He grew up in Rye, N.Y. and in 1951 graduated from Vermont Academy where he played hockey, was captain of the tennis team, and vice president of the student council. In 1988 he was awarded Vermont Academy’s Florence R. Sabin Distinguished Alumni Award.
Archibald graduated from Dartmouth College, with distinction in English, in 1955. He was a member of the tennis team and president of his fraternity, Delta Tau Delta. He campaigned to remove the national fraternity’s membership discrimination stipulations; that failing, he worked to remove the Dartmouth chapter from the national organization. That did not work either until a few years later and the fraternity is now an unaffiliated local, Bones Gate.
After college Archibald spent three years in the Air Force as a photo-radar intelligence officer, stationed in South Carolina and various Tactical Air Command outposts. In 1959 he began graduate studies at The University of Michigan as a Woodrow Wilson fellow and completed his work with a series of teaching fellowships. In 1965 he won the Clarence D. Thorpe dissertation prize. He taught English at Cornell 1963-73 where he founded and directed the College Scholar program, was involved in other educational experiments, and worked steadily in opposition to the war in Vietnam, supporting and advising students who resisted the draft. He helped to manage THE GLAD DAY PRESS, one of New York’s important anti-war publishers.
In 1973 Archibald moved to Colby College, where he taught until his retirement in 2004. At Colby he was chairman of the English Department for eight years, Dean of the Faculty for six, curator of the Healy Collection of Modern Irish literature for four, and editor of the COLBY QUARTERLY until his retirement. He taught the full range of English courses with upper level concentrations in Irish Studies and Eighteenth Century British Literature, the areas of his major publications: books on the painter John Butler Yeats  his son the poet William Butler Yeats , and essays on Jonathan Swift, Edmund Burke, literary influence and literary history. He is coeditor of W.B. Yeats’s AUTOBIOGRAPHIES , volume III of THE COLLECTED WORKS.
Archibald is survived by his sister Jean Douglas Archibald and her five children, his beloved wife of 26 years, Debra Campbell, emeritus Professor of Religious Studies at Colby; his first wife Marie Thurber Carleton; and five children, Nathan Douglas Archibald and his wife Asa Ersgard Archibald, Jennifer Archibald Williams and her husband Stanton North Williams, Michael Archibald and his wife Katherine Vigna Archibald, Timothy Archibald and his wife Heidi Ann Archibald Galen Archibald and his wife Heather Welte Archibald; and 19 grandchildren.