Garry Wills (born May 22, 1934) is an American author, journalist, and historian, specializing in American history, politics, and religion, especially the history of the Catholic Church. He won a Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction in 1993.
Wills has written nearly forty books and, since 1973, has been a frequent reviewer for The New York Review of Books. He became a faculty member of the history department at Northwestern University in 1980, where he is currently an Emeritus Professor of History.
Wills at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library in 2015
|Born||May 22, 1934|
Atlanta, Georgia, US
|Occupation||Author, journalist, historian|
|Residence||Evanston, Illinois, US|
|Subject||American politics and political history, the Roman Catholic Church|
Natalie Cavallo (m. 1959)
Wills was born on May 22, 1934, in Atlanta, Georgia. His father, Jack Wills, was from a Protestant background, and his mother was from an Irish Catholic family. He was reared as Catholic and grew up in Michigan and Wisconsin, graduating in 1951 from Campion High School, a Jesuit institution in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. He entered and then left the Society of Jesus.
Wills earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Saint Louis University in 1957 and a Master of Arts degree from Xavier University in 1958, both in philosophy. William F. Buckley Jr. hired him as a drama critic for National Review magazine at the age of 23. He received a Doctor of Philosophy degree in classics from Yale University in 1961. He taught history at Johns Hopkins University from 1962 to 1980.
A trained classicist, Wills is proficient in Ancient Greek and Latin. His home in Evanston, Illinois, is "filled with books", with a converted bedroom dedicated to English literature, another containing Latin literature and books on American political thought, one hallway full of books on economics and religion, "including four shelves on St. Augustine", and another with shelves of Greek literature and philosophy.
Wills describes himself as a Roman Catholic and, with the exception of a period of doubt during his seminary years, has been a Roman Catholic all his life. He continues to attend Mass at the Sheil Catholic Center in Northwestern University. He prays the rosary every day, and wrote a book about the devotion (The Rosary: Prayer Comes Around) in 2005.
Wills has also been a critic of many aspects of church history and church teaching since at least the early 1960s. He has been particularly critical of the doctrine of papal infallibility; the social teaching of the church regarding homosexuality, abortion, contraception, and the Eucharist; and of the church's reaction to the sex abuse scandal.
In 1961, in a phone conversation with William F. Buckley Jr., Wills coined the famous macaronic phrase Mater si, magistra no (literally "mother yes, teacher no"). The phrase, which was a response to the papal encyclical Mater et magistra and a reference to the then-current anti-Castro slogan "Cuba sí, Castro no", signifies a devotion to the faith and tradition of the church combined with a skeptical attitude towards ecclesiastical authority.
Wills published a full-length analysis of the contemporary Catholic Church, Bare Ruined Choirs, in 1972 and a full-scale criticism of the historical and contemporary church, Papal Sin: Structures of Deceit, in 2000. He followed up the latter with a sequel, Why I Am a Catholic (2002), as well as with the books What Jesus Meant (2006), What Paul Meant (2006), and What the Gospels Meant (2008).
Wills began his career as an early protégé of William F. Buckley Jr. and was associated with conservatism. When he first became involved with National Review he did not know if he was a conservative, calling himself a distributist. Later on, he was self-admittedly conservative, being regarded for a time as the "token conservative" for the National Catholic Reporter and writing a book entitled Confessions of a Conservative.
However, during the 1960s and 1970s, driven by his coverage of both civil rights and the anti-Vietnam War movements, Wills became increasingly liberal. His biography of president Richard M. Nixon, Nixon Agonistes (1970) landed him on the master list of Nixon political opponents. He supported Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election, but declared two years later that Obama's presidency had been a "terrible disappointment". 
In 1995, Wills wrote an article about the Second Amendment for The New York Review of Books. It was originally entitled "Why We Have No Right to Bear Arms", but that was not Wills's conclusion. He neither wrote the title nor approved it prior to the article's publication. Instead, Wills argued that the Second Amendment refers to the right to keep and bear arms in a military context only, rather than justifying private ownership and use of guns. Furthermore, he said the military context did not entail the right of individuals to overthrow the government of the United States:
The Standard Model finds, squirrelled away in the Second Amendment, not only a private right to own guns for any purpose but a public right to oppose with arms the government of the United States. It grounds this claim in the right of insurrection, which clearly does exist whenever tyranny exists. Yet the right to overthrow the government is not given by government. It arises when government no longer has any authority. One cannot say one rebels by right of that nonexistent authority. Modern militias say the government itself instructs them to overthrow government – and wacky scholars endorse this view. They think the Constitution is so deranged a document that it brands as the greatest crime a war upon itself (in Article III: 'Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying war against them...') and then instructs its citizens to take this up (in the Second Amendment). According to this doctrine, a well-regulated group is meant to overthrow its own regulator, and a soldier swearing to obey orders is disqualified from true militia virtue.
