Wolcott, Roger, 1679-1767, American colonial governor of Connecticut, b. Windsor, Conn. A member of an influential Connecticut family, he became a judge and was prominent in the colonial assembly and the executive council before becoming governor (1750-54). He was second-in-command of the expedition that captured (1745) Louisburg in King George's War. Wolcott wrote Poetical Meditations (1725), the first book of verse published in Connecticut. He was the father of Oliver Wolcott.
Ascham, Roger, 1515-68, English humanist and scholar, b. Yorkshire. Ascham was a major intellectual figure of the early Tudor period. His Toxophilus (1545), an essay on archery, proved him a master of English prose; in it he urged the importance of physical recreation for students and scholars. The essay won him the favor of Henry VIII, and Ascham became tutor (1548-50) to Princess Elizabeth. He seems to have been largely responsible for her love of the classics and her proficiency in Greek. As a member of a diplomatic mission Ascham spent several years on the Continent, in contact with other scholars, and in 1553 was appointed Latin secretary to Queen Mary. He continued as secretary and private tutor to Elizabeth I after Mary's death. The Scholemaster (1570), his treatise on the teaching of Latin, urged the use of the double translation method. Dr. Johnson's life of Ascham (1761), included in many editions of Ascham's collected works, is a classic.

See W. F. Phelps, Roger Ascham and John Sturm (1879); study by L. V. Ryan (1963).

Boyle, Roger, Baron Broghill and 1st earl of Orrery: see Orrery, Roger Boyle, 1st earl of.
Van der Weyden, Roger: see Weyden, Roger van der.
Griswold, Roger, 1762-1812, American political leader, b. Lyme, Conn.; son of Matthew Griswold. A Connecticut lawyer, he entered politics and, as U.S. Congressman (1795-1805), was a vigorous Federalist and a virulent critic of President Jefferson's administration, going so far as to advocate seriously the separation of New England from the Union. He was lieutenant governor of Connecticut (1809-11), and governor (1811-12). As governor he expressed Connecticut's attitude toward the war with England by withholding the state militia from the command of federal officers, thereby causing a test case on the clause in the Constitution dealing with the authority of the President to requisition the state militia. Ruling on the case, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the President's authority.
Morris, Roger, 1727-94, Loyalist in the American Revolution, b. Yorkshire, England. He came (1755) to America as aide-de-camp to Gen. Edward Braddock and fought under James Wolfe at Quebec. After his service in the British army he settled (1764) in New York City with his wife, Mary Philipse. They lived in the famous Morris Mansion (later the Jumel Mansion). At the outbreak of the American Revolution, Morris was sympathetic to the British but refused to fight against the patriots. His wife, Mary Philipse Morris, 1730-1825, inherited her wealth from her father, Frederick Philipse. Handsome and imperious, she is said to have attracted numerous suitors, among them George Washington. After her marriage (1758) her property holdings—including a large estate in Putnam co., N.Y.—were passed on to Roger Morris. Soon after the outbreak of the American Revolution the family's property was confiscated by an act of attainder of the New York state legislature. Subsequently, she left (1783) for England with her husband and four children. Her heirs (who by Mary Philipse's marriage settlement had a right to those estates and had not themselves been attainted) sold their reversionary interests to John Jacob Astor for £20,000. To this the British government added £17,000 in compensation for Morris's losses incurred by New York state's confiscation.
Clemens, Roger (William Roger Clemens), 1962-, American baseball player, b. Dayton, Ohio. Noted for his competitive fire and nicknamed "Roger the Rocket," Clemens became one of baseball's great power pitchers. After starring at the Univ. of Texas, he joined (1984) the Boston Red Sox as a starting pitcher. In 1986 he was the American League's Most Valuable Player, and won the league's Cy Young Award (the first of a record seven), with a 24-4 won-lost record, a 2.48 earned run average, and a record 20 strikeouts in one nine-inning game (a feat he repeated in 1996). He moved (1997) to Toronto and then pitched (1999-2003) for the New York Yankees. Clemens led the league in earned run average in 1986, 1990-92, and 1997-98, and in strikeouts five times. Postponing a planned retirement, he joined (2004-6) the Houston Astros, and won his seventh Cy Young Award in 2004; the following year, at the age of 43, he had the best earned run average (1.87) in major-league baseball. In 2007 he again played for the Yankees, and tallied his 354th career win. His reputation was severely tarnished in 2007 when a commission chaired by George J. Mitchell implicated him in the use of performance-enhancing drugs, an accusation Clemens adamantly denied.

