Charlton Greenwood Ogburn

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Charlton Greenwood Ogburn (19 Aug 1882, Butler, Georgia – 26 Feb 1962) was a lawyer who became a noted advocate for the Oxfordian theory of Shakespeare authorship, which asserts that Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford was the real author of Shakespeare's works.


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.

Oxfordian activity[edit]

Ogburn was drawn into the Shakespeare authorship question when leading Oxfordian Charles Wisner Barrell approached him for assistance in a 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. The case was eventually settled out of court.[1]

After representing Barrell in the case against Dawson, Ogburn and his wife Dorothy both became very involved in the organizations devoted to Oxfordian theory and the Shakespearean authorship question. They subsequently published two books on the subject together, The Renaissance Man of England (1947) and This Star of England (New York, Howard McCann, 1952), both of which argued in favor of Oxford's authorship. In the 1930s Dorothy had also published mystery novels set in Georgia.

Charlton and Dorothy's son, also named Charlton Ogburn (sometimes distinguished as "Jr."), after serving as the communications officer for Merrill's Marauders, became a noted State Department Analyst and non-fiction writer. He continued his parents' interest in Oxfordianism and wrote several more books on the subject. He co-wrote a book with his mother Shakespeare: The Man Behind the Name (1962). However, he later distanced himself from his parents' advocacy of what became known as Prince Tudor theory, the belief that Oxford had a son with Queen Elizabeth I.


  1. ^ William L.Pressly, A Catalogue of Paintings in the Folger Shakespeare Library, Yale University Press, 1993, p.62, n 20