The New York Times literary critic John Leonard said in 1970 that Wills "reads like a combination of H. L. Mencken, John Locke and Albert Camus." The Roman Catholic journalist John L. Allen Jr. considers Wills to be "perhaps the most distinguished Catholic intellectual in America over the last 50 years" (as of 2008). Martin Gardner in "The Strange Case of Garry Wills" states there is a "mystery and strangeness that hovers like a gray fog over everything Wills has written about his faith".
Wills ... did not know whether he was a conservative (he called himself a 'distributionist')
'I had no knowledge of the misleading cover title "Why We Have No Right to Bear Arms" before I read with dismay the printed issue. Of course the Amendment states a right that "we" do possess – but we possess it, as the Amendment itself says, in a "well-regulated militia."
The United States presidential election of 1800 was the fourth United States presidential election. It was held from Friday, October 31 to Wednesday, December 3, 1800. In what is sometimes referred to as the "Revolution of 1800", Vice President Thomas Jefferson of the Democratic-Republican Party defeated incumbent President John Adams of the Federalist Party. The election was a realigning election that ushered in a generation of Democratic-Republican rule.
Adams had narrowly defeated Jefferson in the 1796 election. Under the rules of the electoral system that were in place prior to the 1804 ratification of the 12th Amendment, each member of the Electoral College cast two votes, with no distinction made between electoral votes for president and electoral votes for vice president. As Jefferson received the second-most votes in 1796, he was elected vice president. In 1800, unlike in 1796, both parties formally nominated tickets. The Democratic-Republicans nominated a ticket consisting of Jefferson and Aaron Burr, while the Federalists nominated a ticket consisting of Adams and Charles Pinckney. Each party formed a plan in which one of their respective electors would vote for a third candidate or abstain so that their preferred presidential candidate (Adams for the Federalists and Jefferson for the Democratic-Republicans) would win one more vote than the party's other nominee.The chief political issues revolved around the fallout from the French Revolution and the Quasi-War. The Federalists favored a strong central government and close relations with Great Britain. The Democratic-Republicans favored decentralization to the state governments, and the party attacked the taxes imposed by the Federalists. The Democratic-Republicans also denounced the Alien and Sedition Acts, which the Federalists had passed to make it harder for immigrants to become citizens and to restrict statements critical of the federal government. While the Democratic-Republicans were well organized at the state and local levels, the Federalists were disorganized and suffered a bitter split between their two major leaders, President Adams and Alexander Hamilton. According to historian John Ferling, the jockeying for electoral votes, regional divisions, and the propaganda smear campaigns created by both parties made the election recognizably modern.At the end of a long and bitter campaign, Jefferson and Burr each won 73 electoral votes, Adams won 65 electoral votes, and Pinckney won 64 electoral votes. The Federalists swept New England, the Democratic-Republicans dominated the South, and the parties split the Mid-Atlantic states of New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. The Democratic-Republicans' failure to execute their plan to award Jefferson one more vote than Burr resulted in a tie, which necessitated a contingent election in the House of Representatives. Under the terms laid out in the Constitution, the outgoing House of Representatives chose between Jefferson and Burr. Each state delegation cast one vote, and a victory in the contingent election required one candidate to win a majority of the state delegations. Neither Burr nor Jefferson were able to win on the first 35 ballots of the contingent election, as most Federalist Congressmen backed Burr and all Democratic-Republican Congressmen backed Jefferson. Hamilton personally favored Jefferson over Burr, and he convinced several Federalists to switch their support to Jefferson, giving Jefferson a victory on the 36th ballot of the contingent election. The result of this election was affected by the three-fifths clause of the United States Constitution; historians such as Garry Wills have noted that had slaves not been counted for the purposes of congressional apportionment, Adams would have won the electoral vote.Arming America
Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture is a discredited 2000 book by historian Michael A. Bellesiles about American gun culture, an expansion of a 1996 article he published in the Journal of American History. Bellesiles, then a professor at Emory University, used fabricated research to argue that during the early period of US history, guns were uncommon during peacetime and that a culture of gun ownership did not arise until the mid-nineteenth century.
