Tudor Facsimile Texts

John Stephen Farmer (1854-1916)

Farmer's collotype reproductions of rare early English dramatic texts were undertaken in the same spirit that motivated Frederick J. Furnivall, Charlotte Endymion Porter, Sidney Lee, and the giants of bibliography who founded the Malone Society: Pollard, Greg, McKerrow, Chambers, et al. His method was an improvement over Furnivall's and probably impressed the Murderer's Row of original Malone Society editors so that they based their methods of reproduction on Farmer's. 

The Getty Museum's booklet on the collotype process. (large file)

Why bother?

Farmer's interests were in spiritualism, the occult, and erotica, for which there was a bustling market in England and America. Why he interested himself in old plays that most scholars had cashiered from their mental regiments remains mysterious.  However, the texts are mostly well-printed and introduced, and were foundational for later study.

The best biography of Farmer is on a webpage created by Patrick J. Kearney. It is excellent, and thorough.

He created his own catalogues!

Farmer issued two catalogues under the title, A Rough Hand-List of the Tudor Facsimile Texts.  Collectors prowl old bookshops and the internet for copies, which can be quite valuable if they are in good order. Some believe that the texts listed that do not seem to have been issued are merely missing. 

For them, the search continues.

Rough Hand-List 1911

Rough Hand-List 1914

attributions may have changed over the last century



George Chapman, Eastward Hoe (1605) 

Thomas Dekker and John Webster, The Famous History of Sir Thomas Wyat (1607)

Fair Em (1631)

Thomas Sackville and Thomas Norton, Ferrex and Porrex or Gorboduc (1570)

William Shakespeare, The First Part of the Contention between the Two Famous Houses of York and Lancaster, &c. (1594)

John Heywood, The Four P P  (1545)



John Heywood, The Pardoner and the Friar (1533)

Henry Chettle, William Haughton, and Thomas Dekker, Patient Grissill (1603)

Robert Wilson, The Pedler's Prophecy (1595)

The Pilgrimage to Parnassus (1597)

John Heywood, The Play of Love (1533)

John Heywood, The Play of the Wether (1533)

John Redford, The Play of Wit and Science (1550)

George Whetstone, Promos and Cassandra (1578)

Wentworth Smith, The Puritan, or The Widow of Watling Street (1607)


Lodowick Barry, Ram-Alley or Merry Tricks (1611)

The Reign of King Edward III (1589)

Respublica (1553)

Thomas Middleton and Thomas Dekker, The Roaring Girl (1611)

Robin Hood (c. 1561)


R. A., The Valiant Welshman (1615)

Samuel Brandon, The Virtuous Octavia (1912)