Speaking of Shakespeare Link

John Andrews

Mr. Andrews is the son of Frank Randolph Andrews (1912-84), who was born in Hope, New Mexico, on the day after the Land of Enchantment became the Union's 49th state, and Mary Lucille Wimberley (1911-98), a native of Blackwell, Texas, who spent most of her childhood on a farm in the Pandhandle near Friona. They met at Draughon's Business College in Lubbock, and it was in that city that they wed in 1936. A short time later they moved to Carlsbad, where Frank had resided since the age of two.

Their first child, John Frank, was born in the Cavern City in 1942, and his two sisters, Judith Rae and Mary Janell, completed the family circle with their arrivals in 1946 and 1951. An electrician and a respected union official who devoted many years to managing the finances of IBEW's Locals 643 and 703, Frank Andrews spent most of his career at a potash mine operated by the International Minerals and Chemical Corporation. Lucille, who was active in local organizations such as the First Baptist Church and The Woman's Club, sold Baldwin pianos for many years; she then established a successful practice as a real-estate agent.

In 1953, at the age of 10, "Johnny" entered a competition sponsored by the Carlsbad Current-Argus and was thrilled by his selection as a ballboy for the inaugural season of the Carlsbad Potashers, a Class C minor-league team that attracted national publicity (including a "Miscellany" feature in Life magazine that showed catcher Ike Jackson collecting dollar bills from ecstatic fans after he'd hit a game-winning homer) for attendance figures that exceeded those of AAA franchises in cities as large as Nashville. The players reciprocated by winning a Longhorn League champtionship.

Decades later, in response to a widely-reported 1987 incident in Shea Stadium, Mr. Andrews recalled a memorable occurrence that summer in Montgomery Field; he told readers of Sports Illustrated about a twice-batted ball that permitted an opposing hitter to reach second base on a drive whose trajectory was interrupted by an unidentified flying object -- in this case one that had probably spent its day in Carlsbad Caverns. Years prior to this letter, during his high-school years in Carlsbad, Mr. Andrews had reacted to a Life article that raised questions about Dick Clark's preference for rock'n'roll artists (as opposed, say, to Bing Crosby) and suggested that "American Bandstand" might be complicit in "payola" schemes like those that were enriching DJs at Top-40 radio stations around the country.

During the mid-'50s an 11-year-old who loved sports and enjoyed collecting baseball cards, among them several that were generously autographed by future Hall of Famers after an exhibition game in El Paso, began playing competitive sports himself. In 1955, as a member of the newly-established Shorthorn League's first all-star roster, he pitched the opening game for a squad with ambitions to conclude its inaugural season in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Unfortunately he and his teammates suffered a heartbreaking 8-7 loss, but the following summer a younger cohort of Shorthorn players came close to truncating the aspirations of a neighboring team, a Roswell Lions Hondo juggernaut that went on to claim the 1956 Little League World Series championship. In recent years the Carlsbad Shorthorn team has won two state titles. Its 2019 squad eliminated Roswell Lions Hondo, for example, and represented the Land of Enchantment in Little League's Southwest tournament in Waco, Texas; after defeating teams from Colorado and Mississippi, the youngsters who represented New Mexico made it to the quarterfinals, succumbing to a team from Oklahoma whose victory secured a slot in the regional semifinals. The eventual winner of the Southwest tournament, Eastbank Little League from River Ridge, Louisana, proceeded to Williamsport and won the 2019 Little League World Championship, defeating a powerful team from Curacao in the title game.


