Seaver, professor emeritus of history in Stanford’s School of Humanities and Sciences, focused on two major areas in his research: religion and radicalism in the period from 1558 to 1649, and the growth of London and the development of urban culture and society.
Seaver joined Stanford’s Department of History in 1964, and over the years he and Peter Stansky, the Frances and Charles Field Professor of History, Emeritus, built one of the strongest British history programs in the country.
Seaver was born in Philadelphia and moved to a dairy farm outside the city with his family, who were members of the Quaker Society of Friends, when he was 10 years old. After beginning his first year at Haverford College, he served six and a half months of time in prison as a conscientious objector, refusing to register for the draft for the Korean War.
He went on to complete his bachelor’s at Haverford and his master’s and doctoral degrees at Harvard University. He taught at Reed College for two years before joining the faculty at Stanford.