See study by T. Thompson et al. (2009).

Federer, Roger, 1981-, Swiss tennis player, b. Basel. He was an outstanding junior player, ranking number one in 1998, the year he turned pro. Federer won his first Association of Tennis Professionals tournament in 2001 at Milan, and scored his first major victory in 2003 at Wimbledon. Ranked number one in Feb., 2004, he won three of the four Grand Slam titles (Australian and U.S. opens and Wimbledon), 11 singles titles, and 74 of his 80 matches that year. He has since won Wimbledon (2005-7, 2009) and the U.S. (2005-8) and Australian (2006-7) opens several times and the French Open once (2009), setting a record (15) for Grand Slam victories by male tennis player, and by Aug., 2008, when he slipped out of first, had been ranked number one for 237 consecutive weeks, also a record. Playing with a combination of intelligence, strength, and finesse, he has a powerful forehand, a mighty single-handed backhand, and an explosive serve.
Fenton, Roger, 1819-69, English pioneer photographer. Originally a barrister, Fenton worked from the early 1850s until 1862 as a fashionable architectural, still-life, portrait, and landscape photographer. Aesthetically sensitive and technically adept, he was the most acclaimed and influential photographer in England during this period and did much to establish photography as both an art and a profession. Fenton had a strong interest in Orientalist subjects and he also made (1852) a series of photographs of Moscow and Kiev. Sponsored by the royal family, he was commissioned in 1855 to document the Crimean War. Working under appalling conditions, he made 360 photographs emphasizing the romantic aspects of an unpopular war. His few combat pictures are among the earliest photographs of battle.

See biography by H. and A. Gernsheim (1954); studies by J. Hannavy (1975), R. Pare (1987), and G. Baldwin et al. (2004).

Ludlow, Roger, b. 1590, d. after 1664, one of the founders of Connecticut, b. England. Educated at Oxford and admitted to the Inner Temple to study law, he was elected (1630) an assistant of the Massachusetts Bay Company and in the same year sailed to America. He was one of the founders of Dorchester, Mass., and served (1634) as deputy governor of Massachusetts. Moving to the new settlements along the Connecticut River, he presided (1636) at Windsor over the first court held in Connecticut and is credited with the final drafting of the Fundamental Orders, adopted by the colony in 1639. He also completed the first codification of Connecticut laws, known as Ludlow's Code or the Code of 1650. In 1639 he founded the settlement of Fairfield, Conn., and for many years served as a magistrate and deputy governor of Connecticut. He represented (1651-53) the colony in the New England Confederation. Disagreement over his proposed expedition against the Dutch settlers of New Netherland caused him to return (1654) to England, after which he settled in Ireland.

See biography by J. M. Taylor (1900).