Mr. Andrews showed promise as an artist during his early years, painting signs for local businesses and collaborating on occasional civic projects with a classmate, Gary Niblett, who was destined to become an internationally-acclaimed Western painter. During his senior year Mr. Andrews produced several sports cartoons for Caveman PowWow, the Carlsbad High School newspaper, among them a tribute to legendary quarterback Sam Etcheverry that earned an award from New Mexico Highlands University's school of journalism and a warm note from a passer who had garnered dozens of accolades with the CFL's Montreal Alouettes and was about to conclude his remarkable career with the NFL's St. Louis Cardinals. A year later Mr. Andrews' portrayal of "The Rifle" was featured in The Illustrator, a magazine published by Art Instruction, Inc., a correspondence school that had become familiar for its "Draw Me" ads in popular magazines. In December of 2021, Shirley MacLaine, who now resides in Santa Fe, graciously inscribed a portrait of her that Mr. Andrews had produced, based on the cover of a popular magazine, six decades earlier.

During the autumn of 1959, Mr. Andrews was one of 30 students from CHS who took part in an exchange program with Wheaton High School in Illinois. In October they boarded a regional ATSF train in Carlsbad, transferred to the luxurious San Francisco Chief in Clovis, and traveled by way of Kansas City to Chicago, where they were met by their hosts. Mr. Andrews resided with the family of Rev. Warren Filkin and attended two weeks of classes as a guest of fellow junior David Filkin. Two weeks after the CHS students' return to New Mexico, Dave and his fellow hosts from Wheaton rode the Santa Fe to Carlsbad for a fortnight in the Southwest. Highlights of the Chicagoland portion of the exchange included visits to Tribune Tower for a conversation with radio wit Wally Phillips (whose show Mr. Andrews had picked up on WGN, one of the nation's 26 clear-channel stations during the golden age of AM radio), to the corporate headquarters of International Minerals and Chemical Corporation in Skokie, and to Chicago's Shubert Theatre for "The Music Man," with Forrest Tucker playing the role of title character Harold Hill. Mr. Andrews later discovered that a Wheaton student who didn't take part in the exchange was future journalist Bob Woodward.

Although it would never have occurred to Mr. Andrews to challenge the promotional skills of his classmate Michael Rosenberg (who would become one of America's most successful event and talent managers), he displayed some aptitude at this time as a producer, working during his senior year with a Beverly Hills agent named Bob Dawes to bring two fundraising events to the National Guard Armory as part of a Key Club campaign to commission a Caveman statue for the CHS campus. The first engagement, in October 1960, featured The Champs (a band that had made its name with "Tequila," and one that included a then-unknown singer named Glen Campbell, as well as two instrumentalists who'd later achieve fame as Seals and Crofts. The lead singer for the occasion was Johnny Burnette , who'd recorded such hits as "Dreamin'" and "You're Sixteen, You're Beautfiful, and You're Mine." The second engagement, in February 1961, placed its spotlight on The Ventures (best known at the time for a guitar instrumental called "Walk, Don't Run") and Chubby Checker (who'd already topped the Billboard chart with "The Twist," and whose follow-up single, "Pony Time," was Number 9 that week and Number 1 two weeks later). After the second of these presentations, the lead singer (a genial performer whose real name was Ernest Evans) kindly accompanied Mr. Andrews and a couple of his friends to the studios of radio station KAVE to record several promotional messages for Jack DeVore, a supportive disk jockey who'd graciously provided free publicity for the event. Years later Mr. Andrews would learn that Mr. DeVore had become a highly-regarded figure on Capitol Hill, serving as a respected press representative for Senator Lloyd Bentsen of Texas.


Graduating first in CHS's class of 1961, and commended for his versatility, Mr. Andrews opted for a scholarship to Princeton University (declining offers from Rice and Stanford), and spent his first two years in an Architecture program that introduced him to the talent and wisdom of such luminaries as Michael Graves, Louis Kahn (shown here teaching a class attended by Mr. Andrews) and Minoru Yamasaki. Among his fellow students was Tod Williams, who teamed up with his wife Billie Tsien and earned acclaim for such buildings as the new home of the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, the American Folk Art Museum in midtown Manhattan, and the Downtown Branch of the Whitney Museum of American Art. But owing to the charismatic teaching of Sherman Hawkins, a literary scholar and actor, Mr. Andrews ultimately decided to focus instead on English literature and drama. He has recalled the pleasant fruits of that decision in profiles that have appeared in two university publications, the Princeton Alumni Weekly and the Daily Princetonian.

