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Folger First Folio 58

Detail of printed page showing horizontal printer's ornament above

The Scissors Copy

This First Folio has been called the “scissors” copy. A 17th-century owner or binder left a pair of scissors in the pages, and its rusty traces are still visible today. Henry and Emily Folger purchased the First Folio in 1910 for $3,060. At the time, it was considered an “unrecorded” Folio, since it did not appear in Sidney Lee’s Census of the Shakespeare First Folios (1902), which included all known copies of the First Folio.

Like many First Folios, this one does not have all of its original leaves. The first leaf, with Ben Jonson’s “To the Reader,” the famous title page with Shakespeare’s portrait, and the last two leaves of the last play in the volume, Cymbeline, are missing, and were replaced at some point with facsimile leaves. Original leaves from other First Folios have also replaced missing leaves in the “Tragedies” section.

See its book binding

Explore its catalog entry

View in the digital image collection

See where it traveled on tour in 2016


Scissors inside books?

Scissors inside books?

Heather Wolfe

The rusty outline we showed in last week’s Crocodile post is, as one of our responders, Giles Bergel, correctly guessed, from a pair of scissors. It appears in Folger First Folio number 58, in Henry IV, part 1 (pp. 50-51). This First Folio…