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William S. McFeely

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William S. McFeely
William Shield McFeely

September 25, 1930(1930-09-25)
DiedDecember 11, 2019(2019-12-11) (aged 89)
Alma materAmherst College
Yale University

William Shield McFeely (September 25, 1930 – December 11, 2019)[1] was an American historian and educator. In 1982, he won the Pulitzer Prize. He worked at Yale University, the University of Georgia and at Harvard University. McFeely was known for his biographies about Ulysses S. Grant and the Reconstruction era.


He was born in New York City. McFeely studied at Amherst College and at Yale University.

McFeely taught at Yale until 1970,[2] during the Civil Rights Movement and Black Power movements. One of his black students in his class was Henry Louis Gates Jr..

McFeely was known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning 1981 biography of Ulysses S. Grant. His works also focused on the Reconstruction era, and for the field of African-American history.[2] He retired as the Abraham Baldwin Professor of the Humanities emeritus at the University of Georgia in 1997. He began working for Harvard University in 2006.

McFeely died of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis on December 11, 2019 at his home in Sleepy Hollow, New York at the age of 89.[2]

Awards and honors

Some works

  • Yankee Stepfather: General O.O. Howard and the Freedmen (W. W. Norton, 1968)
  • Grant: A Biography (W. W. Norton, 1981)
  • Frederick Douglass (W. W. Norton, 1990)
  • Sapelo's People: A Long Walk into Freedom (W. W. Norton, 1994)
  • Proximity to Death (W. W. Norton, 2000)
  • Portrait: The Life of Thomas Eakins (W. W. Norton, 2007)


  1. Fischer, Heinz-Dietrich (May 2013). Main Achievements of American Presidents. LIT Verlag Münster. pp. 104–. ISBN 978-3-643-90362-4 . Retrieved July 8, 2015. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Genzlinger, Neil (December 13, 2019). "William McFeely, Pulitzer-Winning Historian, Dies as 89". New York Times. Retrieved December 14, 2019. Print version December 14, 2019, p. B11.
  3. St. Petersburg Times. "Kansas City Times wins 2 Pulitzer Prizes for reporting". Associated Press/United Press International, April 13, 1982, pp. 1-A, 12-A. Retrieved on May 25, 2013.
  4. "William S. McFeely". American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved December 14, 2019.
  5. Organization of American Historians. "Avery O. Craven Award Winners". Retrieved on May 25, 2013.

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