William Bolling Whiteside, Bowdoin’s Frank Munsey Professor of History Emeritus and an honorary member of the Bowdoin College Alumni Association, died on November 25, 2007, in Yarmouth, Maine.
Born on October 17, 1921, in Cincinnati, Ohio, he spent his childhood in Evanston, Ill., graduating from Evanston Township High School. He graduated magna cum laude and as a member of Phi Beta Kappa from Amherst College in 1943. He served in the U.S. Army Air Forces from 1943 to 1946 during World War II, attaining the rank of first lieutenant. He received his A.M. degree in history from Harvard University in 1947 and his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1952. Before coming to Bowdoin, he was an instructor in history at Amherst College for two years. During the summer of 1952, he was a visiting assistant professor of history at Stetson University in Deland, Fla. He joined the history department at Bowdoin in 1952, became an associate professor in 1960, professor in 1966, and Frank Munsey Professor of History in 1969. He was the first director of the Senior Center Program at the College, a position that he held from 1962 to 1971. He was the 1977 recipient of the Bowdoin Alumni Council’s Award for Faculty and Staff, the citation for which read, in part, “As friend, a teacher of American history, and a gentleman, you have earned the respect and warm regard of many hundreds of students at Bowdoin.” He drew on his broad and deep understanding of American history and international relations in expressing his opposition to the Vietnam conflict. In 1988, he was the recipient of the first Gordon S. Hargraves ’19 Preservation of Freedom Fund Prize at Bowdoin, which recognized Professor Whiteside’s many contributions to “the understanding and advancement of human freedoms and the duty of the individual to protect and strengthen those freedoms at all times.” In 1978-79, he held a Fulbright appointment in Taiwan, where he taught at Tamkang College and Fu Jen Catholic University in Taipei. On a second Fulbright in 1982-83, he taught American history at Beijing University in China, as one of only three Americans selected under the program. He retired from teaching at Bowdoin in 1989 but continued to seek new understandings of history and world affairs. He had a third Fulbright in 1991 at the University of Sichuan in Chengdu, China. In his retirement, he and his wife, Susan, operated Tower Hill Bed & Breakfast on Orr’s Island, where he shared informal seminar conversations with guests, many of whom were former students.Throughout his life, he had a love of music; he sang with the Amherst College Glee Club as an undergraduate and with the Harvard Glee Club as a graduate student (including performances with the Boston Symphony under the direction of Sergei Koussevitzky). Both of his sons are professional musicians, which was a source of great pride and joy to him. He was predeceased by his first wife,Virginia (Sandin) Whiteside, whom he married in 1944. He is survived by his second wife, the former Susan Rupert-George, whom he married in 1991; two sons, John Whiteside (married to Ann Whiteside) of Boston, Mass., and David S.Whiteside ’72 (married to Larisa Rudenko ’76) of Falls Church,Va.; and two grandchildren.