4 MS b31-9, 45-8. F4v MS a51-7, b20-6. F5 MS a23-7, 34-8; MS 'or' written over crossed-out 'and' b11; MS '*' above 'en-Shield' with '*enshrin’d' in margin partially trimmed. F6 MS numbers '4', '2', '3', '1', and '5' under printed 'them to heare me [s]peak' with 1 number per word a21; MSb30-1, 32-43, 47-51, 52-61; MS crossing out printed 'ri' and adding 'n' to make 'penury' b43. G1 MS hard to read margin. G1v MS b44-66. G2 MS 'the other stanza is after | the end ye comedy' after b14-15. G4v MS b27-32. G6 MS a41-3, 38-45. G6v MS marginalia (see G2r) '2d Stanza of ye Song act. 4. scen. 1. | ide ohide those hills of snow | which thy frozen bosom beares | whose tops the pinks that grow | are of those that April weares | & first let my poor heart free | bound in those ycie chaines thee'. The Comedy of Errors H2 MS b1-11. Much Ado About Nothing I6v MS a21-34. K6 MS a29-31. K6v MS b35-43, 57-63. Love’s Labour’s Lost L1v MS b59-63. L3 MS possibly reading 'brqd' a45. L6 MS a28-46, b55-60. M1 MS a24-37, b6-26. M2 MS b36-8. M3 MS crossing out colon after printed 'hatch’d' b11. M3v MS b29-32. M4 MS b31-49. M4v MS b58-65. M5 MS a1-15, b56-61. M6v MS a34-7, b16-20, 26-30, 37-55. A Midsummer Night’s Dream MS a32-4, b57-65. N1v MS a55-7, b26-37, b40-65. N2 MS a1-18. N3 MS '*' by printed 'say' and '*saw' in gutter a60. The Merchant of Venice O5v MS a48-66. P2 MS a58-66. P2v MS a40-51, 65, b1-9. P3v MS a27-30, 45-54, b51-8. P5v MS a32-7, b39-49. P6 MS b31-41. Q1 MS re-inking 2 letters b55. Q1v MS a15-20, b9-48. Q2 MS a7-8, 27-9. As You Like It Q5 MS b65-6. Q5v MS a1-42. Q6 MS a14-31, 45-52, b21-7. Q6v MS a11-27, 43-50, b16-20. R1 MS b16-21, 37-45, 56-66. R1v MS a1-49, 63-6, b1-11, 54-63. R2 MS b7-14. R4 MS a36-40, 53-66, b1-66. R4v MS a5-61. R5v MS b28-52, 64-6. R6 MS a1-44. S1 MS b10-30. S1v MS a23-30, 48-65, b1-2. The Taming of the Shrew S2v MS a36-50. S5 MS a45-6. S5v MS a24-6. S6v MS a58-61. All’s Well that Ends Well V1v MS b59-63. V3 MS b46-7, 58-60; underlining '’tis often [s]eene' b58-60; '?' after 'wet' crossed out b66 and comma added. V4 MS b12-16. V4v MS a12-16. X1v MS a9-18. X3v MS a41-2, a57-66, b1-5. X4 MS a38-42. X4v MS b42-3. X6v MS b3-4. Twelfth Night Y2 MS a20-6. Y5v MS a54-7, b15-24, 25-32. Y6 MS a19-23. Z1 MS b59-66. Z1v MS a1-6. Z3v MS a20-1. Z4v MS b26-35. Z5 MS a33-5, b16-18. The Winter’s Tale Aa1 MS a64-5, b17-18. Aa6v MS b10-53. Bb1 MS b8-37. Bb1v MS a39-53. Bb2 MS a46-9, b42-66. Bb2v MS a1-25, 33-66, b25-6, 45-50. Bb3 MS a30-40. Bb4 MS a20-7, 64-5. King John a5 MS a40-2, 45-7, b30-9, b54-6. a6v MS a33-40. b3 MS a12-14. b3v MS b32-5. b5v MS a7-15, 25-32. Richard II c2v MS a47-50. c3 MS b9-11; b29-36. c4v MS a63-5. c5 MS a55-9, b35-46. c5v MS crossing out 'ning' of 'lightning' a50. c6v MS a19-21, 26-8, 42-50. d2 MS a20-8. d3 MS b14-16. d3v MS a17-20. 1 Henry IV d5v MS a25-50, b55-66; '[s]e' crossed out in 'the[s]e' a48. d6v MS b11-32, 43-51. e1 MS b9-20. e1v MS b31-2. e3 MS b36-41. e5v MS a45-9, 61-6, b1, 7-18, 32-6. e6 MS a7-11. e6v MS a8-20. f2v MS b27-32, 36-42. f4 MS a26-32. f4v MS b32-55. f5v MS a59-62, b1-12. 