Thomas Leland Berger was born on March 26, 1941, to Clara Belle (Bagwell) Berger and Harvey Arthur Berger in Oak Park, Illinois, and spent much of his boyhood in Menlo Park, California. He earned a Bachelor's in English from Dartmouth College in 1963, a Master's in English from Duke University in 1967, and a Doctorate in English from Duke in 1969. He was made a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 1970. A self-described "Gonzo Bibliographer," Dr. Berger served for many years as U.S. Secretary/Treasurer of the Malone Society, an organization dedicated to "the permanent utility of original texts." In the field of Shakespeare studies, he was a respected writer and editor. In 2014 Cambridge University Press published Paratexts in English Printed Drama to 1642, a two-volume work co-edited with Dr. Sonia Massai.
Berger brought Shakespeare's works to life for generations of students at St. Lawrence University, Canton, New York. His establishment of, and decades-long involvement with, St. Lawrence's study abroad program in London stands as a landmark of his career at the university. His professional endeavors in London also contributed to the establishment of the undergraduate program at Shakespeare's Globe, now a mainstay of Globe Education's continuing efforts. He retired from St. Lawrence as Piskor Professor of English Emeritus in 2007, concluding a storied thirty-six year tenure. He will continue to be remembered fondly there and elsewhere as the long-serving Owner-Coach, Player-Manager of the English Department Football Team.
The Folger Shakespeare Library and the British Library were homes away from home for Berger. He explained this deep affinity, saying, "The place in which I always feel at home is a library. Books are fun to hold, to smell and of course to read . . ."
Raconteur, rascal, wiseacre, bowtie-wearing bon vivant, his wit, kindness, and understated wisdom graced the lives of many: family, students, colleagues and friends.