Lewis, B. Roland (Benjamin Roland), 1884-

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Professor of English Literature at the Uiversity of Utah, 1915-1951.

From the description of Papers, 1915-1955. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 154298433

Benjamin Roland Lewis (1884-1959) was a member of the English Department faculty of the University of Utah from 1915-1951. His studies, both at the University and abroad, enabled him to assemble a fairly complete collection of Shakespeariana. On the basis of this material he produced several scholarly works that earned him an international reputation as a Shakespearian authority.

Lewis was born 3 December 1884 at St. Marys, Ohio, to Samuel and Katherine Fox. His mother died shortly after his birth and his father died when he was two years old; the three children of the family were placed with families in the neighborhood. Lewis learned to speak German fluently by the age of five. After attending common school and high school in St. Marys, Lewis began teaching at the age of seventeen. He worked his way through Ohio Northern University taking a Bachelor of Science degree in 1905 and Master of Science in 1907. During 1907-1908 he was a graduate student at the University of Chicago and from 1913 to 1915 was at Harvard University. He received a Master of Arts from Harvard in 1915. Ohio Northern University and the University of Utah gave him honorary Doctorates of Literature in 1941 and 1943.

Lewis was superintendent of schools at Hammond, Louisiana in 1905-1907; head of the English department of Grand Island College at Grand Island, Nebraska from 1907-1908; and head of the Department of English at Ellsworth College at Ellsworth, Illinois from 1908-1913. In 1915, on leaving Harvard University, he went to the University of Utah and for seven years was head of the department of English. The administrative duties interfered with his research work so he resigned as department head and remained as a faculty member. As a specialist in dramatic literature, Lewis lectured at the University of Chicago, Stanford University and other schools. During the school year 1932-1933 he was a Visiting Professor at Catholic University of America. During 1925-1926, Lewis was in London engaged in research in the British Museum, Bodleian Library at Oxford University, and Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris. He spent many summers researching at the Huntington Library, and he spent 1932-1933 at the Folger Shakespeare Library.

Lewis was the author of may books of drama, including the Technique of the One Act Play, 1918, One Act Plays in Colleges and High Schools, 1920, Contemporary One Act Plays, 1922, and University of Utah Plays, 1928, the first of a series of one act plays written and produced by students of the University of Utah. Effective Writing, written with Osborne J. P. Widstoe, who died before its completion, was published in 1923. Lewis' book Creative Poetry was published in 1930. The Shakespeare Documents, Lewis' monumental work comprises the fruits of many years of scholarship and research in a two volume work, published in 1942. These volumes represent a complete photographic reproduction of documents related to Shakespeare and his work. Another study on Shakespeare, published in 1942, was his biography of the man, The Life of William Shakespeare, based on the documents in Lewis' possession.

In 1938 Lewis was elected to the Institute of Art and Literature of France for his outstanding research on Shakespeare. He was a member of Phi Kappa Phi, the national scholastic fraternity, and Sigma Tau Delta fraternity. Lewis was a vice-president of the Shakespeare society (International) and vice-president of the Utah section. He was also a member of the Modern Language Association of America, the Harvard Club, and in 1936 was appointed to the Advisory Council of the Scholars' Facsimiles and Reprints Syndicate. In 1924-1925, Lewis was president of the Utah Teachers' Association.

B. Roland Lewis married Bessie Blanche Collins on 22 August 1906. They had two daughters, Catherine and Ruth. Lewis retired from teaching at the University of Utah in 1951, and died in 1959.

From the guide to the B. Roland Lewis papers, 1915-1955, (J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Lewis, B. Roland (Benjamin Roland), b. 1884. Papers, 1915-1955. University of Utah, J. Willard Marriott Library
creatorOf Lewis, Benjamin Roland, 1884-1959. Papers, 1915-1955. Landmarks of Science Microform Service
referencedIn Stanford University Press archival book copies, 1900-2012 Cecil H. Green Library. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
creatorOf Benjamin Roland Lewis photograph collection, 1932 J. Willard Marriott Library. University of Utah Photograph Archives
creatorOf Lewis, B. Roland (Benjamin Roland), b. 1884. Papers, 1915-1955. University of Utah, J. Willard Marriott Library
creatorOf B. Roland Lewis papers, 1915-1955 J. Willard Marriott Library. University of Utah Manuscripts Division
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Lewis, Benjamin Roland, 1884-1959. person
associatedWith Shakespeare Association of America. corporateBody
associatedWith Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. person
associatedWith Stanford University. Press. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences
Material Types


Birth 1884


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