R. Hal Williams (1941-2016) earned his bachelor’s degree in history from Princeton University Phi Beta Kappa in 1963 and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Yale University in 1964 and 1968, respectively. He was named one of Yale’s 10 Best Teachers in 1973 and 1974 before assuming a position at Southern Methodist university in 1975. There, he was professor of history, chaired the history department, and served as dean of Dedman College before becoming dean of research and graduate studies. A recipient of many awards from SMU, including the "M" Award, the university's highest honor for service to the university, he retired in 2011.
William's books included The Democratic Party and California Politics, 1880–1896; Years of Decision: American Politics in the 1890s; Realigning America: McKinley, Bryan and the Remarkable Election of 1896; and The Manhattan Project: A Documentary Introduction to the Atomic Age.