Charlton Greenwood Ogburn

Charlton Greenwood Ogburn

Charlton Greenwood Ogburn (19 Aug 1882, Butler, Georgia - 26 Feb 1962) was a practicing lawyer who was drawn into the Shakespearean authorship question when Charles Wisner Barrell approached him for assistance in his lawsuit against Folger Shakespeare Library Director Giles Dawson for libel in response to comments made after Barrell published in Scientific American an article claiming that the Ashbourne portrait of "Shakespeare" was an overpainted original of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford.

Ogburn was the son of yet another Charlton Greenwood Ogburn and Irene Florence Wynn. His brother William Fielding Ogburn (June 29, 1886 – April 27, 1959) became an influential sociologist responsible for popularizing the idea of "culture lag" to describe the difficulties cultures have in adjusting to new technology or other changes. Charlton Ogburn married (8 Jun 1910 in Atlanta, GA) Dorothy Stevens, born 8 Jun 1890 in Atlanta, daughter of George Webb Stevens and Abbie Dyson Bean.

After representing Barrell in the case against Dawson, Ogburn and his wife Dorothy both became very involved in the organizations devoted to exploring the Shakespearean question and subsequently authored two books on the subject together, The Renaissance Man of England (1947) and This Star of England (New York, Howard McCann, 1952). The latter was critically reviewed by Columbia Professor O.J. Campbell in Harpers magazine.

Charlton and Dorothy's son, also named Charlton Ogburn (sometimes distinguished as "Jr."), after serving as the communication's officer for Merrill's Marauders became a noted State Department Analyst and non-fiction writer. He continued his parents' interest in the Shakespearean question and wrote several more books on the subject.


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