Law, Robert Adger (1879–1961)

By: Thomas P. Harrison

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: March 1, 1995

Robert Adger Law, Shakespeare scholar and university professor, was born on March 8, 1879, in Spartanburg, South Carolina, the son of Thomas Hart and Anna Elizabeth (Adger) Law. His father was a Presbyterian minister. Robert graduated in 1898 with a B.A. from Wofford College, in 1902 with an M.A. from Trinity College (later Duke University), and in 1905 with a Ph.D. from Harvard, under tutelage of the noted Shakespearean authority George Lyman Kittredge. Law taught in public schools in Summerville and Spartanburg, South Carolina, from 1898 to 1901. In 1906 he joined the English department at the University of Texas as an instructor; he became adjunct professor in 1911, associate professor in 1915, and full professor in 1919, a position he held until his retirement in 1957. Law married Elizabeth Mortimer Manigault on March 30, 1910; they had four children. His numerous publications in the field of Elizabethan literature and his eminence in national and regional modern-language societies served to identify Texas with the best traditions of American scholarship. In 1949 his alma mater, Wofford, conferred upon him an honorary doctorate; in 1940 Austin College at Sherman honored him with another. He served the University Presbyterian Church of Austin as deacon, elder, and teacher of a Bible class. Broader interests involved him in the work of the Synod of Texas, the General Assembly, and the Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Law also served as editor of the Texas Review (later the Southwest Review) from 1915 to 1924. He was professor emeritus of English when he died on August 16, 1961, in Austin; he was buried at Austin Memorial Park.

Sam Hanna Acheson, Herbert P. Gambrell, Mary Carter Toomey, and Alex M. Acheson, Jr., Texian Who's Who, Vol. 1 (Dallas: Texian, 1937). Austin American, August 17, 18, 1961. Directory of American Scholars, 1942. Carl John Eckhardt, One Hundred Faithful to the University of Texas at Austin (197-?). Harvard University Directory, 1913. Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.
  • Education
  • Educators
  • English and Journalism

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Thomas P. Harrison, “Law, Robert Adger,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 01, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

March 1, 1995