Secord, Arthur Wellesley (1891-1957) | University of Illinois Archives

Name: Secord, Arthur Wellesley (1891-1957)

Historical Note:

Arthur Wellesley Secord (1891-1957) was assistant (1921-22); instructor (1923-25); associate (1925-26); assistant professor (1926-36); associate professor (1936-45); and professor (1945-1957) of English at the University of Illinois (UI). He was widely respected as a leading English scholar on the works of Daniel Defoe (1660-1731).

Secord was born in Emporia, Kansas, on November 7, 1891. He earned a bachelor's degree from Greenville College in Illinois (1916) and served in the US Infantry (1917-18) during WWI. Following the war, he earned a master's degree (1920) and a Ph.D. (1923) from UI and joined the English faculty there in 1921. Secord is primarily known for his scholarship on Defoe, including his 1924 book, Studies in the Narrative Method of Defoe, based on his dissertation, as well as Daniel Defoe: A Journal of the Plague Year and Other Pieces (editor, 1935). Additional written works include "Our Indispensable Eighteenth Century" (1946) and "I. M. of the First Folio Shakespeare and Other Mabbe Problems" (1948) as well as Robert Drury's Journal and Other Studies, which was published posthumously in 1961. Secord was awarded the 1927-28 Guggenheim Memorial fellowship, and, in 1956, he was made a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature of Great Britain.

Secord married Minta Irene Tenney on September 8, 1920, and together they had a son and two daughters. He died of a heart attack that occurred on the UI campus on May 16, 1957.


"Arthur Wellesley Secord," accessed June 3, 2020,

"Arthur W. Secord," Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, accessed June 3, 2020,

"A. W. Secord Dies After Heart Attack," Daily Illini, 17 May 1957, accessed June 3, 2020,

"Secord Services Set for Monday," Daily Illini, 18 May 1957, accessed June 3, 2020,

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