on exhibit November 13, 2002 through March 1, 2003


Inscription from Anne of Cleves to Henry VIII

Inscription, last leaf in STC15982 ©

Anne of Cleves

[Liturgy] Enchirdio preclare ecclie sarisburiesis. Paris [1533?]

Inscriptions take many forms - expressions of thanks or love, appeals for favor, explanations, or present an opportunity to demonstrate elegant handwriting. Volumes pass between people as gifts, remembrances, or in token exchange, with notes of affection connecting people. Inscribed copies give us glimpses of relationships, as we see in Anne of Cleves' endearing inscription to Henry VIII, I besiche your grace humbly, when ye loke on this remember me, which makes this volume one of the great association copies in the Folger collection.

Roger Ascham (1515-1568)

Roger Ascham. Toxophilus, the Schole of Shootinge conteyned in two bookes. London, Edward Whytchurch, 1545.
William Elstob, ed. Rogeri Aschami Epistolarum. Oxoniae: apud Henricum Clements, 1703.

The learned Roger Ascham (1515-1568) was a master of the italic script and tutor to the future Queen Elizabeth. He excelled in English prose and his letters in English and Latin rank him among the most eminent literary men of his age. His inscribed copy of Toxophilus, his famous treatise on archery, was presented to Henry VIII's brother-in-law, William Parr, earl of Essex - an oblique tactic to get Henry's attention and perhaps secure royal favor. The book so pleased Henry that it earned Ascham a pension. [The volume was a gift to the Folger from A.S.W. Rosenbach and Lessing J. Rosenwald in 1947.]

The engraving of Ascham reading a letter to Elizabeth is by Michael Burghers and is the frontispiece of William Elstob's edition of Ascham's correspondence. Upon hearing of Ascham's death, Elizabeth exclaimed she would rather have cast £10,000 into the sea than lose her Ascham.

Ascham reading to Elizabeth

Ascham reading to Elizabeth, frontis, detail only in PR2201 E7 1703 Cage ©

Elizabeth of York (1465-1503)

[Liturgy] Incipiunt hore beate Marie virginis secudum vsumsarum…. Paris, Simon Le Vostre, [1498]

Elizabeth of York was queen consort of Henry VII and mother of Henry VIII. Her inscription in this Catholic book of prayers and devotions is the earliest mark of ownership in the exhibition.

F.D.R. to the Folger Library

William Shakespeare. The Temple Shakespeare: Hamlet. London: J.M. Dent & Co., 1895.

Presentation copies are not necessarily rare or unique books unless, of course, they are inscribed by a head of state. President Roosevelt's presentation note to the Folger makes this one of the Library's important inscribed copies.

For the Folger Shakespeare Library
from Franklin D. Roosevelt
This set was given by me to my mother -
Sarah Delano Roosevelt about 1900 and was in the room at Hyde Park
until her death in 1941, when it came back to me.

1943 FDR

FDR inscription on flyleaf

FDR Inscription on flyleaf in PR 2752 1894-1896 c.2 Sh. Coll. ©

Exhibition Highlights

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This page updated March 10, 2003