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Adams, John Cranford 1903-1986

ADAMS, John Cranford 1903-1986

PERSONAL: Born October 11, 1903, in Boston, MA; died November 24, 1986, in Ithaca, NY; son of John Davis and Mary (Cranford) Adams; married Alice deBois Murray, 1929; children: Charles Murray, Joan deBois. Education: Cornell University, B.A., 1926; attended King's College, Cambridge, 1926-28; Cornell University, Ph.D., 1935. Politics: Republican. Religion: Unitarian.

CAREER: Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, instructor in English, 1928-29; Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, instructor in English, 1930-37, assistant professor, 1937-43, associate professor of English, 1943-44; Hofstra College (now University), New York, NY, president, 1944-64, president emeritus, 1964-86. Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC, senior research fellow, 1937-38; state examinations board member, New York State Education Department, 1945-52; member of American Council on Education Joint Committee on Educational Television, 1953-57, second vice chairman of council, 1957-58; trustee for Metropolitan Educational Television Association, 1954-86; commissioner for Institutions for Higher Education, Middle States Association, 1956-86; member of Commission on Non-Tax-Supported Colleges and Universities of the State of New York, 1957-86; board member of Abilities, Inc., and American Red Cross (Nassau, NY, chapter); advisory council member of Nassau County planning committee, Long Island Association; advisory board member for U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, NY.

MEMBER: Modern Language Association (trustee, 1955-86), Association of Colleges and Universities of the State of New York (secretary-treasurer, 1947-50; president, 1950-52), Multiple Sclerosis Society, Malone Society, Cosmos Club (Washington, DC), Grolier Club, University Club (New York, NY), Andiron Club (New York, NY), Cherry Valley Club, Garden City Golf Club, Hempstead Golf Club, Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, Chi Phi.

AWARDS, HONORS: Nassau Review-Star Distinguished Service Award, 1947; Shakespeare Club of New York award, 1956; LL.D., New York University, 1958.


The Globe Playhouse: Its Design and Equipment, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 1942.

Also contributor to Shakespeare Quarterly and other literary journals.

ADAPTATIONS: Shakespeare's Globe Playhouse: A Modern Reconstruction in Text and Scale Drawings by Irwin Smith is based on the reconstruction of the Globe by John Cranford Adams, Scribner's (New York, NY), 19S6.

SIDELIGHTS: Shakespearean scholar and former university president John Cranford Adams originally intended to study architecture or engineering in college. However, his interest in English eventually led him to study literature and write a dissertation on the Shakespearean stage. Ten years of research while teaching college English resulted in his book on the subject: The Globe Playhouse: Its Design and Equipment. S. C. Chew, writing in Books, praised The Globe Playhouse as "an admirable piece of literary and archeological detective work."

In 1944 Adams become president of Hofstra College. In his early tenure there he worked on building a model of the Globe with the help of Long Island artist Irwin Smith. The project—a scale model one twelfth the size of the real Shakespearean theater—was completed in 1950 and was made up of nearly 25,000 pieces. The model was later placed on exhibit at the Folger Shakespeare Library and is now being exhibited at the Axinn Library at Hoftra University. Later, in 1958, a full-scale replica of the Globe stage was erected within Hofstra's new Campus Playhouse; an annual Shakespeare Festival also began at Hofstra utilizing the staging based on Adams's research. In addition to such work, Adams lectured at numerous universities and other groups about the staging of Shakespeare's plays.

As president of Hofstra College, Adams witnessed a growth in enrollment from 350 students in 1944 to over seven thousand full-and part-time students by 1958. The college began with one building and by 1958 had expanded into some eighteen buildings. The faculty during that time grew from forty to about 350 in 1958. Considered a proponent for the private college, Adams was opposed to the immediate establishment of a centralized state university for New York based on his belief that capacity at private colleges would increase during the next twelve years.



Books, August 2, 1942, S. C. Chew, review of The Globe Playhouse: Its Design and Equipment, p. 14.

Library Journal, July, 1942, review of The Globe Playhouse.

New York Herald Tribune, August 2, 1942, Samuel Chew, review of The Globe Playhouse.

New York Times, September 27, 1942, John Corbin, review of The Globe Playhouse, p. 34.

Theatre Arts. November, 1942, Rosamund Gilder, review of The Globe Playhouse, p. 730.*

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