David S. Wyman was born in Weymouth, Massachusetts, in 1929, the grandson of two Protestant ministers. He graduated from Boston University with an A.B. in history and from Harvard University with a Ph.D. in history. At Harvard, his studies were assisted by a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship.
From 1966 until his retirement in 1991 he taught at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he was the Josiah DuBois professor of history and was twice chairman of the Judaic studies program. He has also worked as a parts shipper, a milkman, a printer, and a sixth-grade and high school teacher.
Professor Wyman holds honorary doctoral degrees from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion and from Yeshiva University.
He is the author of Paper Walls: America and the Refugee Crisis, 1938-1941 (University of Massachusetts Press, 1968); The Abandonment of the Jews: America and the Holocaust, 1941-1945 (Pantheon, 1984); A Race Against Death: Peter Bergson, America, and the Holocaust (with Rafael Medoff; The New Press, 2000; editor of America and the Holocaust (thirteen volumes of the documents used in The Abandonment of the Jews, published by Garland in 1990); and editor of The World Reacts to the Holocaust (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996).