William S. McFeely (1930-2019) was an American historian and the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Grant: A Biography (W. W. Norton, 1981). He was also the Lincoln Prize-winning author of Frederick Douglass (W. W. Norton, 1991) and several other biographies, including Sapelo’s People: A Long Walk into Freedom (W. W. Norton, 1994); Yankee Stepfather: General O. O. Howard and the Freedmen (W. W. Norton, 1983); and Portrait: The Life of Thomas Eakins (W. W. Norton, 2006).
In addition to his published works, McFeely was a longtime teacher of history. A graduate of Amherst College and holding a PhD in American Studies from Yale, where he studied under C. Vann Woodward, Mcfeely taught at Yale and then Mount Holyoke college before joining the history department of the University of Georgia, where, as the Abraham Baldwin Professor of the Humanities, he taught until his retirement in 1997. He is best known for his contributions reevaluating the Reconstruction era and for advancing the field of African American history.