Although the book was initially awarded the prestigious Bancroft Prize, it later became the first work for which the prize was rescinded following a decision of Columbia University's Board of Trustees that Bellesiles had "violated basic norms of scholarship and the high standards expected of Bancroft Prize winners."Garry Wills bibliography
List of works by or about Garry Wills, American historian and journalist.
Wills, Garry (1961). Chesterton : man and mask. New York: Sheed & Ward.
Animals of the Bible (1962)
Politics and Catholic Freedom (1964)
Roman Culture: Weapons and the Man (1966), ISBN 0-8076-0367-8
The Second Civil War: Arming for Armageddon (1968)
Jack Ruby (1968), ISBN 0-306-80564-2
Nixon Agonistes: The Crisis of the Self-made Man (1970, 1979), ISBN 0-451-61750-9
Bare Ruined Choirs: Doubt, Prophecy, and Radical Religion (1972), ISBN 0-385-08970-8
Values Americans Live By (1973), ISBN 0-405-04166-7
Inventing America: Jefferson's Declaration of Independence (1978), ISBN 0-385-08976-7
Confessions of a Conservative (1979), ISBN 0-385-08977-5
At Button's (1979), ISBN 0-8362-6108-9
Explaining America: The Federalist (1981), ISBN 0-385-14689-2
The Kennedy Imprisonment: A Meditation on Power (1982), ISBN 0-316-94385-1
Lead Time: A Journalist's Education (1983), ISBN 0-385-17695-3
Cincinnatus: George Washington and the Enlightenment (1984), ISBN 0-385-17562-0
Reagan's America: Innocents at Home (1987), ISBN 0-385-18286-4
Under God: Religion and American Politics (1990), ISBN 0-671-65705-4
Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words That Remade America (1992), ISBN 0-671-76956-1
Certain Trumpets: The Call of Leaders (1994), ISBN 0-671-65702-X
Witches and Jesuits: Shakespeare's Macbeth (1995), ISBN 0-19-508879-4
John Wayne's America: The Politics of Celebrity (1997), ISBN 0-684-80823-4
— (July 1997). "Dostoyevsky behind a camera : Oliver Stone is making great American novels on film". Movies. The Atlantic Monthly. 280 (1): 96–101.
Saint Augustine (1999), ISBN 0-670-88610-6
Saint Augustine's Childhood (2001), ISBN 0-670-03001-5
Saint Augustine's Memory (2002), ISBN 0-670-03127-5
Saint Augustine's Sin (2003), ISBN 0-670-03241-7
Saint Augustine's Conversion (2004), ISBN 0-670-03352-9
A Necessary Evil: A History of American Distrust of Government (1999), ISBN 0-684-84489-3
Papal Sin: Structures of Deceit (2000), ISBN 0-385-49410-6
Venice: Lion City: The Religion of Empire (2001), ISBN 0-684-87190-4
Why I Am a Catholic (2002), ISBN 0-618-13429-8
Mr. Jefferson's University (2002), ISBN 0-7922-6531-9
James Madison (2002), ISBN 0-8050-6905-4
Negro President: Jefferson and the Slave Power (2003), ISBN 0-618-34398-9
Henry Adams and the Making of America (2005), ISBN 0-618-13430-1
The Rosary: Prayer Comes Round (2005), ISBN 0-670-03449-5
What Jesus Meant (2006), ISBN 0-670-03496-7
What Paul Meant (2006), ISBN 0-670-03793-1
Bush's Fringe Government (2006), ISBN 978-1590172100
Head and Heart: American Christianities (2007), ISBN 978-1-59420-146-2
What the Gospels Meant (2008), ISBN 0-670-01871-6
Bomb Power (2010), ISBN 978-1-59420-240-7
Outside Looking In: Adventures of an Observer (2010), ISBN 978-0-670-02214-4
Augustine's 'Confessions': A Biography (2011), ISBN 978-0691143576
Verdi's Shakespeare: Men of the Theater (2011), ISBN 978-0670023042
Rome and Rhetoric: Shakespeare's Julius Caesar (2011), ISBN 978-0300152180
Font of Life: Ambrose, Augustine, and the Mystery of Baptism (2012), ISBN 978-0199768516
Why Priests? (2013), ISBN 978-0670024872
The Future of the Catholic Church with Pope Francis (March 2015), ISBN 978-0525426967
What The Qur'an Meant and Why It Matters (2017), ISBN 978-1-101-98102-3Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities
The Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (IASH, University of Edinburgh) was founded in 1969 at the University of Edinburgh, for visiting fellows to engage in study and research in the arts, humanities and social sciences. The current Director (since 2017) is Steve Yearley. Other Directors have included David Daiches, Susan Manning and Jo Shaw.Since 1969, IASH has received visits from over 1,300 fellows. Up to 25 Fellows are in residence at any one time, and visits last between two months and ten months. Each year IASH hosts the University of Edinburgh's annual Fulbright-Scotland Visiting Professorship. Notable former Fellows include Marianne Boruch, William C. Dowling, Sébastien Fath, Ruth Barcan Marcus, Edward Mendelson, Garry Wills, and Charles W.J. Withers.