One of his fellow English majors was Charlie Gibson, who enjoyed a distinguished career with ABC News. Another classmate was a History major named Bill Bradley, an All-American basketball star who led the Tigers to a third-place finish in the 1965 NCAA tournament (a remarkable achievement that was memorably captured in Sports Illustrated by Frank Deford of the Class of 1962), spent two years at Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship, helped the New York Knicks capture two NBA titles, and represented the Garden State for three terms in the United States Senate.

Among the teachers with whom Mr. Andrews had an opportunity to study at Old Nassau were critic R.P. Blackmur, classicist Robert Fagles, theologian Reinhold Neibuhr, philosopher Richard Rorty, and his wonderful advisor, A. Walton Litz. Once he proceeded to graduate study, first at Harvard (earning a Master of Arts in Teaching in 1966) and then at Vanderbilt (completing his Ph.D. in English in 1971, with a dissertation on the two compositors who set type for the 1619 Pavier Quartos, a collection that was printed in the same shop that produced the 1623 Shakespeare First Folio), Mr. Andrews benefited from courses with a number of other notables, among them Douglas Bush, Robert Fitzgerald, Harry Levin, and Ted Sizer in Cambridge, and J. Leeds Barroll and Allen Tate in Nashville.


It was at Harvard that Mr. Andrews met Vicky Anderson, a mathematics teacher who would become his first wife and the mother of his two children, Eric (born in 1971) and Lisa (born in 1973). They wed in La Grange, Illinois, in 1966, and have remained close notwithstanding their divorce in 1983 and Mr. Andrews' marriage in 1994 to policy analyst and visual artist Jan Denton.

During their four years in the Music City, Vicky taught at Hillwood High School, and Mr. Andrews taught introductory English courses both at Vanderbilt and at the University of Tennessee's Nashville Center. In 1970 they moved to Tallahassee, where Mrs. Andrews taught at Godby High School and her husband joined the Florida State University faculty as an Assistant Professor of English, teaching undergraduate and graduate courses both in literature and drama and in an interdisciplinary Humanities program that offered him an opportunity to work with senior colleagues in Art History, Classics, Philosophy, and Religion. During his fourth year on the FSU faculty Mr. Andrews served as Director of Graduate Studies in English and as a member of the university's Faculty Senate. He was also active as Secretary for the campus chapter of the American Association of University Professors and as one of four rotating hosts for "AAUP Outlook," a half-hour radio series on contemporary higher education that was aired by WFSU-FM. In that capacity Mr. Andrews interviewed such academic leaders as Robert B. Mautz, Chancellor of the State University System, and Donald L. Tucker, head of Florida's Senate Education Committee.

Mr. Tucker's name now adorns the Civic Center in which the Seminoles' male and female basketball teams play home games. It's a much more impressive facility than "tiny Tully," the cozy gymnasium in which future NBA stars such as Dave Cowens had played their collegiate ball, and in which a 1972 Florida State men's team coached by Hugh Durham went all the way to the NCAA finals and gave All-American center Bill Walton and incomparable coach John Wooden a real scare before losing 81-76 to the UCLA Bruins in what turned out to be the closest margin of victory in any of the Wizard of Westwood's title games. Mr. Andrews was enthralled with that squad, which ended the career of legendary Kentucky coach Adolph Rupp in the Mideast final and then went on to beat a superb North Carolina team, coached by Dean Smith, in the opening game of that year's Final Four.

