Dr. William Seale, whose contributions to the programs and publications of the White House Historical Association for more than forty years were instrumental in shaping the Association’s study and dissemination of White House history, passed away on November 21, 2019, following a long illness. His unique approach to the study of history through biography, architecture, landscape, and cultural context expanded the public’s understanding of the American past and ensured that dozens of historic sites were preserved and interpreted for the future. By emphasizing the human stories of public places, Seale made history accessible and enjoyable not only to scholars but to general audiences, and he inspired support for historic preservation across the nation. He is survived by his wife of more than fifty years, Lucinda Smith Seale, two sons and their wives—William III and Julie Seale and John Henry and Katherine Seale all of Dallas, Texas—four grandchildren, Parker, Charlotte, Henry, and Ellender, and a sister, Eugenia Seale Myers, of Rush Springs, Oklahoma. He is predeceased by his parents, William and Eugenia (Broocks) Seale and a brother, Jackson Broocks Osborne all of Beaumont, Texas.
Trained as a historian, William Seale received his PhD from Duke University and began his career teaching at Lamar University, the University of Houston, the University of South Carolina, and Columbia University. After briefly serving as curator of cultural history at the Smithsonian Institution in the early 1970s, Seale worked independently, focusing his research and writing on the White House and the restoration of historic American buildings and state capitols.