Dr. Charlton J. K. Hinman, 66, a retired English professor and internationally known Shakespeare scholar, died Wednesday at the Potomac Valley Nursing Home in Rockville after a long illness.
Associated for many years with the Folger Shakespeare Library here, he was the inventor of the Hinman collating machine, which he used in an effort to compile a collection of Shakespeare's plays exactly as the Bard wrote them.
As the result of many years of work, Dr. Hinman wrote and published "The Printing Folios of Shakespeare" in two volumes. He also was editor of "Shakespeace Quarto Facsimilies" and "The Norton Facsimilies of the First Folio of Shakespeare."
Dr. Hinman, who first went to the Folger Library as a research fellow in 1941-42, did most of his work later as an honorary fellow there from 1952 to 1952.
Before he invented his collator, scholars were forced to make a tedious page-by-page sight comparison of the pages contained in some of the 238 First Folios of Skakespeare's plays known to exist. The Folger Library had acquired 79 of them. The original texts have not been found.
When the First Folio (the first collected edition of Shakespeare's works) was printed in 1923, corrections were made by proofreaders. But some copies were issued before the proofreading was completed. As additional copies were printed by other printers, it is believed many misinterpretations were made of what Shakespeare actually had written.
The Hinman collator, an optical machine, speeded up the comparison process tremendously.
Born in Fort Collins, Colo., Dr. Hinman received a bachelor's degree from Cornell University.
He studied at Oxford University as a Rhodes scholar and earned bachelor's and master's degrees there.He earned a doctorate as a DuPont research fellow at the University of Virginia in 1941. He had served earlier as an instructor at the University of Missouri.
During World War II, Dr. Hinman was a commander in naval intelligence and communications in Washington and the South Pacific. A member of the Naval Reserves, he was recalled to active duty during 1950-52.
Between World War II and the Korean conflict, he was an assistant professor of English at Johns Hopkins University.
During his research work at Folger in the 1950s, he was a Guggenheim fellow and a Bolingen research fellow.
He joined the faculty of the University of Kansas in 1960, and remained there until he retired last year, when he moved to Kensington.
Dr. Hinman was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, the Bibliography Society of London, the Modern Language Association of America and the Shakespeare Association of America.
He is survived by his wife, Myra, of the home in Kensington; a daugther, Barbara, of Fayetteville, Ark., and a stepson, Christopher Eric Olstead, of Houston.