John Payne Collier, an English author and commentator on Shakespeare, born in London in 1789. He studied law, and was for several years parliamentary reporter for the "Morning Chronicle" newspaper. He published in journals and reviews criticisms and annota-tations on the old English poets, in 1820 the "Poetical Decameron," a series of dialogues on the poets chiefly of the reigns of Elizabeth and. James I., and in 1825 a poem entitled the "Poet's Pilgrimage." In 1825-'7 he edited a new edition of Dodsley's "Old Plays," adding 11 additional plays to it. In 1831 appeared his " History of English Dramatic Poetry," containing a great variety of information collected from original sources. Many valuable collections, such as the library of the duke of Devonshire and that of Lord Ellesmere, were in consequence of this publication opened to his researches. In Lord Ellesmere's collection of MSS. he found most of the materials for his series of "New Facts" and "Further Particulars "concerning Shakespeare and his works, published between 1835 and 1839. In 1844 he completed the publication of a new life of Shakespeare, and a new edition of his works, for which he had collected materials during 20 years, the text being founded on a new collation of the old editions.
In 1852 he published "Notes and Emendations" to the text of Shakespeare, from early manuscript corrections on the margin of a recently discovered copy of the folio of 1632, and the next year a new edition of the plays, with the text regulated by collation of this folio and of other old editions. These publications excited much interest and discussion concerning the date and authority of the manuscript corrections. Mr. Collier has been a zealous member of both the Camden and Shakespeare societies, for which he has edited several interesting works, as the "Memoirs of Edward Alleyn" (1841), the "Diary of Philip Henslowe" (1845), "Memoirs of the principal Actors in Shakespeare's Plays" (1846), and "Extracts from the Registers of the Stationers' Company from 1557 to 1580" (1848-'9). In 1865 he published a "Bibliographical Account of Rare Books" (2 vols.), and in 1866 commenced a series of reprints of the early English poets and pamphleteers. He receives an annual pension from the crown of £100, granted by Sir Robert Peel.