North, Roger, 1653-1734, English biographer. A lawyer, he wrote excellent biographies of his brothers: Francis North, Lord Guilford, Keeper of the Great Seal (1742); Dudley North, a merchant (1744); and John North, master of Trinity College, Cambridge (1744). He is also noted for his Autobiography (1887).
Sessions, Roger, 1896-1985, American composer and teacher, b. Brooklyn, N.Y. Sessions was a pupil of Horatio Parker at Yale and of Ernest Bloch. He taught (1917-21) at Smith, leaving to teach at the Cleveland Institute of Music as Bloch's assistant. With Aaron Copland he organized (1928) the Copland-Sessions Concerts for contemporary music. In 1935, after years abroad, Sessions joined the faculty of Princeton. He was professor of music at the Univ. of California from 1944 to 1952, when he returned to Princeton. His first major work was his incidental music (1923) for Leonid Andreyev's Black Maskers. Other important works are chorale preludes for organ; eight symphonies (1927, 1946, 1957, 1958, 1964, 1966, 1967, 1968); a violin concerto (1935); a piano concerto (1956); and two string quartets (1936, 1950). Sessions's music, at first romantic and harmonic, became austere, complex, and highly individual. He wrote two operas (1947, 1963), a harmony textbook (1951), and several essays.

See his The Musical Experience (1950), Questions about Music (1970); studies by Cone (1979) and Olmstead (1987).

Williams, Roger, c.1603-1683, clergyman, advocate of religious freedom, founder of Rhode Island, b. London. A protégé of Sir Edward Coke, he graduated from Pembroke College, Cambridge, in 1627 and took Anglican orders. He early espoused Puritanism and emigrated to the Massachusetts Bay colony in 1631. Williams became a teacher (1632) and, after a stay at Plymouth, minister (1634) of the Salem church. However, his radical religious beliefs and political theories—he denied the validity of the Massachusetts charter, challenged the Puritans to acknowledge they had separated from the Church of England, and declared that civil magistrates had no power over matters of conscience—alarmed the Puritan oligarchy, and the General Court banished him in 1635.

In the spring of 1636 he founded Providence on land purchased from the Narragansett. To Providence, a democratic refuge from religious persecution, came settlers from England as well as Massachusetts. There were four settlements in the Narragansett Bay area by 1643, when Williams went to England. Through the influence of powerful friends such as Sir Henry Vane (1613-62), he obtained from the Long Parliament a patent (1644) uniting the Rhode Island towns of Portsmouth, Newport, and Warwick with Providence. In 1651, William Coddington secured a commission annulling the patent, but Williams, with John Clarke, hastened again to England and had the patent restored. (Its grant of absolute liberty of conscience was later confirmed by the royal charter of 1663.) On his return in 1654, Williams was elected president of the colony and served three terms. Always a trusted friend of the Native Americans (he wrote Key into the Language of America, 1643), he often used his good offices in maintaining peace with them, but he was unable to prevent the outbreak of King Philip's War (1675-76), in which he served as a captain of militia.

Williams, though he remained a Christian, disassociated himself from existing churches. His writings, reprinted in the Narragansett Club Publications (1866-74), reveal the vigor with which he propounded his democratic and humanitarian ideals. The Bloudy Tenent of Persecution for Cause of Conscience (1644) was condemned by John Cotton, who was answered with The Bloudy Tenent Yet More Bloudy (1652). Other works include Queries of Highest Consideration (1644), an argument for complete separation of church and state; The Hireling Ministry None of Christ's (1652); and George Fox Digg'd Out of His Burrowes (1676), a polemic against Quaker teachings. Of great personal charm and unquestioned integrity, Williams was admired even by those who, like both the elder and the younger John Winthrop, abhorred his liberal ideas.

See biographies by S. H. Brockunier (1940), P. Miller (1953, repr. 1962), O. Winslow (1957, repr. 1973), E. S. Morgan (1967), and J. Garrett (1970).

Conant, Roger, 1592-1679, one of the founders of Massachusetts, b. East Budleigh, Devonshire, England. He was a salter in London before he went to Plymouth in 1623. Conant lived at Nantasket from 1624 to 1625, when he was appointed to manage the Dorchester Company's settlement on Cape Ann. In 1626, with about 20 settlers, he founded Salem (Naumkeag) and later was the leading citizen of Beverly, which was incorporated (1668) largely because of his efforts.

See biography by C. K. Shipton (1944).

