William Stafford (1914-1993) was one of the most prolific and important American poets of the last half of the twentieth century. Among his many credentials, Stafford served as consultant in poetry at the Library of Congress, and received the National Book Award for his poetry collection Traveling through the Dark (1963). During his lifetime, Stafford wrote over sixty books of poetry that still resonate with both scholars and general readers. Stafford’s perspectives on peace, the environment, and education serve as some of the most articulate and engaging dialogues by a modern American writer about three of the most important issues of the second half of the twentieth century with lasting impacts on future generations. Howard Zinn, one America’s most iconic modern historians, was keenly aware of Stafford’s insight into modern American culture. Zinn claimed, “William Stafford’s prose and poetry, wise and eloquent, speak directly to the violence of our time, and to our hope for a different world” (from cover of Every War Has Two Losers).
The William Stafford Archives, donated to Lewis & Clark College by the Stafford family in 2008, contain the private papers, publications, photographs, recordings, and teaching materials of the poet William Stafford. The Lewis & Clark College Special Collections actively add to this collection by acquiring unique Stafford related materials.
Stafford wrote every day of his life from 1950 to 1993. These 20,000 pages of daily writings form a complete record of the poet’s mostly early morning meditations, including poem drafts, dream records, aphorisms, and other visits to the unconscious, recorded on separate sheets of yellow or white paper or when traveling, often in spiral-bound reporters’ steno pads. The archive also includes typescripts of poems submitted for publication and for use in readings. Stafford listed where he submitted each poem, and whether it was accepted for publication on the typescript. Each of his published collections, large and small, is represented by its gathering of documentary copies (typescripts), called by Stafford a “put-together.” Unpublished poems, poems published in journals, and reading copies of published poems were also gathered, in a virtually complete record from 1937 to 1993, totaling about 7,000 items. The collection also includes copies of all known Stafford books and translations. Stafford saved correspondence received, with an indication of the date of reply, and sometimes a copy of the reply, from the early 1960s to August 1993. Estimated at 100,000 sheets, the collected correspondence contains some full exchanges of correspondence initiated by WS. One such exchange is the correspondence with Marvin Bell on their sequence Segues. In addition to many photographs of and relating to William Stafford, the archive includes an estimated 20,000 photographs and negatives taken and developed by Stafford of fellow poets, family, friends, and Lewis & Clark College faculty. The archive provides documentation of Stafford's teaching career, including more than one thousand index cards, some dating from research at Iowa, others from later. These were much used in preparing for classes, workshops, and lectures. The files also contain scattered notes for workshops and lectures. The archive also includes course syllabi, and faculty documents relating to Stafford's teaching years at Lewis & Clark College.
The Stafford Archives includes personal manuscripts, typescripts, correspondence, photographic negatives and prints, audio and video recordings, publications, teaching materials, artifacts, calendars, and materials relating to Stafford's life as a pacifist.
Restrictions on Access :
This collection has no restrictions and is open for research.Restrictions on Use :
Permission to publish, exhibit, broadcast, or quote from materials in the Watzek Library Archives & Special Collections requires written permission of the Head of Archives & Special Collections.Preferred Citation :
The William Stafford Archives, Lewis & Clark College Aubrey Watzek Library Archives & Special Collections, Portland, Oregon.
This collection is arranged into 11 series: 1) Drafts; 2) Professional Engagements; 3) Correspondence; 4) Photographs; 5) Audio/Video; 6) Teaching Materials; 7) Ephemera; 8) Publications; 9) Pacifism Materials; 10) Artifacts; 11) Stafford Archives Administrative Files.
Custodial History :
Donated to Lewis & Clark College by the Estate of William Stafford.Processing Note :
Processing of this collection began in 1995, and is ongoing. The collection has been housed in acid-free enclosures, and arrangement details can be found with each series description.Bibliography :
The primary biography of William Stafford is Early Morning: Remembering My Father, William Stafford.St. Paul: Graywolf Press, 2002.
The best current bibliography of Stafford's writings can be found in William Stafford: A Bibliography. by James Pirie (Oak Knoll Press, 2013).
Lewis and Clark College Special Collections also owns the papers of some of Stafford's colleagues including Vi Gale, Vern Rutsala, and Paulann Petersen. The College also holds the following collections related to William Stafford: the Wixon/Markee Video collection featuring extensive footage of Stafford reading poetry; a Stafford Memorabilia collection assembled by Dorothy Stafford; a collection of correspondence between Kenneth Johnson and William Stafford; and a number of collections related to pacifism and World War II Civilian Public Service camps.
Detailed Description of the Collection
The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.
67 boxes ( 32 cubic feet)
Includes handwritten and typed drafts.
Arranged in 6 sub-series: 1) Daily Writings; 2) Travel Journals; 3) Documentary Copies; 4) Prose; 5) Writings for Public Presentations; 6) Stafford's Translations of Other Authors.
7 boxes ( 3 cubic feet)
Includes materials documenting Stafford's professional engagements related to poetry.
Arranged in 2 sub-series: 1) Appointment Books; 2) Promotional Materials and Conference Programs.
Includes all of Stafford's incoming correspondence and some carbon copies of outgoing correspondence.
Arranged in 3 sub-series: 1) General Correspondence; 2) Correspondence with Publishers; 3) Civilian Public Service Correspondence; 4) Manuscripts Sent to William Stafford by Other Authors; 5) Condolence Letters.
13 boxes ( 8 cubic feet)
Includes negatives and photographic prints.
Arranged in 4 sub-series: 1) Negatives of Photographs by William Stafford; 2) Prints of Photographs by William Stafford; 3) Stafford Family Photographs; 4) Photographs of William Stafford.
7.3 cubic feet ( 14 boxes)
Includes video recordings, audio recordings, and musical settings.
Arranged in 4 sub-series: 1) Video Footage of William Stafford; 2) Audio Recordings of William Stafford; 3) Musical Settings to William Stafford Poetry; 4) Audio and Video Recordings of Others Reading Stafford's Poems.
3 boxes ( 1.5 cubic feet)
Includes course syllabi and teaching notecards.
Arranged in 2 sub-series: 1) Syllabi and Handouts; 2) Teaching Notecards.
3,100 items (approx.)
Includes books, periodicals, and broadsides featuring Stafford's writings and criticism about Stafford. The James Pirie Bibliography of Stafford serves as an itemized index to the materials in this series.
Arranged in the following sub-series: 1) Books by Stafford in English; 2) Books with Contributions by Stafford; 3) Serial Publications Featuring Stafford; 4) Broadsides Featuring Stafford; 5) Translations of Stafford's Writings; 6) Criticism of Stafford; 7) One-of-a-Kind Art Books.
1.5 cubic feet ( 3 boxes)
Includes serial publications and books collected by Stafford related to Pacifism, and subject files assembled by the William Stafford Archives that inclues research materials related to the Civilian Public Service program and Stafford's experiences as a conscientious objector.
Arranged in the following sub-series: 1) Pacifism Publications; 2) Civilian Public Service Subject Files.
2 boxes ( 1 cubic foot)
Includes biographical materials about William Stafford
Arranged in two sub-series: 1) Clippings; 2) General Biographical.
10 cubic feet
Includes subject files about William Stafford and the William Stafford Archives assembled by the Stafford archivist.
Arranged in a single topical series.
This collection is indexed under the following headings in the online catalog. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings.