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The Stafford and Claire Letters includes one newspaper clipping, an invitation, two thank-you cards, and five letters of correspondence between William Stafford and William Clair regarding the publication of an interview between Claire, Stafford, and Primus St. John that would be featured in the National Literary Magazine’s book, The Voyage.

William Stafford was born in Hutchinson, Kansas in 1914 to Earl and Ruby Stafford. During the Great Depression he held a variety of jobs including work in beet fields, an oil refinery, and plowing. He received his B.A. from the University of Kansas in 1937. During World War II, he was drafted into the military while finishing his masters degree (University of Kansas), which led him to declare himself a conscientious objector. He was allowed to perform alternative service for several years. After the war, he married Dorothy Frantz, and completed his M.A. in 1946. In 1947, he was recruited by Morgan Ordell, the president of Lewis & Clark College. In 1954, he earned his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. In 1962, Stafford published his first book, Traveling through the Dark, which won the National Book Award. In 1964, he was awarded the Poetry Society of America’s most prestigious award, the Shelly Memorial Award. In 1970 he was named the Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress (today’s Poet Laureate). During his life, Stafford published over 50 collections of poetry and today is considered a major American poet. William Stafford died on August 28, 1993.

William Claire was born in 1935 in North Hampton, Massachusetts and is a graduate of the Deerfield Academy, Georgetown University, and Columbia University. After serving in the military, Claire moved to Washington D.C. where he was the chief editor for the National Literary Magazine from 1967 until 1973, winning five national awards as well as a National Endowment for Arts award. Afterwards, he became a poet and an essayist, getting published in The American Scholar and The New York Times. He received a Yaddo fellowship, a McDowell fellowship, and a Rockefeller Foundation grant winner.

Publication Date



Fine Arts, Languages and Literature, Social Life and Customs


Arts and Humanities | Education

Size of Collection

.25 linear feet

Dates of Collection


Manuscript Number

SpC MS 0326

Stafford and Claire Correspondence, 1969-1978



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