Sidney Lee

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Sir Sidney Lee

Portrait of Sidney Lee.jpg
Solomon Lazarus Lee

5 December 1859
Died 3 March 1926(1926-03-03) (aged 66)
United Kingdom
Nationality English
Education City of London School
Alma mater Balliol College, Oxford
Occupation Biographer, writer, critic

Sir Sidney Lee FBA (5 December 1859 – 3 March 1926) was an English biographer, writer and critic.


Lee was born Solomon Lazarus Lee in 1859 at 12 Keppel Street, Bloomsbury, London. He was educated at the City of London School and at Balliol College, Oxford, where he graduated in modern history in 1882. In 1883, Lee became assistant-editor of the Dictionary of National Biography. In 1890 he became joint editor, and on the retirement of Sir Leslie Stephen in 1891, succeeded him as editor.

Lee wrote over 800 articles in the Dictionary, mainly on Elizabethan authors or statesmen. His sister Elizabeth Lee also contributed. While still at Balliol, Lee had written two articles on Shakespearean questions, which were printed in The Gentleman's Magazine. In 1884, he published a book about Stratford-on-Avon, with illustrations by Edward Hull. Lee's article on Shakespeare in the 51st volume (1897) of the Dictionary of National Biography formed the basis of his Life of William Shakespeare (1898), which reached its fifth edition in 1905.

In 1902, Lee edited the Oxford facsimile edition of the first folio of Shakespeare's comedies, histories and tragedies, followed in 1902 and 1904 by supplementary volumes giving details of extant copies, and in 1906 by a complete edition of Shakespeare's works.

Lee received a knighthood in 1911. Between 1913 and 1924, he served as Professor of English Literature and Language at East London College.


Besides the editions of English classics, Lee's works include:

  • Life of Queen Victoria (1902)
  • Great Englishmen of the Sixteenth century (1904), based on his Lowell Institute lectures at Boston, Massachusetts, in 1903
  • Shakespeare and the Modern Stage (1906)
  • Shakespeare's England : an account of the life & manners of his age (1916, with Sir Walter Alexander Raleigh)
  • King Edward VII, a Biography (1925).

There are personal letters from Lee, including those written during his final illness, in the T.F. Tout Collection of the John Rylands Library in Manchester.

See also


  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  • Wikisource Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Lee, Sidney". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.

External links

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