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William Sebald papers

 Collection 0131-MDHC

Lawyer William Sebald practiced law in Japan and Washington, D.C., and joined the Navy Combat Intelligence Group during World War II. He later represented the United States on the Allied Council. His papers consist of correspondence and galley proofs and manuscripts for his book With MacArthur in Japan.


  • 1965

Use and Access to Collection

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies or digital surrogates may be provided in accordance with Special Collections and University Archives duplication policy.

Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs unless otherwise specified. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission to publish materials from the appropriate copyright holder.

Archival materials may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws or other regulations. While we make a good faith effort to identify and remove such materials, some may be missed during our processing. If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.


0.25 Linear Feet

Scope and Contents

The William Sebald papers consists of two letters concerning the publication of his book, With MacArthur in Japan, the original holographic manuscript for chapters 7 to 14, and the complete galley proofs for this book. All materials have been combined into one series.

Biographical / Historical

William J. Sebald was born in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1901. He was graduated from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis in 1922. His first exposure to Japanese culture came in 1925 when he was chosen for an officer’s language program in Kobe, Japan. There he met Edith France deBecker, the daughter of a prominent English attorney and a Japanese mother; they were married in 1927. In 1933 Sebald was graduated from the University of Maryland Law School and he returned to Japan in order to practice law in the firm of his father-in-law and brother-in-law. He returned to the United States in 1939 and worked for the Office of Naval Intelligence throughout the war. In 1946, Sebald joined the foreign service to become the top political advisor in the Allied Occupation of Japan under General Douglas MacArthur. After leaving Japan in 1952, Sebald served as Ambassador to Burma from 1952 to 1954 and then as Ambassador to Australia from 1957 to 1961. He retired in 1961 and died in 1980. In addition to having translated and published several of the legal codes of Japan in the 1940’s, Sebald also wrote several books including With MacArthur in Japan: A Personal History of the Occupation, published by W. W. Norton in 1965; Japan: Prospects, Options, and Opportunities; and an unpublished manuscript entitled Burma Diary.


This collection has been arranged as one series.

Series 1
With MacArthur in Japan correspondence and drafts

Custodial History

Full information on the provenance of this collection is lacking at the present time. It is likely that the collection was donated to the University of Maryland by Sebald in 1972.

Processing Information

The contents of the collection have been placed in acid free folders.

Guide to the William Sebald papers
Processed by unknown staff member.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742