IASH hosts or organises over 100 events per year.The IASH Advisory Board includes Sir Michael Atiyah, Rosi Braidotti and Allan Little. It is chaired by Dorothy Miell.
IASH's premises are located in Hope Park Square off Meadow Lane in Edinburgh.Lincoln at Gettysburg
Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words That Remade America written by Garry Wills and published by Simon & Schuster in 1992, won the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction and the 1992 National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism.The book uses Lincoln's notably short speech at Gettysburg to examine his rhetoric overall. In particular, Wills compares Lincoln's speech to Edward Everett's delivered on the same day, focusing on the influences of the Greek revival in the United States and 19th century transcendentalist thought. Wills also argues that Lincoln's speech draws from his interpretation of the U.S. Constitution; Lincoln considered the Declaration of Independence the first founding document and therefore, looked to its emphasis on equality (changing Locke's phrase "Life, Liberty, and Property" to "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness") in issuing the Emancipation Proclamation.Mater si, magistra no
Mater si, magistra no (literally "Mother yes, teacher no") is a macaronic phrase that means Catholics need not follow all the teachings of the Catholic Church, particularly in regard to economic justice or the rights of workers. It was originally in direct response to the papal encyclical Mater et Magistra of 1961, as a reference to the then-current anti-Castro slogan, "Cuba sí, Castro no."The original use was focused on the Church's 1960s teachings on social policy but Roman Catholic publications such as the New Oxford Review and the National Catholic Reporter have described it as a slogan for "'pick-and-choose Catholicism" or for those who have a "deep love for the faith and tradition, coupled with skepticism about ecclesiastical authority and its claims to special wisdom."The phrase is often attributed to William F. Buckley, Jr; although it was first published in Buckley's National Review, the phrase was actually coined by Garry Wills during a telephone conversation with Buckley.Mount Auburn Cemetery
Mount Auburn Cemetery is the first rural, or garden, cemetery in the United States, located on the line between Cambridge and Watertown in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, 4 miles (6.4 km) west of Boston. It is the burial site of many prominent members of the Boston Brahmins, as well being a National Historic Landmark.
Dedicated in 1831 and set with classical monuments in a rolling landscaped terrain, it marked a distinct break with Colonial-era burying grounds and church-affiliated graveyards. The appearance of this type of landscape coincides with the rising popularity of the term "cemetery," derived from the Greek for "a sleeping place," instead of graveyard. This language and outlook eclipsed the previous harsh view of death and the afterlife embodied by old graveyards and church burial plots.The 174-acre (70 ha) cemetery is important both for its historical aspects and for its role as an arboretum. It is Watertown's largest contiguous open space and extends into Cambridge to the east, adjacent to the Cambridge City Cemetery and Sand Banks Cemetery. It was designated a National Historic Landmark District in 2003 for its pioneering role in 19th-century cemetery development.National Review
National Review (NR) is an American semi-monthly editorial magazine focusing on news and commentary pieces on political, social, and cultural affairs. The magazine was founded by the author William F. Buckley Jr. in 1955. It is currently edited by Rich Lowry.
