This copy, as attested by a manuscript note found in the volume, was used by Lewis Theobald in 1733 for his edition of Shakespeare’s works. However, this does not attest to his ownership of the volume as there is no other evidence than this note to connect Theobald to this First Folio. This copy was owned by a range of different people: Martin Folkes, President of the Royal Society; Dr John Monroe, a physician at Bethlem Hospital who in the late 1780s consulted on George III’s first period of madness; and George Steevens, whom Monroe helped in researching Shakespeare for his edition, which suggests that Monroe passed his copy on to Steevens after his death. The volume came to George John Spencer, 2nd Earl of Spencer’s library sometime before 1822. The library was sold in 1892 to Mrs John Rylands who purchased the Spencer Collection for £210,000 for the library she was building in honour of her husband. The copy is imperfect as two of the preliminary leaves with verses by Digges and I.M. are missing as well as the list of names of the actors. The leaf on which the verses ‘To the Reader’ are printed in red ruled on both sides.
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