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From Martha Mitchell’s Encyclopedia Brunoniana:

Macdonald, William

William Macdonald (1863-1938), professor of history, was born in Providence on July 31, 1863. He received a bachelor of arts degree from Harvard in 1892 and an honorary Ph.D. degree from Union College in 1895. He was professor of history and economics at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 1892-93 and professor of history and political science at Bowdoin College from 1893 to 1901. He came to Brown in 1901 as professor of history and was named George L. Littlefield Professor of History in 1905. He was immensely popular with the students who called him “Billy Mac.” For several years he personally conducted courses of lectures on topics in American history for members of the community who subscribed five dollars. Later he taught courses in the extension school. He was on sabbatical leave in France in 1917 when he resigned his professorship and became a special foreign correspondent for The Nation in Europe. He was a lecturer on government at the University of California in 1917-18, associate editor of The Nation from 1918 to 1920, and later editorial writer for The Freeman, Commercial and Financial Chronicle and The Nation. From 1924 to 1926 he was visiting lecturer at Yale. His book, Three Centuries of American Democracy was described in a review as “a tale that makes history fascinating, summarizing with skill and balanced judgment the facts and formative influences that have brought our nation to its present development.” A reviewer called a later work, The Menace of Recovery (1934) “the most sizzling attack which the New Deal has yet received,” and had this to say, “Mr. Macdonald, who in long years of teaching acquired that accent of bland and monumental authority which only American professors and the leading writers of ‘The London Times’ and the Paris ‘Temps’ command, learned in his later years as a radical editor of ‘The Nation’ the rhetoric of denunciation. ... Mr. Macdonald has forgotten neither the art of invective nor the air of authority.” MacDonald died on December 15, 1938 in New York City.

The above entry appears in Encyclopedia Brunoniana by Martha Mitchell, copyright 1993 by the Brown University Library. It is used here by permission of the author and the University and may not be copied or further distributed without permission.

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