Sherman, Roger, 1721-93, American political leader, b. Newton, Mass. Sherman helped to draft and signed the Declaration of Independence. He was long a member (1774-81, 1783-84) of the Continental Congress, helped to draw up the Articles of Confederation, and after serving as a member of the Constitutional Convention (1787) was one of the strongest proponents of the new Constitution. He was prominent in Connecticut colonial and state politics and was mayor of New Haven and treasurer of Yale College. Sherman was a U.S. Representative (1789-91) and U.S. Senator (1791-93).

See biographies by L. H. Boutell (1896) and R. S. Boardman (1938, repr. 1971); C. Collier, Roger Sherman's Connecticut (1971).

Martin du Gard, Roger, 1881-1958, French novelist. Long associated with the Nouvelle Revue française, he first gained recognition with Jean Barois (1913), a novel of France during the Dreyfus Affair. His fame, however, rests chiefly on his eight-part novel cycle The World of the Thibaults (1922-40, tr. 1939-41). A story of two families, one Roman Catholic and the other Protestant, it explores the conflicts of French society in the early 20th cent. He also began a second ambitious novel, Lieutenant-Colonel de Maumort, unfinished at his death and not published until 1983 (tr. 1999). His other books include Confidence africaine (1931) and Vieille France (1933, tr. The Postman, 1954). Martin du Gard was awarded the 1937 Nobel Prize in Literature.

See studies by D. I. Schalk (1967) and C. H. Sarage (1968).

Bacon, Roger, c.1214-1294?, English scholastic philosopher and scientist, a Franciscan. He studied at Oxford as well as at the Univ. of Paris and became one of the most celebrated and zealous teachers at Oxford. Bacon was learned in Hebrew and in Greek and stressed the value of knowing the original languages in the study of Aristotle and of the Bible. He may also have known Arabic; his own philosophy drew upon Arab Aristotelianism as well as upon St. Augustine. He had an interest far in advance of his times in natural science, in controlled experiments, and in the accurate observation of phenomena. "It is the intention of philosophy," he said, "to work out the natures and properties of things." He declared that mathematics was the gateway to science, and experience, or verification, the only basis of certainty. This belief in experience as a guide to the outer world was, however, not divorced from theology; wisdom and faith were to him one. His writings were numerous. Three of his most important works were written for Pope Clement IV in one year (1267-68)—the Opus majus (tr. 1928), the Opus minor, and the Opus tertium. He was deeply interested in alchemy, an interest that may account for his being credited by his contemporaries with great learning in magical practices. He was long credited with the invention of gunpowder (because of a formula for gunpowder that appeared in a work attributed to him). A manuscript in cipher, discovered in the 20th cent. and attributed to him, would make Bacon the first man to have observed spiral nebulae through a telescope and to have examined cells through a microscope; but considerable doubt has been cast on the original date and the authenticity of the manuscript. Earlier editions of his major works were supplemented by an edition of his hitherto unedited works in various fascicles by Robert Steele and others (1909-35).

See A. G. Little, ed., Roger Bacon Essays (1914, repr. 1972); biography by F. Winthrop Woodruff (1938); studies by T. Crowley (1950) and S. C. Easton (1952, repr. 1971).

Kemble, Roger, 1721-1802, English actor and manager. During his years as the leader of a traveling company, he married (1753) Sarah Wood, 1735-1806, an actress. They had 12 children, thus founding one of the most distinguished families of actors ever to grace the English stage. Five of their children became famous; the best known of the children was Sarah Kemble (see Siddons, Sarah Kemble).

