In Memoriam: William Sachs Goldman, Berkeley History Alumnus

William Sachs Goldman, a gifted political historian of the Spanish Empire who earned his Ph.D. in the Berkeley history department in 2009, was tragically killed in a plane accident on July 13 in Sonoma, California.

A graduate of Yale University, Bill arrived at Berkeley in 2002 and immediately established himself as an eloquent and insightful voice in graduate seminars and a gregarious and jovial presence in Dwinelle Hall. Quickly moving through his course work and exams, Bill did his first major research during a year in the archives of Simancas, Spain. That led to an accomplished dissertation filed in 2009 entitled “The political culture of empire: the Spanish Council of State and foreign policy under Philip III, 1598-1621.”

Named a teaching fellow at Stanford University the following year, Bill then won a fellowship to pursue research at the UCLA Center for 17th and 18th Century Studies. In 2011 he published his first article in the William and Mary Quarterly on the theme of Spanish foreign policy and the foundation of Jamestown. It demonstrated his wide range of interests and rising presence in the field of Atlantic World Studies. From UCLA Bill moved to the University of San Francisco where he took up his first teaching position as an assistant professor in the International Relations Program. He was a superb teacher who won the appreciation of his colleagues and affection of his students.

Bill had also recently published a book chapter entitled “Viewing Spain through darkened eyes: anti-Spanish rhetoric and Charles Conwallis’s mission to Spain, 1605-1609,” in the volume Representing Rivalry in the Early Modern Mediterranean, edts. Barbara Fuchs and Emily Weissbourd (Toronto: Toronto University Press, 2015). He was at work on the revision of his dissertation into a book when he was prematurely lost to us at the age of 38. His wife Serra, and children George and Marie survive him together with his brother, sister and mother.

Image of Bill Goldman courtesy of the University of San Francisco