Mystery Monday: Who signed the Newberry Library’s First Folio?

A few weeks ago I posted about a mystery inscription in a copy of Penn Libraries’ copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio, the first edition of Shakespeare’s works published in 1623.  Today’s Monday mystery comes from the title page of the copy of the First Folio at the Newberry Library, Chicago VAULT Case Oversize YS 01.  In this case a former owner has signed the title page just under the portrait of Shakespeare:

The inscription (shown larger at the top of this post) reads “Robert: Wynn: Bodescalian (or Bodescallan)”  but who Robert Wynn was, or what the word Bodescalian refers to remains unknown.  If you have ideas, post a comment to this blog or comment on the image of the inscription on the POP Flickr Feed.

We do know that the Newberry’s First Folio was owned by Louis H. Silver (1902-1963), a Chicago book collector who left a substantial part of his collection to the Newberry, and whose bookplate appears in the front of the book:

You can now see this and a starting group of other images from books at the Newberry Library on POP.  The Newberry is an independent research library in Chicago, with collections ranging from medieval and Renaissance books and manuscripts, to a rich collection of print history, to American  Literature and History, including one of the strongest collections of materials related to American Indians in the world.  Read more about the Newberry’s Core Collections here.  More about some of the provenance images in the Newberry’s collections to come in future posts.

 Update:  Several POP contributors have noted that this is likely the mark of a member of the Wynn family who owned Bodysgallen Hall in Wales, citing this Wikipedia article:  It seems that the Robert Wynn married to Katherine Wynn, whose initials are on the 1620 cornerstone of Bodysgallen would be a likely candidate for the person who made this inscription.  However, the Wikipedia article is slightly confusing in that the next section refers to the Hall having been owned by the Moyston family and passed to the Wynn Family with the marriage of Hugh Wyn (b. 1620) to Margaret Moysten.  This seems to potentially contradict the account of Richard and Katherine Wynn owning the hall c. 1620.

Does anyone have more information on Robert Wynn’s birth and death dates or other biographical details?  Or a clearer timeline of the ownership of Bodysgallen to improve Wikipedia’s account?




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5 Responses to Mystery Monday: Who signed the Newberry Library’s First Folio?

  1. Manny says:

    Well I found that interesting. Thanks. Wishing you a blessed Christmas Laura.


  2. AB says:

    It could be Robert Lynn?


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