William Connolly
William Gerard Connolly

(1937-10-12)October 12, 1937
DiedDecember 12, 2023(2023-12-12) (aged 86)
Alma mater
OccupationCopy editor
Clair Connor
(m. 1964; died 2013)

William Gerard Connolly (October 12, 1937 – December 12, 2023) was an American newspaper editor who worked at The New York Times across four decades. He co-authored The New York Times Manual of Style and Usage[1] and was a member of the executive committee of the American Copy Editors Society.


Born in Scranton, Pennsylvania on October 12, 1937, William Gerard Connolly attended St. Paul's School, and graduated from the Scranton Preparatory School in 1955 and the University of Scranton in 1959, with a degree in philosophy and English.[2] Following his service in the U.S. Army (1959-1962), in 1963 he earned a master's degree from the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University.[3]


Connolly began his career at the The Minneapolis Tribune, The Houston Chronicle, and The Detroit Free Press as a reporter and editor. However, he spent most of his career at The New York Times. He joined the paper in 1966, working as a copy editor on the foreign news desk.[2] He later served as copy editor on the New York Times Magazine and assistant real estate editor. In 1975, he joined the national news staff.[3] He and Allan M. Siegal wrote several revisions of the newspaper's style guide.[2] In 1979, he left the Times to become managing editor of The Virginian-Pilot, but returned to New York within a few years.[2] He retired in 2001.[2]

Connolly was active in promoting racial and ethnic diversity in journalism and supporting student journalism and mentoring with the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education.[2] He lectured several times at the American Press Institute. From 1981 to 2001, he taught courses at the Maynard Institute's editing program, University of Arizona, and the University of California, Berkeley.[4] Connolly was president of the American Copy Editors Society's Education Fund from 2005 to 2010, and served on its board until 2023.[5]

Personal life and death

Connolly married Clair Connor in 1964; they had three children and were married until her death in 2013.[2] Connolly died at a rehabilitation facility in Maplewood, New Jersey, on December 12, 2023, from complications of a fall. He was 86.[2]


Connolly also wrote The New York Times Guide to Buying or Building a Home. From 1987 to 1989, he wrote "Winners & Sinners," a critique of a paper that was read by journalists, writers, and educators.[4]


  1. ^ Francis Flaherty (2010). Elements of story: field notes on nonfiction writing. San Francisco: Harper One. ISBN 978-0-06-168915-4. Retrieved February 10, 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Risen, Clay (December 14, 2023). "William G. Connolly, Editor Who Updated The Times, Dies at 86". The New York Times. Retrieved December 14, 2023.
  3. ^ a b "NY Times Editor U of S Speaker". Scranton tribune. September 20, 1978.
  4. ^ a b "William G. Connolly- Board of Directors- ACES Education Fund". American Copy Editors Society. Retrieved June 14, 2013.
  5. ^ "William G. "Bill" Connolly, founding ACES member and former ACES Education Fund president, has died". American Copy Editors Society. December 14, 2023. Retrieved December 15, 2023.