Collier Forgeries

John Payne Collier (1789-1883)

Collier was a gifted scholar and editor whose criminality was unnecessary to his success according to everyone--except himself. Entrusted with valuable mss. and books, he forged names and signatures and commentary in an unconvincing secretary hand.  His greatest crime was his addition of spurious seventeenth-century marginal observations in the "Perkins Folio," thereby defacing a copy of the Second Folio.  He was discovered and excoriated by every major Shakespearean in England, many of whom he had tutored in legitimate editorial method (see below). Oddly, several of the emendations were quite good and tenable and would have been perfectly acceptable in book form or as part of an edition. He published four Shakespeare collections and the first is usually the only one that scholars consult. 


A sample of his desecratory handiwork is at left.


Univeristy of Delaware page on the Collier Controversy


Terry Gray's page on Collier


Reasons for a New Edition of Shakespeare's Works (1842)


Notes and Emendations to the Text of Shakespeare's Plays from Early Manuscript Corrections in a Copy of the Folio, 1632 (1853)


Collier's reply to Hamilton's charges of forgery (1860)