The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust library acquires books though purchases and donations. This series of blogs looks at historic as well as recent book donations that have enriched our library collection. Some date as far back as the nineteenth century such as a First Folio, the first collected edition of Shakespeare’s works published in 1623 donated by Anne Wheler, other books have only just been donated recently. Book donors are from a wide range of backgrounds, some are famous, some are artists or writers, some are complete unknowns but they all share a love of books, libraries, Shakespeare and a generous spirit.
In the first blog of this series I'd like to introduce a First Folio Facsimile donated by Meisei University in Japan. Although the book is new, it's hard to believe it is a reproduction. Book plates indicating previous ownership, possible ink stains, and numerous annotations from the first page of The Tempest to the last page give the impression of the 'real' book.
The Kodama Memorial Library at Meisei University holds twelve first folios, of which this is the most heavily annotated copy: an early C17th hand, most likely the hand of one of the book's previous owners.
The facsimile was published to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Meisei University and is a limited edition of only 350. For more images of this unique folio, check out the Shakespeare Collection Database created by Meisei University or request the book in the Reading Room.
We're most grateful for this generous donation and hope many of our readers will admire it as much as we do!