The Complete Shakespeare Experience    

A direct descendant of Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams, Joseph Quincy Adams was born in Greenville, South Carolina to a Baptist clergymen and his wife Mamie Fouchee Davis Adams. Adams earned a bachelor’s from Wake Forest College in 1900 and a master’s there in 1901. He continued his post-graduate work at the University of Chicago (1902-1903) and the University of Berlin (1907) before accepting a teaching position at Cornell University and later as the first director of the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C. in 1934.

Adams served as editor of the library’s periodical publications and the general editor of the New Variorum edition of Shakespeare’s works (1935-1946).

Adams’ biography, A Life of William Shakespeare (Houghton Miflin, Boston, 1923), is considered one of the seminal studies of Shakespeare’s life.

Andrew Cecil (A.C.) Bradley (March 26, 1851 – September 2, 1935)

Another clergyman’s son turned Shakespeare scholar, A.C. Bradley was born in Park Hill, Clapham, Surrey, England, one of 21 children. A lecturer in literature at the University of Liverpool, Bradley studied at Balliol College, Oxford. Never married, Bradley also accepted the Regius Professor position at the University of Glasgow (Scotland) and in 1901 elected to the Oxford professorship of poetry. During his five-year tenure there, he wrote Shakespearean Tragedy (MacMillan & Co., London, 1904) and Oxford Lectures on Poetry (MacMillan & Co., London,1909).

Although criticized by some for his interpretations of Shakespeare, others consider Bradley’s Shakespearean Tragedy, the preeminent scholarly work.  It has been reprinted dozens of times and Bradley’s work was itself worth of scholarly treatment in Katherine Cooke's A. C. Bradley and His Influence in Twentieth-Century Shakespeare Criticism.




body of work as rich and diverse as Shakespeare’s has made the bard’s plays, sonnets, poems, and life, the subject of study in universities around the world for centuries.

Many scholars have emerged over the years known for their insight and interpretations, sometimes based in fact, sometimes based on speculation, and often controversial. Still, all of it provides the basis for great learning. Here are some of the notable Shakespearean scholars from past to present.

Joseph Quincy Adams, Jr.

(March 23, 1880 – November 10, 1946)


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Dr. Joseph Quincy Adams, Jr. , First director of the

Folger Shakespeare Library.