1857: Delia Bacon raises the question in the first published book on authorship, The Philosophy of the Plays of Shakespeare Unfolded. She espouses the first group theory attributing the Shakespearean works to a committee headed by Francis Bacon and including Walter Raleigh, Edmund Spencer, Edward deVere, and others.
1895: Wilbur Ziegler writes a novel, It was Marlowe, first suggesting Marlowe, Raleigh, and the Earl of Rutland collaborated to author the Shakespearean canon.
1901: George Bernard Shaw coins the word “Bardolator” in the preface to his 1901 play, The Devil’s Disciple.
1908: Sir George Greenwood writes against the man from Stratford in The Shakespeare Problem Restated, which inspired Mark Twain’s 1909 essay, Is Shakespeare Dead?
1920: J. Thomas Looney, a British school teacher, devotes the first book to the theory that Edward deVere, 17th Earl of Oxford, is the sole author of the canon.
1933: Seven Shakespeares, by Gilbert Slater, proposes a group theory. He writes of several possible authors and believes Mary Sidney helped Edward de Vere.
1940: Scientific American magazine publishes an article by Charles Wisner Barrell claiming that the Ashbourne portrait of Shakespeare owned by the Folger Library is really the lost picture of the 17th Earl of Oxford, painted by Cornelius Ketel.
1943: Alden Brooks champions Sir Edward Dyer as the true author in his book Will Shakespeare and the Dyer’s Hand.
1952: Shakespeare’s Identity, a book by Dr. A.W. Titherley at the University of Liverpool, supports the Earl of Derby as the real Bard.
1955: The Marlowe theory is promoted in Calvin Hoffman’s book, The Murder of the Man Who Was “Shakespeare.”
1974: Ruth Loyd Miller edits and reprints Looney’s Shakespeare Identified, along with three other source books promoting Edward deVere as the real Shakespeare.
1984: Charlton Ogburn gets a favorable New York Times book review for The Mysterious William Shakespeare, which creates a new wave of public interest in Edward de Vere as the true Bard.
1985: Ogburn appears with Professor Maurice Charney from Rutgers on PBS’ Firing Line, which supports Ogburn’s point of view, and Charney calls it “preposterous.”
1987: A moot court debate takes place at the American University Law School where three Supreme Court Justices (Blackmun, Brennan, Stevens) witness two professors who present cases for the man from Stratford vs. the Earl of Oxford.
1988: The New Yorker magazine (April) publishes a story of the Washington debate by famed journalist James Lardner.
1988: The Inns of Court in London hold a moot court. Two British barristers defend the man from Stratford vs. the Earl of Oxford; it headlines the London Times.
1989: The Frontline PBS documentary, The Shakespeare Mystery, is hosted by Judy Woodruff. It airs several times over ten years and gets more people interested in the debate.
1991: John Louther, a retired journalist, sponsors a national lecture tour for young Charles Beauclerk, a descendant of the Earl of Oxford’s family. Beauclerk is the first to lecture on the subject at one hundred American universities where the subject was traditionally banned.
1991: The Atlantic magazine runs a 43-page cover story, Looking for Shakespeare.
1992: visnet cable sponsors a live video-conference connecting twenty universities around the country, with panel discussions that include Professor Felicia Londré, Charles Beauclerk, Tom Bethell, David Bevington, Warren Hope, and hosted by William F. Buckley.
1994: An article in the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine, Who Was He? presents William Fowler and his extensive book about Edward de Vere’s letters and their connections to the Shakespearean works.
1994: A BBC documentary, Who Was He?, presents cases for Bacon by Thomas Bokenham, Marlowe by Dolly Wraight, and deVere by Charles Beauclerk. The filmmakers leave the audience members to draw their own conclusions.
1997: Dr. Daniel Wright, head of the English Department at Concordia University in Portland, creates the annual Shakespeare Authorship Conference that invites teachers to attend the only authorship conference to be held at an academic institution.
1999: The Shakespeare Conspiracy documentary is coproduced with Austrian television and the BBC, hosted by Sir Derek Jacobi, who advocates for Edward de Vere.
1999: Harper’s magazine story, The Ghost of Shakespeare, includes independent scholars and academic professors debating in essays by Harold Bloom, Marjorie Garber, Joseph Sobran, Jonathan Bate, Richard Whalen, Mark Anderson, Tom Bethel, Gail Kern Paster, Irwin Matus, and Daniel Wright.
2001: Roger Stritmatter, a student in the Comparative Literature Department at the University of Massachusetts, is the first person allowed to complete a Ph.D. dissertation on the subject of authorship (on Shakespeare and the Geneva Bible).
2001: History Today, a British magazine, runs a major story by historian William Rubinstein, who in 2006 cowrites with Brenda James a book, The Truth Will Out: Unmasking the Real Shakespeare, about Sir Henry Neville as the true author.
2002: A New York Times article by William S. Niederkorn, “Historic Whodunit: If Shakespeare Didn’t, Who Did?” gives more credibility to the authorship debate.
2002: Much Ado About Something, a documentary about Marlowe by filmmaker Michael Rubbo, is screened at the Cannes Film Festival and receives positive reviews.
2002/3/4: The Shakespearean Authorship Trust sponsors three conferences at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London, espousing all points of view. Globe Artistic Director Mark Rylance hosts.
1769: A Smithsonian magazine article, To Be or Not To Be Shakespeare, attempts to give a fair summary of the debate.
2006: The first in-depth study of Mary Sidney Herbert, the Countess of Pembroke, as author is published by Robin P. Williams, Sweet Swan of Avon: Did a Woman Write Shakespeare?, and wins four awards.
2006: The first of an ongoing annual authorship series of John Silberrad Memorial Lectures is presented in partnership with Friends of Shakespeare’s Globe and Brunel University in London. Speakers have included Dr. William Leahy, John Michell, Richard Paul Roe, Diana Price, and Hank Whittemore.
2007: The first Masters Degree program in Shakespearean Authorship is offered at Brunel University in West London under the leadership of Professor William Leahy.
2007: John Shahan forms the non-profit Shakespeare Authorship Coalition and issues a formal Declaration of Doubt. The document continues to acquire signatures from prominent groups and individuals who urge English professors to accept the controversy as a worthy subject for study. 2007: I Am Shakespeare, a play written by and starring Mark Rylance (former Artistic Director of the Globe Theatre in London) is performed at the Chichester Festival Theatre in England
2007: Professor Stanley Wells and Mark Rylance debate the Declaration of Reasonable Doubt.
2008: NPR Radio presents a two-part series on “Who Wrote the Shakespeare Plays,” hosted by Renée Montagne of Morning Edition. She interviews Stephen Greenblatt, Mark Anderson, Daniel Wright, Charles Beauclerk, and others.
2009: The Wall Street Journal publishes a story about Justice John Paul Stevens and the United States Supreme Court’s interest in the Shakespeare authorship debate.
2009: The first of its kind in academia, the Shakespeare Authorship Research Centre and Library is completed at Concordia University in Portland, Oregon.
2011: Charles Beauclerk and William Leahy joined film director Roland Emmerich in debate at the English Speaking union in Mayfair to speak against the motion: “This House believes that William Shakespeaere of Stratford-upon-Avon wrote the plays and poems attributed to him.” Professor Stanley Wells, Michael Dobson and Paul Edmondson argued for the motion.
2011: Roland Emmerich’s feature film, Anonymous opens in theaters around the world.