Painter was born in New York City; after the Taft School he attended Yale University (AB 1925; PhD 1930). He wrote many influential books. His doctoral thesis was later published as "William Marshal: Knight-Errant, Baron, and Regent of England", and was supervised by Professor Sydney K. Mitchell at Yale University.
- William Marshal: Knight-Errant, Baron, and Regent of England
- A History of the Middle Ages: 284-1500. Later published as Western Europe in the Middle Ages 300-1475 co-authored by Brian Tierney.
- French Chivalry: Chivalric Ideas and Practices in Mediaeval France
- Feudalism and Liberty: Articles and Addresses
- The Scourge of the Clergy: Peter of Dreux, Duke of Brittany
- The Reign of King John
- Mediaeval Society
- The Rise of the Feudal Monarchies
- Who Was Who in America With World Notables (Marquis-Who's Who, 1960), p. 661.
- Painter, Sidney (1933). William Marshall: Knight-Errant, Baron and Regent of England. Baltimore, Maryland: Johns Hopkins Press. pp. viii.
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