Seward was born in Lancaster. His first education was at Lancaster Grammar School and he then went on to St John's College, Cambridge, intending to fulfil parents' wish that he would dedicate his life to the Church. His boyhood interest in botany and zoology soon resurfaced, helped along by inspiring lectures from William Crawford Williamson. His aptitude soon became apparent and he was appointed lecturer in botany at Cambridge University in 1890, later becoming a tutor at Emmanuel, and still later succeeding Harry Marshall Ward as Professor of Botany, Cambridge University from 1906 to 1936. He was joint editor (with Francis Darwin) of More letters of Charles Darwin (1903). He was elected as fellow of the Royal Society in 1898 and was awarded the Murchison Medal of the Geological Society of London in 1908. In 1931 Seward dismissed the notion of a biological origin of stromatolites. This rejection became known as "Seward's folly".
Seward's studies of Mesozoic palaeobotany earned him membership of the Royal Society at the youthful age of thirty-five. He devoted a great deal of time to education, both as college and departmental administrator, and as writer on educational matters. This botanist is denoted by the author abbreviation Seward when citing a botanical name.
Seward died in Oxford, aged 77.
- 1885-86 First class honours at Cambridge University
- 1886 Embarks on a career in palaeobotany
- 1890-1906 Lecturer in botany at Cambridge
- 1892 Sedgwick Prize for essay Fossil Plants as Tests of Climate
- 1894-95 Publication of "The Wealden Flora", 2 vols
- 1898 Fellow of the Royal Society of London
- 1898-1919 Publication of "Fossil Plants", 4 vols
- 1900-1904 Publication of "The Jurassic Flora", 2 vols
- 1906-36 Professor of botany at Cambridge
- 1908 Murchison Medal of the Geological Society of London
- 1909 Publication of "Darwin and Modern Science" - Essays edited by A. C. Seward
- 1915-36 Master of Downing College, Cambridge
- 1922-24 President of the Geological Society of London
- 1924-26 Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge
- 1925 Royal Medal of the Royal Society
- 1930 President of the Fifth International Botanical Congress
- 1930 Wollaston Medal of the Geological Society
- 1931 President of the International Union of Biological Sciences
- 1931 Publication of "Plant Life Through the Ages"
- 1934 Darwin Medal of the Royal Society
- 1936 Knighthood conferred
- 1939 President of the British Association for the Advancement of Science 
- Thomas, H. H. (1941). "Albert Charles Seward. 1863-1941". Obituary Notices of Fellows of the Royal Society. 3 (10): 867–880. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1941.0039.
- "Seward, Albert Charles (SWRT883AC)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
- JSTOR obituary
- Junto Society Archived 2008-05-11 at the Wayback Machine
- Brummitt, R. K.; C. E. Powell (1992). Authors of Plant Names. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. ISBN 1-84246-085-4.
- Seward, A.C. (1935). "The Foliage, Flowers and Fruit of Southwell Chapter House" (PDF). Proceedings of the Cambridge Antiquarian Society. 35: 1–32.
- "Review of Fossil Plants as Tests of Climate by A. C. Seward". The Academy. 44 (1105): 34. 8 July 1893.
- Seward, Albert Charles, The Wealden Flora: Catalogue of the mesozoic plants in the departement of geology British Museum (Natural History), London British Museum 1894 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-03-26. Retrieved 2012-03-26.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Western Kentucky University
- Amazon Books
- IPNI. Seward.