Since its founding, the magazine has played a significant role in the development of conservatism in the United States, helping to define its boundaries and promoting fusionism while establishing itself as a leading voice on the American right.The online version, National Review Online, is edited by Charles C. W. Cooke and includes free content and articles separate from the print edition.National War College
The National War College (NWC) of the United States is a school in the National Defense University. It is housed in Roosevelt Hall on Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C., the third-oldest Army post still active.Oxymoron
An oxymoron (usual plural oxymorons, more rarely oxymora) is a rhetorical device that uses an ostensible self-contradiction to illustrate a rhetorical point or to reveal a paradox.
A more general meaning of "contradiction in terms" (not necessarily for rhetoric effect) is recorded by the OED for 1902..
The term is first recorded as latinized Greek oxymōrum, in Maurus Servius Honoratus (c. AD 400); it is derived from the Greek ὀξύς oksús "sharp, keen, pointed" and μωρός mōros "dull, stupid, foolish"; as it were, "sharp-dull", "keenly stupid", or "pointedly foolish". The word oxymoron is autological, i.e. it is itself an example of an oxymoron. The Greek compound word ὀξύμωρον oksýmōron, which would correspond to the Latin formation, does not seem to appear in any known Ancient Greek works prior to the formation of the Latin term.Pericles' Funeral Oration
Pericles' Funeral Oration is a famous speech from Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War. The speech was delivered by Pericles, an eminent Athenian politician, at the end of the first year of the Peloponnesian War (431–404 BC) as a part of the annual public funeral for the war dead.Profiles in Courage
Profiles in Courage is a 1957 Pulitzer Prize-winning volume of short biographies describing acts of bravery and integrity by eight United States Senators. The book profiles senators who defied the opinions of their party and constituents to do what they felt was right and suffered severe criticism and losses in popularity because of their actions. It begins with a quote from Edmund Burke on the courage of the English statesman Charles James Fox, in his 1783 attack upon the tyranny of the East India Company in the House of Commons.The book focuses intensely on mid-19th-century antebellum America and the efforts of senators to delay the American Civil War. Profiles was widely celebrated and became a best seller.
John F. Kennedy is credited as the author.Savannah Book Festival
The Savannah Book Festival is a literary festival held each February in Savannah, Georgia, that features authors and educational events. The Savannah Book Festival has featured best-selling authors Stephen King, James Patterson and David Baldacci, Pulitzer Prize-winners Garry Wills, Geraldine Brooks and Isabel Wilkerson, National Book Award winner Ben Fountain, and Nobel Prize laureate Al Gore.St. Louis Literary Award
The St. Louis Literary Award has been presented yearly since 1967 to a distinguished figure in literature. It is sponsored by the Saint Louis University Library Associates.The History of the United States of America 1801–1817
The History of the United States of America 1801 – 1817, also known as The History of the United States During the Administrations of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, is a 9-volume history written by American intellectual Henry Adams, and first published between 1889 and 1891. The entire work has been reprinted many times, most often in a 2-volume format. Historian Garry Wills has described it as "the greatest prose masterpiece of non-fiction in America in the 19th century."The first six chapters of the first volume have also been published separately as America in 1800.Under God (book)
Under God (book) may refer to:
Under God is a book by Garry Wills that looks at why church and state will never be separate in America. Wills uses the issues and characters of Campaign '88 as the fulcrum for a lively look at the ways religion influences the politics of "the most religious country in the developed world".
Under God, Garry Wills, ISBN 0-671-65705-4, 1990Under God is a collection of inspirational stories, many historical and with a Christian perspective, by Toby McKeehan and Michael Tait of the Christian rock group dc Talk, published in 2004. It was compiled by LeAnna Willis and produced with assistance from the Christian organization WallBuilders. Through its stories, it argues that Christianity is a cornerstone element in the history of American politics and society.
Under God, Bethany House, ISBN 0-7642-0008-9, 2004There was a sequel published soon after called Living Under God. It followed basically the same format.Wigwag (magazine)
Wigwag was an American magazine published from 1988 until 1991.
