Skip to main content

Cole, Douglas



Douglas Cole was born on July 25, 1934, in New York, New York to Ronald and Helen Cole. Cole studied at the University of Vienna, the University of Notre Dame and Princeton University, earning a Ph.D. in English from Princeton in 1961. He began teaching in 1960, and came to Northwestern as a full professor in 1969. While at Northwestern, Cole served as an English Department chair, Director of the Undergraduate Program in Drama, and Master of the Humanities Residential College, amongst various other activities. He retired in 1998.

Cole attended the University of Vienna, Austria from 1953 to 1954 before returning to the United States to finish his degree. He graduated maxima cum laude with a B.A. from the University of Notre Dame in 1957. In November, 1957 Cole married his wife, Virginia, and in December of that same year he earned his M.A. degree in English from the University of Chicago. He continued his studies at Princeton University, where his first son, Douglas, was born in 1958. Cole received a Ph.D. in English from Princeton in 1961.

Cole's teaching career began in 1960 with his appointment as instructor in the English Department of Yale University; he specialized in courses on Chaucer, Marlowe and Shakespeare. Cole's second son Stephen was born in 1960, followed by his daughters Karen (in 1961) and Kristin (in 1962). His first book, Suffering and Evil in the Plays of Christopher Marlowe, was published by the Princeton University Press in 1962. Cole was promoted to assistant professor at Yale in 1964 and to associate professor in 1967.

In 1969 Cole came to Northwestern University as a full professor in the English Department. He served on the English Graduate Program Fellowships and Scholarships Committee from 1969 to 1973, and was the Director of Graduate Studies in English from 1970 to 1973. Cole was Chairman of the English Department from 1973 to 1977, and acting chair in 1993. He was a member of Northwestern's College of Arts and Sciences Dean's Advisory Board on Tenure and Promotions in 1974 and 1975 and the Teaching Load Committee in 1975. Also during 1974-1975, Cole served on the English Department Dissertation Committee. Throughout the 1970's and 1980's, he was active in the English Department Executive Committee.

Engaged in University cultural endeavors, Cole was instrumental in bringing the Royal Shakespeare Company to the Northwestern campus in 1977 and 1981 to perform and speak to students. He was Associate Master of the Humanities Residential College from 1979 to 1981. Cole helped to found Helicon, a literary magazine based in the Humanities Residential College. His support for the creation of the Humanities Residential College, his service as Assistant Master, and his continued work on Helicon made him a clear choice as Master from 1981 to 1984. In this role, he directed several plays with the students of the College. He became Director of the Undergraduate Program in Drama in 1980 and served as part of a committee on Graduate Programs in Theater and Drama from 1979 to 1991. He also participated in committee work on the Humanities Program and its role in the University from 1985 to 1988 and on a committee concerned with the Integrated Arts Program in 1991. Cole served on Northwestern's Library and Information Technology Committee during the 1995-1996 academic year.

Cole's book, Marlowe and the Renaissance of Tragedy, was published in 1995. He retired from Northwestern in 1998; the University named him professor emeritus upon retirement.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Douglas Cole (1934- ) Papers

Identifier: 11/3/11/36

The Douglas Cole papers fill nine boxes and span the years 1960 to 1997. They contain biographical materials, materials relating to Cole's involvement with Northwestern University, publications and addresses, and teaching files. Materials relating to Cole's Northwestern University involvement include files on the Comparative Literature Committee, the Dean's Advisory Board on Tenure and Promotions, the Drama Program, and the English Department.

Dates: 1960-1997