Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Aspley, William

ASPLEY, WILLIAM (fl. 1588–1637), stationer and printer, son of William Aspley, clerk deceased, late of Raiston (?), Cumberland, was apprenticed to George Bishop for nine years from 5 Feb. 1588, and admitted a freeman of the Stationers' Company on 11 April 1597. He lived at the sign of the Tiger s Head in St. Paul's Churchyard, and aftenvards at the Parrot. The first appearance of the name of Shakespeare in the registers is in connection with Aspley and Andrew Wise, who obtained license 23 Aug. 1600 for 'Much Ado about Nothing' and the second part of 'Henry IV,' 'wrytten by master Shakespere' (Arber, Transcript, iii. 170). They were printed by V. S. for the two booksellers. It is worth noticing that while both the quartos have 'Shakespeare' on their title-pages the name is transcribed as above. Aspley dealt largely in plays, as maybe seen by the numerous licenses obtained by him down to 1627, when his business appears to have declined. In 1637 he was made warden.

[Arber's Transcript of the Stationers' Registers, ii.-iv. ; Ames's Typogr. Antiq. ed. Herbert, iii. 1384.]

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