on exhibit November 13, 2002 through March 1, 2003

A woman passionate about her books

SInscription, frances wolfereston, hor bouk in STC 16873 c.2.

Frances Wolfreston (1607-1677)

Sir William Lower. The Phaenix in her flames: a tragedy. London, Thomas Harper, 1639.

Frances Wolfreston (1607-1677) grew up in the English Midlands the eldest of twenty-two children, became the wife of a country squire, and in the course of her lifetime quietly acquired some of the greatest rarities of early English drama and literature. She had a library of over 400 volumes and almost all have her signature, frances wolfreston, hor bouk carefully written with a thick quill pen.

Wolfreston's interest in drama and contemporary English literature may have been unusual for her time. She had no less than ten Shakespeare quartos, a copy of the Rape of Lucrece (1616), and history is indebted to her for the first edition of Venus and Adonis (1593), a unique copy later owned by Edmund Malone and now in the Bodleian Library.



Exhibition Highlights

| Writers' Books | Collectors | Markings | Signatures | Henry VIII | Actors' Books | Ordinary Books Made Famous | Bindings | Manuscript Book Lists | Inscriptions | 18th Century | Alexander Pope | Quiet Lives | Myne? |

Curator's Notes | Visiting the Folger

This page updated March 10, 2003