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Rollin DeVere Jr: How I Became an Oxfordian

Names often add or lose letters or syllables through the generations. My father was Rollin R. DeVere Sr.; I’m Jr; my son is III. My Dad’s father was Ellis H. DeVere. Perhaps I’m a Dever or a Devers. Maybe someone added an “e”, maybe not. I taught Spanish and English for three years at the Mercersburg Academy in Pennsylvania, then for 27 years at the University School.

Rollin DeVere taught French and Spanish for 47 years and worked as a reporter for United Press International. He has been involved in community theatre, where favorite roles include Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady, the Major General in The Pirates of Penzance, and Charles in Blithe Spirit. After a 60-year hiatus, he has resumed piano lessons.

Rollin DeVere taught French and Spanish for 47 years and worked as a reporter for United Press International. He has been involved in community theatre, where favorite roles include Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady, the Major General in The Pirates of Penzance, and Charles in Blithe Spirit. After a 60-year hiatus, he has resumed piano lessons.

I majored in modern languages at Oberlin. When the Spanish Department head mentioned a book he’d read — which turned out to be the Charlton Ogburns’ This Star of England — I became interested and read everything in sight on the subject, the first being Looney’s 1949 edition of Shakespeare Identified.

Since then I’ve studied about every text available on the subject, pro and con. The two works which just might be the stiletto in the spine of the Stratford case are Diana Price’s Shakespeare’s Unorthodox Biography and Richard Roe’s The Shakespeare Guide to Italy. At University School, I convinced the librarian to purchase most of these books.

I saw the film Anonymous. It crowded bewildering possibilities together. Oxford was Elizabeth’s lover and son? Yikes! I’ve composed my own screenplay on the subject but have been unable to market it.

— Rollin DeVere Jr.

“How I Became an Oxfordian” is edited by Bob Meyers. You may submit your essay on this topic (500 words or less in an editable format such as MS Word), along with a digital photo of yourself, to:info@shakespeareoxfordfellowship.org. Also include a sentence about yourself (e.g., “John J. Smith is a businessman in San Francisco.”).

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About Erik Eisenman

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