Meet Author William R. Cross

Bill Cross believes that all people – children, women and men – need stories. A well-told tale of someone else’s life helps us make better sense of our own lives. Bill’s focus is on the lives of women and men who have shaped our culture. Their stories are also the stories of their times and their work, which frames their lives. These stories nudge us to ask: What do you see? How do you see? What do you not see? Why?

Cross’s first biography, Winslow Homer: American Passage, was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in April 2022. He is now working on a second biography, of the design impresario Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933).  Farrar, Straus and Giroux has contracted to publish that book as well.  Bill also served as Curator of the 2019 exhibition Homer at the Beach: A Marine Painter’s Journey 1869-1880 (Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, Massachusetts). That show, and Bill’s accompanying 200-page catalogue, revealed Homer’s formation as a marine painter. In a full-page review, Lance Esplund of The Wall Street Journal described the exhibition as “handsome, historically rich and perfectly positioned.” Sebastian Smee of The Washington Post praised the exhibition’s “intimate, textured sense” and its “excellent catalogue.”

Winslow Homer and Louis Tiffany are both examples of Americans whose work is known, but whose lives have not been known.  Homer’s pictures cast a wide and deep appeal – yet few facts were known of the life of the man behind the art – until Bill’s biography was released. The story of Homer’s life illuminates the stories embedded in his art – and the stories of our own times.  Homer’s art and life relate closely to the struggles of today. As people of all races, ages and places look together at our shared visual heritage, we may find new ways to understand one another – and ourselves.

Cross is Chair of the Advisory Board for the Yale Center for Faith and Culture, and President of Citizens’ Initiative for Manchester Affordable Housing (dba Citizens by the Sea). For more than three decades he managed investment teams and investment portfolios, while also writing, researching and lecturing on art, faith and history. A Chartered Financial Analyst, he was a Scholar of the House at Yale College, from which he graduated magna cum laude. He also earned an MBA from Harvard Business School. He and his wife live in Manchester, Massachusetts, twenty-five miles east and north of Boston.

William R. Cross is available for book readings and speaking engagements. Contact him to learn more.
Author William R. Cross
See author William R. Cross interviewed about Winslow Homer on PBS
Bill Cross PBS Interview on Winslow Homer
See author William R. Cross interviewed about the exhibition, “Homer at the Beach: A Marine Painter’s Journey, 1869-1880,” at the Cape Ann Museum on WCVB5
William R. Cross on WCVB

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