2 Henry IV f6v MS a26-35, 53-65. g1 MS a3-15, 33-65, b12-26, 60-5. g1v MS a1-3, 8-21. g6 MS b1-28. gg2v MS b43-9, 60. gg4 MS a22-7, 50-61, b17-19, 22-5, 58-65. gg4v MS a3-8, 30-47, 49-65. gg5 MS a1-65, b1-3, 59-65. gg5v b39-43, 57-63. gg6 MS a41-58, b4-54. gg6v MS b36-65. gg7 MS a1-24. Troilus and Cressida y1 '*' by 'to[st]e' and 'sop' written. ¶¶1 's' in 'deepes' crossed out; highlighting and corrections b28-33; 's' in 'does' underlined b30; 'there is' crossed out b31. Coriolanus aa6v mark by 'shinne' a59 and 'chin' written in margin. Titus Andronicus ee2v MS ink 'The Prologue to Juliet and Romeo' then quotes the whole prologue. Romeo and Juliet ee6 crossed out 'e' in 'washet' b58 and other underlining. ee6v MS dark brown ink 'mine' written b15; changes in speech prefixes b43, 45, 46; lines 53-4 written in MS dark brown ink. ff1 MS dark brown ink crossing out second 'in' in 'ringing' a64. ff3 2 letters re-inked b3; 'And' crossed out b46; 'new' crossed out and 'up' added with caret above 'vpon' b56; carat and 'he' added above 'I' b58. ff3v comma after 'Romeo' crossed out a5; 'which' changed to 'witch' b36. ff4 'I' added with caret after 'as' and 'my' crossed out and changed to 'thy' a64; 'ly' added after 'dead' b49. ff4v 'or' changed to 'of' and 's' added after 'blessing' a21; '*' above 'mi[sh]aped' and 'mi[s]behaved' added; 2 '*'s by 'puttest vp' and 'poutst upon' added. ff5 MS cross out of word after 'what I' b59. ff6 MS dark brown ink 'thy' changed to 'my' a5; 'you' changed to 'wee' a11; 'care' changed to 'cure' a16; MS note 'strains' by a17; MS crossed out 'i' in 'Countie' a19; 'chappels' changed to 'chapless' a53; 'grave' crossed out a55; 'the' changed to 'thy' and 'palie' added in margin b5. ff6v 'fire' crossed out and 'Life' written a44; space crossed out in 'wa ke'; 'my' changed to 'a' b18. gg1 MS comma after 'all' a36. gg1v crossed out 'r' in 'pray' b24. gg2 crossed out 'where . . . againe' b51-4. Timon of Athens hh3 '*' by b58 with MS note 'Gold' added to describe 'King-Killer'. hh4 'man' changed to 'men' b63. Macbeth ll6 MS 't' re-inked in 'flowt'. mm1v MS 'X' b48; 'mu[st]' changed to 'mo[st]' b53. nn3 MS '*' after 'yellow' with 'and' added; '*' by 'Cyme' and 'semie' written in. Hamlet nn5 'day' crossed out and 'morn' added; 'l' crossed out in 'talkes'; final 's' crossed out in '[s]ayes'. nn5v MS mark a42. nn6 'his' changed to 'this' and 'be' crossed out; a42 'by'. nn6v MS cross out after 'Galls'. oo1 'events' changed to 'intents' a17; 'cerments' changed to 'cerements' a22; cross out after 'the' a31; 'Sonnet' changed to 'sommet' a49; MS mark a53-4; MS mark b53; MS mark b56. oo1v 'Hebanon' changed to 'hebona' a5; 'vigor' changed to 'rigor' a11. oo4v faded MS corrections b34. pp1v torn off MS a57; MS note 'wicked' for 'idle' b27. pp2 'doe' added after 'you' b4; MS 'n' making 'then' b5; note by 'courb' reads 'couch' b44; note by 'blunt' reads 'bloat' b64. pp3v MS correction b4; Second Quarto’s 'Pelican' written in for 'Politician' b9. pp5 faded gray MS by a42-5 'Among | Surreis | Sonnets | fol. 72'. pp5v Second Quarto reading with 'woer' changed to 'woe'. King Lear rr1v 'r' crossed out in 'headier' a26. ss2 's' crossed out in 'hes' b15. Antony and Cleopatra x4 'glove' changed to 'glow' a41. zz2v 'e' in 'probable' crossed out. Cymbeline zz6v 'hove' changed to 'houre' a66; 'rivete' changed to 'rivited' b43. aaa1v 'e' crossed out b46. bbb6v MS sums.