By this time offensive genius Bill Peterson had concluded his fascinating career as Florida State's head football coach, and a program that had produced such legends as Fred Biletnikoff (in whose name each year's top receiver in college football is now honored) was in steep decline. In fact, after a winless 1973 season things were looking so dismal that the university administration appointed a small faculty committee to determine whether it was time to drop football altogether. Mr. Andrews served on that panel, and after considering various options he and his colleagues concluded that in a region where athletic success was key to success in virtually every other area (student recruitment, academic standing, private and corporate fundraising, and legislative support), it was essential for one of the Sunshine State's flagship institutions not only to continue its football program but to make it competitive once again. Had it not been for that vote of confidence, and the support that stemmed from it, it's by no means certain that Bobby Bowden could have been persuaded to bring his talents to Doak Campbell Stadium a few years later.

In March of 1974 a memo that Mr. Andrews circulated to graduate students and their faculty advisors in the Department of English, providing guidelines to implement instructions about new registration procedures from the Dean of Arts and Sciences, prompted accusations in the state legislature that FSU and other institutions were engaged in "enrollment padding" to increase their funding appropriations. In due course it became clear that what initially appeared to be a nefarious Seminole raid on the public treasury was a consequence of problems at the university-system level that resulted not only from inadequate coordination and communication, but from a lack of uniform standards for measuring faculty-student contact hours. But in the interim what an early-summer issue of Chronicle of Higher Education would describe as a "Tallahassee Hassle" brought considerable anxiety to a small household in the Sunshine State. Fortunately an unexpected phone call provided welcome relief.

During the summers of 1972 and 1973 Mr. Andrews had benefited from fellowships that permitted him to do research at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington. By this point he'd served for several years as Assistant Editor for Shakespeare Studies, a periodical that had been founded by J. Leeds Barroll, the visionary scholar who'd directed his dissertation at Vanderbilt, and shortly after his second sojourn in D.C. Mr. Andrews completed a review that would appear in Volume VIII of the journal. The subject of his article was Coleridge on Shakespeare, an edition by R.A. Foakes that was based on a Folger document and had been published by the Library.

As it happened, Mr. Andrews' two stints on Capitol Hill had also provided him a chance to get acquainted with the Folger's brilliant director, O.B. Hardison. So during the winter of 1974 he and one of his Florida State colleagues (George Harper, a leading Yeats authority who'd worked with Dr. Hardison at the University of North Carolina and enjoyed seeing his friend singled out by Time as one of the nation's most illustrious teachers) arranged for O.B. to take part in an interdisciplinary symposium that focused on "Politics and Literature." As expected, Dr. Hardison delivered a scintillating lecture that turned out to be the highlight of a memorable occasion. Mr. Andrews then escorted him to the studios of WFSU-TV for an interview that was to air that evening. On arrival he learned that the man who'd been expected to host the program was unavailable, so Mr. Andrews stepped in for what turned out to be a relaxed but penetrating conversation about the humanities in American life.

That, Dr. Hardison explained a few weeks later in a call from his office in Washington, was one of several things that had impressed him about a young Shakespeaere scholar with experience in editing and academic administration, and he asked Mr. Andrews if he might be interested in becoming the Library's new Director of Research Activities. Not surprisingly, Mr. Andrews was delighted by this opportunity, and in early July, after he'd completed a couple of visits to the Folger to discuss it in more detail, he and his family departed for a new home in the Nation's Capitol area.


With help from Linda Wertheimer, a CHS classmate and 1960 prom date who'd achieved fame on "All Things Considered" as one of the pioneers of National Public Radio, they found a suitable residence to rent in Alexandria. Vicky secured an attractive teaching position at Mark Twain Intermediate School, and taught there for a short time. She then proceeded to positions at West Springfield High School and at the renowned Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. In due course their talented children would graduate with high honors from West Potomac High School and proceed, with scholarship support, to degrees from Princeton, Eric in computer science in 1993 and Lisa in English in 1995.

For highlights of Mr. Andrews' subsequent career, click here. And for information about his eminent colleagues on the Board of Directors and the Advisory Council of the Shakespeare Guild, click here.