Founded by Alexander "Lex" Kaplen, who worked at The New Yorker, Wigwag eschewed celebrity coverage in favor of personal and literary writing. A test issue was put on newsstands in the summer of 1988, and the magazine formally debuted in October 1989. The magazine attracted writers such as Peter Matthiessen, Terry McMillan, Garry Wills, Alex Heard, Sousa Jamba and Nancy Franklin, but despite a circulation of 120,000, and despite being financially successful, ceased publication when the Gulf War broke out in 1991 and the economy entered a recession. It published its last issue in February 1991. In its brief lifetime it reached a circulation of close to 200,000 and became a brand name signifying family-feeling and an appreciation of the qualities of non-metropolitan America.The legend of Wigwag's founding by a group of young exiles from The New Yorker – an exodus which followed The New Yorker's acquisition by Conde Nast and Conde Nast's subsequent dismissal of The New Yorker's longtime editor William Shawn – attracted an enormous amount of attention to its launch and early publication. Once launched, it quickly became a success d'estime, and critics often called it the "Anti-Spy" – in reference to the funny, cruel and cynical New York magazine of that name. Many saw the two magazines as rivals for media attention – neither survived the 1991 recession (although Spy lingered on in a brief afterlife). Contemporary observers thought that the "parent ship," The New Yorker itself, then edited by Robert Gottlieb, also saw itself as threatened by Wigwag during Wigwag's lifetime. Wigwag proposed a kind of counter-reality to the sophistication which magazines like The New Yorker and Spy aspired to – offering, instead of The New Yorker's famed "Talk of the Town" section, its own titled opening section, "Letters from Home."
Notable staffers at Wigwag include Nancy Holyoke, who went on (with the help of Harriet Brown, another Wigwag editor, now a professor at the S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications) to found American Girl magazine at Pleasant Company in Wisconsin, Caroline Fraser, the author of a noted history of the Christian Science Church, and Evan Cornog, now dean of the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication at Hofstra University. One of the most significant contributors to Wigwag's identity was its art director, the illustrator and designer Paul Davis. Many have observed that Wigwag's editorial and design innovations under Kaplen and Davis were later adopted by Tina Brown and implemented at The New Yorker when she became its editor.Wills
Wills is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:
Alfred Wills (1828–1912), English High Court judge and mountaineer
Andrew Wills (b. 1972), Australian rules footballer
Anneke Wills (b. 1941), British actress
Arthur Wills (musician) (born 1926), English musician, composer and professor
Arthur Walters Wills (1868–1948), English politician, MP for North Dorset
Bob Wills (1905–1975), American Western swing musician
Bump Wills (b. 1952), American Major League baseball player
Childe Wills (1878–1940), an early associate of Henry Ford, one of the first Ford Motor Company employees and a contributor to the design of the Model T
Chill Wills (1902–1978), American actor and singer
Chris Wills (b. 1978), British gameshow Countdown champion
Christopher Wills, American biologist
David Wills (disambiguation)
Ernest C. Wills, American college baseball coach
Frank Wills (architect) (1822–1857), British architect
Frank Wills (baseball) (1958–2012), Major League Baseball pitcher
Frank Wills (security guard) (1948–2000), security guard that discovered the break-in that led to the Watergate scandal
Frederick Wills (disambiguation)
Garry Wills (b. 1934), American author and historian
George Alfred Wills (1854–1928), President of Imperial Tobacco
Harry Wills (1889–1958), American boxer
Helen Wills Moody (1905–1998), American tennis player
Henry Wills (disambiguation)
Horatio Wills (1811-1861), Australian pastoralist and politician, father of Tom Wills
James Wills (1790–1868), Irish writer and poet
John Wills (disambiguation)
Jonathan Wills (journalist), British journalist
Jonathon W. G. Wills, Scottish journalist
Josh Wills, member of the American band Story of the Year
Kevin Wills (b. 1980), English footballer
Lucy Wills (1888–1964), English haematologist
Marcus Wills (b. 1972), Australian artist
Mark Wills (b. 1973), American country music artist
Mary Wills (1914-1997), American film costume designer
Maury Wills (b. 1932), American Major League baseball player
Michael Wills (b. 1952), English politician
Richard Wills (politician) (born 1945), American politician
Richard J. Wills Jr (born 1942), a retired bishop of the United Methodist Church
Rick Wills (born 1947), British rock musician
Robbie Wills (b. 1968) American politician, Arkansas Speaker of the House (2009-2010)
Robert Wills, Church of Ireland Archdeacon of Cloyne from 1889 until 1919
Royal Barry Wills (1895–1962), American architect
Simon Wills (racing driver) (b. 1976), New Zealand racing driver
Ted Wills (b. 1934), American Major League baseball player
Tom Wills (1835–1880), Australian sportsman
Thomas Wills (disambiguation), a list of people named Thomas or Tom Wills
William Wills (disambiguation)
Wills (baseball), a Major League Baseball player (first name unknown) in 1884