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In Memoriam

William L. O'Neill

William L. O’Neill, 80, distinguished professor of history emeritus who taught at Rutgers for 35 years, passed away on March 29, 2016, in New Brunswick. The cause was septic shock and pneumonia, according to news reports.

Funeral services were held on March 31, with interment at Elmwood Cemetery, New Brunswick.

A popular teacher and a prolific scholar, O’Neill taught courses on modern America as well as World War I and World War II. He was a founding member of the Academic Advisory Board of the Rutgers Oral History Archives. He received a senior fellowship from the National Endowment of the Humanities in 1979 and the Rutgers Board of Trustees Award for Excellence in Research in 1983. He is listed in Who’s Who in America and other directories.

Born and raised in Big Rapids, Michigan, O’Neill graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Michigan, then earned a doctorate in history at the University of California, Berkeley. After teaching at the universities of Pittsburgh, Colorado, and Wisconsin, he joined the Rutgers University–New Brunswick faculty in 1971, retiring in 2006.

An eminent social and political historian of modern America, O’Neill authored more than 12 books on such subjects as women, politics, and war in the United States in the 20th century. Among his most well-known books: Everyone Was Brave: A History of Feminism in America (1969); Coming Apart: An Informal History of America in the 1960’s (1971); The Last Romantic: A Life of Max Eastman (1978); A Better World: Stalinism and the American Intellectuals (1982); American High: The Years of Confidence, 1945–1960 (1986); and A Democracy at War: America’s Fight at Home and Abroad in World War II (1993).

His last book was A Bubble in Time: America during the Interwar Years, 1989–2001 (2009). He also authored textbooks, including World War II: A Student Companion, edited numerous books, and published many articles.

O’Neill is survived by his wife of 55 years, Elizabeth Carol; two children, Cassandra and Catherine; and two grandchildren.

Memorial donations may be made to a charity of your choice.

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