Ralph L. Collins (1907-1963) was born in Eclectic, Alabama. He was educated at the University of the South, where he earned a B.A. in 1928, and at Yale University, where he earned a Ph.D. in 1933. Before joining the Department of English at Indiana University in 1935, he did editorial work for Atlantic Monthly and taught one year at the University of Tennessee. At Indiana, he served as varsity tennis coach from 1940 to 1945 and as Director of the Writers Conference from 1941 to 1948. He was named Assistant Dean of Faculties in 1948 and Vice President and Dean of Faculties in 1959.
As teacher and scholar Dean Collins was principally interested in the area of theatre and drama. He published articles in the area of theatre and drama, including many in Modern Language Notes, Philosophical Quarterly, Theatre Annual, and University of Kansas Review. For many years he taught undergraduate courses in modern drama and in Shakespeare and a graduate seminar on George Bernard Shaw.
Even after assuming his many administrative duties, Dean Collins maintained his interest in theatre. For him, drama was not merely a form of entertainment. It was an intense presentation of behavior, a projection of gestures of mind and heart, and a searching analysis of motives and moral foundation. No static memorial could honor the memory of Ralph L. Collins as do the present lectures.