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William Riley Parker


William Riley Parker, American educator. Recipient Guggenheim fellow, Fulbright research award, 1962-1963; Gold medal Goethe Institute Munich, 1966; Distinguished National Service award New York State Federation Foreign Language Teachers, 1967.


Parker, William Riley was born on August 17, 1906 in Roanoke, Virginia, United States. Son of Frank Benjamin and Bertha Ladow (Riley) Parker.


Student, Roanoke College (Salem, Virginia), 1923-1927, Bachelor of Arts, 1927. Master of Arts, Princeton, 1928. B. Little, Oxford, 1934.

Doctor of Literature, Middlebury College, 1953. Doctor of Laws, University Michigan, 1956. Doctor of Humane Letters, Roanoke College, 1962, Miami University, 1962.


Instructor English, Northwestern University, 1928-1932. Research in England, 1934-1935. Instructor, Ohio State University, 1935-1936.

Assistant professor, 1936-1941. Visiting professor, Johns Hopkins University, 1937. Visiting professor, Duke University, summer 1938 and 1941.

Research in England, autumn 1938. Associate professor, Ohio State University, 1941-1943. Professor, 1943-1946.

Visiting professor, University of Southern California, summer 1946. Professor New York University, 1946-1956. Professor of English, Indiana U., 1956-1958, Distinguished Service professor of English, 1958-1968, chairman department of English, 1966-1968.

Chief language development program United States Office Education, 1958-1959, member of national advising committee, language development, 1959-1964.


  • Author: Milton’s Debt to Greek Tragedy in Samson Agonistes, 1937. Milton’s Contemporary Reputation, 1940. The National Interest and Foreign Languages, 1954, review edit., 1962.

    The Language Curtain and Other Essays on American Education, 1966. Editor: The Dignity of Kingship Asserted (by G. S.), 1942. Publications of Modern Language Association, 1948-1956, compiler style sheet, 1951.

    William Winstanley’s Lives of the Most Famous English Poets, 1963. Milton: A Biography, 2 vols., 1966. Author articles, reviews.


Member Fulbright International Exchange Persons, 1950-1954, United States nat. commission United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Executive Committee, 1954-1958, vice chairman, 1957-1958. Member National Council Humanities, 1968. Member Modern Humanities Research Association, American Council of Learned Societies (secretary of the board directors, 1950-1956), Modern Language Association (executive secretary 1947-1956, director foreign language program 1952-1956, president 1959), College English Association, National Council Teachers of English, American Association Teachers, French, Bibliographical Society (London), Phi Beta Kappa (member senate 1961-1968).

Clubs: Century, Andiron.


Married Mary Ann Blakesley, September 20, 1932. Children: Pamela, Robin.

Frank Benjamin Parker

Bertha Ladow (Riley) Parker

Mary Ann Blakesley

Pamela Parker

Robin Parker