The eldest son, John Philip Kemble, 1757-1823, made his London debut (1783) as Hamlet. He was a stately, formal actor, the era's foremost exponent of the declamatory school of acting, and suited only for tragedy; his best role was Coriolanus. At the Drury Lane from 1783 to 1803, he became manager in 1788 and often played opposite Sarah Kemble Siddons. He managed Covent Garden (1803-8) and, when it was destroyed by fire, built a new one, opening it in 1809. George Stephen Kemble, 1758-1822, their second son, was also a Shakespearean actor, well known in later life for his girth and for his performance as Falstaff, especially at Covent Garden (1806) and the Drury Lane (1816). He also managed (1792-1800) the Edinburgh theater. One of their daughters, the actress Elizabeth Kemble, 1761-1836, married the actor Charles Edward Whitlock and with him went (1792) to the United States, where she acted in several roles. Perhaps best known for her performance of Portia, she retired in 1807. The youngest son, Charles Kemble, 1775-1854, made his debut in 1794 in Macbeth at the Drury Lane. He was known for his many Shakespearean roles and particularly acclaimed for his comic portrayals. He also managed (from 1822) Covent Garden.

Fanny Kemble (Frances Anne Kemble), 1809-93, elder daughter of Charles Kemble, made her debut as Juliet in 1829 under her father's management at Covent Garden. Her success was immediate, and her stature as an actress grew in both comedy and tragedy. She was the original Julia in The Hunchback, written for her by Sheridan Knowles. She scored a great success when she made a two-year tour of the United States with her father. In 1834 she married Pierce Butler, a wealthy Philadelphian with rice and cotton plantations in Georgia, where she lived for a time and where she formed a lasting antipathy to slavery. During the Civil War she was in England, writing against slavery for the London Times. Her Journal of America (1835), Journal of a Residence on a Georgia Plantation in 1838-1839 (1863, ed. by John A. Scott, 1961), and Records of a Later Life (1882) are much-used sources on the era. Her sister, Adelaide Kemble, 1815-79, was, during her brief career, an opera singer. A brilliant mezzo-soprano, she debuted (1838) in Italy as Bellini's Norma and appeared at Covent Garden. She was married (1843) to Edward Sartoris.

See P. Fitzgerald, The Kembles (1871); S. Kemble, The Kemble Papers (New-York Historical Society Collections, 1885); biography of John Philip Kemble by H. Baker (1942); biographies of Fanny Kemble by L. S. Driver (1933), R. Rushmore (1970), C. Wright (1972), and C. Clinton (2000); M. Gough, ed., Fanny Kemble: Journal of a Young Actress (1990); Fanny Kemble's Journals, selections ed. by C. Clinton (2000); A. Blainey, Fanny and Adelaide (2001).

Gender: Male
Meaning: Famous spear

Roger is primarily a common first name of English, French, and Catalan usage, ("Rogier", "Rutger" in Dutch) from the Germanic elements hrod (fame) and ger (spear) meaning "famous with the spear". The Latin form of the name is Rogerius, as used by a few medieval figures.

The name Roger was transmitted to England by the Normans after the Norman Conquest along with other names such as William, Robert, Richard, and Hugh. It replaced its Anglo-Saxon cognate, Hroðgar.

Voice procedure

In voice procedures, "Roger" means "GUM" (got your message) in both military- and civilian aviation radio communications. This usage comes from the initial R of received: R was called Roger in then-current radio alphabets such as the Joint Army/Navy Phonetic Alphabet. It is also often shortened in writing to "rgr". R is Romeo in the modern NATO phonetic alphabet; the updated phrases now in use are, for example, "I'll Romeo that" or "Romeo and Out".

Contrary to popular belief, Roger does not mean "I will comply". That distinction goes to the acronym wilco, a contraction of the phrase "will comply".


Roger is also a short version of the term Jolly Roger which refers to a black flag with white skull and crossbones, formerly used by sea pirates since as early as 1723.

From c.1650 to c.1870 Roger was slang for the word "penis" probably due to the origin of the name involving fame with a spear. Therefore "roger" became slang for "have sex with".

In 19th century England, Roger was slang for the cloud of toxic green gas that periodically swept through the chlorine bleach factories.


Only name

First name

Last name

Fictional characters

Fictional fictional characters

  • Roger the cabin boy. There is a persistent but untrue urban legend that one of the characters in Captain Pugwash had this sexually suggestive name.


See also

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