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Folger First Folio 19

Detail of printed page showing horizontal printer's ornament above

Folger First Folio 19 has been called the “golden retriever” copy. That’s because its 19th-century owner, the first Baron Tweedmouth, established the Golden Retriever dog breed.

In 1905, Henry and Emily Folger decided not to buy this First Folio from a London book dealer because of the high price. Later that year, however, they changed their minds and successfully offered the new owner $7,300 plus one of their copies of Sidney Lee’s 1902 photographic facsimile of the First Folio. At the time, Lee’s facsimile was considered to be the most accurate ever produced.

In this First Folio, Ben Jonson’s verse “To the Reader,” facing the title page, is a printed facsimile. Someone used pen and ink to fix the First Folio’s defective title page and the last leaf of the final play in the volume, Cymbeline. At some point, eight other missing leaves were replaced by leaves from other First Folios. Such substitutions are common in many First Folios.

See its book binding

Explore its catalog entry

See where it traveled on tour in 2016