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Folger First Folio 16

Top three panels of a gold-tooled leather bookbinding in extreme close-up. Second panel reads

Folger First Folio 16 is often called the Thomas Hanmer copy, for the early Shakespeare editor Sir Thomas Hanmer, who acquired it in about 1700. Upon his death, the First Folio passed to his nephew, Sir William Bunbury, 5th Baronet. It remained in the Bunbury family for almost two centuries until it was sold in 1896; the spine includes the Bunbury crest. A few years later, the First Folio was acquired by a recent Yale graduate, Julien A. Ripley. As a young man, Ripley spent some years as a magazine publisher, founding the Illustrated Sporting News, before turning to other work. Henry and Emily Folger bought it in 1911.

Hanmer wrote additional stage directions in his First Folio on seven different pages from Richard II; Henry VI, Part 3; Titus Andronicus; Othello; and Cymbeline. All but one of these added directions can also be found in his published Shakespeare edition.

The Hanmer First Folio has several missing leaves, which have been replaced by leaves from other copies of the First Folio. Four other leaves have been supplied as facsimiles, both at the start of the book, including the title page, and at the very end—the last leaf of the last play, Cymbeline.

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Collection highlights

Original art for the Hanmer edition of Shakespeare's works

Original art for the Hanmer edition of Shakespeare's works

These matched images from Measure for Measure are from a unique copy of the Hanmer edition held at the Folger, in which the original watercolor drawings have been inserted near the corresponding engravings.