Repairs and Damage Affecting Text

The Tempest A3 blot obscures 1 letter b56. A3v blot obscures 1 letter a56. B1v flaw partially obscures 2 letters b28. B2 blot obscures 1 letter b37. B3 stain partially obscures 2 letters b9. The Comedy of Errors H3v blot partially obscures 2 letters b48-9. Much Ado About Nothing K3 4 letters obscured a1-3. K3v folding affects 5 words b1-4. The Merchant of Venice Q1 2 letters obscured by light printing b55. As You Like It S1 hole affects 6 letters a46. The Taming of the Shrew S3 missing paper 75mm tall x 40mm wide affects 2 words b26-50. S3v missing paper affects a59-66. T4 128mm tear affects 1 letter running title. T4v tear and wrinkles affect column b. All’s Well that Ends Well V2 ink blot obscures 1 letter b42. Twelfth Night Y5 135mm x 40mm missing piece of page affects 10 letters b65-6. Y5v missing piece of page affects a66. Z5 ink blot affects 2 letters a57. The Winter’s Tale Aa2v ink blots affect 2 letters b62, 65. Bb6v ink blot affects 1 word a18. Richard II b6 hole affects 2 letters b63-4. b6v hole affects 2 letters a63-4. c2 ink blot obscures 2 letters a59. c3v ink blot affects 1 letter a32-3. d2 ink blot affects 1 letter b7. 1 Henry IV e3 missing upper outer corner affects 4 words b1-2, 4. e3 missing upper outer corner affects 5 words a1-4. 2 Henry VI n4 2 letters missing b40. n4v 2 letters missing a40. 3 Henry VI q4 hole affects 1 letter b51. Troilus and Cressida y1 ink blot affects 1 letter b36. Julius Caesar ll1v substance affects 1 letter b56. ll4v ink blot affects 1 letter a48. Macbeth nn1v pre-printing fold affects b40-4. Hamlet nn5v tear affects 1 letter a23. oo5 hole affects 1 letter b33. oo5v hole affects 1 letter a33. pp1 missing corner affects b62-5. pp1v missing corner affects a57, 60-66. pp6 wrinkled corner affects catchword. King Lear ss2 ink blot affects 1 letter b35. Othello vv2v blot affects 1 letter b59. Antony and Cleopatra zz2v blot affects 1 letter in 'probable'. Cymbeline bbb4v hole affects 2 letters b64. bbb5v blot affects 1 letter a55. bbb6 1 letter obscured b16; 2 letters obscured in colophon.


Repairs and Damage not Affecting Text

A4 blot b54. B5v tear foot. D3 tear foot. D4 tear foot. F3 large circular brown stain. H3v over-inking a50. M2 untrimmed foot for 35mm. N3 red paint chip in gutter. O2 foot tear. S1 corner torn. S4 84mm tear column b. S6 paper repair b58-61. Y2 staining outer margin. Cc1 wrinkling upper column b. a1 stains. b3 stain upper column a; soiled corner. c5 substance a65. e2 stains column b. e4 foot tear. f2v tear foot; light printing. f5 poorly printed. l3 missing upper outer corner. l4 foot tear. l6 foot tear. p1 hole outer margin. p4 ink smear column a. r3 upper outer corner missing. s3 upper outer corner missing. s6 hole upper outer box-frame. t4 hole outer margin. v2 gutter hole. v5 thumb print in yellow substance. hh5 torn corner; foot tear. kk4 torn outer margin. ll2 ragged top. nn1 ink-stained nail in gutter causing green stain and small hole. nn6 stains top. oo1 missing corner. pp2 large foot repair. pp5 tear column b. qq2 foot hole and tear. ss6 foot tear. tt4 stained. zz1 feathered foot through bbb6aaa3 yellow spotting through bbb6bbb3 lower center rule holes. bbb4 lower center rule holes through bbb6; gutter substance. bbb6v soiled.


Press Variants

The following pages are in the uncorrected state: V1, d1, m3, ee5, ff2, ff5v, qq2v, qq5v, ss3 (H edis.), zz6v.



The following leaves have watermarks: A1 2; A2 2; A4 2; B2 2; B3 {7}; B6 2; C2 2; C3 2; C6 18; D3 6; D5 1; D6 11; E1 2; E2 5; E3 11; F1 18?; F2 5; F4 5; G1 7; G2 18; G4 10? II?; H2 18 18; H3 2; H6 11; I2 18; I4 1; I6 2; K2 5?; K4 18; K6 11 flat 15; L3 19? 15; L5 12; L6 11; M1 11; M4 7; M5 11; N4 18 18; N6 2; O2 2; O3 11; O6 7?; P2 1; P4 12; P6 5; Q1 5; Q3 1; Q5 5; R2 10; R3 10? 10; R6 2; S3 2; S5 2; S6 10?; T4 5; T5 7; T6 5; V1 2; V2 3? 10 v; V3 18; X3 6; X5 7? f; X6 5; Y3 9; Y5 5; Y6 2; Z2 5; Z3 2; Z6 5; Aa2 2; Aa3 5; Aa6 2; Bb3 2; Bb5 10; Bb6 2; Cc2 2; a1 2; a2 2; a4 7? f; b1 2; b3 2; b5 6; c1 19; c2 6; c4 5; d4 2; d5 2; d6 2; e3 2; e6 2; f3 2; f5 5?; g2 2; g6 2; gg5 1; gg6 2; gg7 2; gg8 LG; h1 5; h4 MIN f ; h5 2; i2 6; i3 2; i6 2; k1 2; k4 2; k5 2; l2 2; l4 1; l6 2; m1 2; m3 10; m5 2; n3 17 18; n5 5?; n6 5?; o2 10; o4 2; o6 5?; p1 2; p4 2; q4 8; q5 8; q6 8; r5 7; r6 9; s4 7; s6 9; t1 7; t2 1; t4 10; v1 2; v3 1?; v5 2; x1 2; x3 2; gg3 20; ¶4 2; ¶5 1; ¶6 1; ¶¶2 1; ¶¶4 1; ¶¶6 1; ¶¶¶ 1; aa3 15; aa5 1; aa6 2; bb2 15; bb3 2; bb6 10; cc1 2; cc2 1; cc3 2; dd4 3 G; dd5 1; dd6 15; ee2 1; ee3 15; ee6 2; ff1 2; ff3 2; ff5 15; gg1 9; Gg4 1; Gg6 1; hh2 5? 5 3?; hh4 2; hh6 9; kk2 15; kk4 1; kk6 5?; ll2 12 fler; ll3 1; ll6 1; mm2 15; mm3 1; mm6 2; nn1 1; nn2 2; nn3 2; oo3 10; oo5 2; oo6 7; pp1 7; pp3 {7}; pp5 2; qq1 1?; qq4 2; qq5- 1; rr1 2; rr2 1; rr4 2; ss1 I?I?P (not 9); ss2 1; ss4 10; tt1 9; tt2 4; tt4 4 21; vv2 2; vv3 421; vv5 11; x2 1; x4 1; x6 1; yy2 1; yy4 1; yy6 1? I?G?; zz2 1; zz4 1; zz6 1; aaa1 1; aaa2 1; aaa3 1 I?G?; bbb4 10? II?I?; bbb5 1; bbb6 1.