Stegner, Wallace, 1909-1993.

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1909-02-18
Death 1993-04-13
Americans
English

Biographical notes:

Recorded in Stegner's home.

From the description of Interview by John Milton : cassette audio tape, June 20, 1969. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122398049

Robert Pepper taught in the English Department at San Jose State University.

From the description of Typed letter signed to Robert D. Pepper, 1982 Apr. 11. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 83291245

Mormon school teacher and author.

From the description of Letter, 1979. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 145435433

From the guide to the Wallace Earle Stenger letter, 1979, (L. Tom Perry Special Collections)

Wallace Stegner (1909-1993) was an American historian, fiction writer, and environmentalist. He was born in Iowa but grew up in Montana, Utah and Saskatchewan. He received his bachelor's degree from the University of Utah in 1930, then went on to teach at the University of Wisconsin and Harvard University before founding the creative writing program at Stanford University, where his students included Sandra Day O'Connor, Ken Kesey, and Larry McMurtry. Stegner won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1972 for Angle of Repose and the National Book Award for The Spectator Bird in 1977. He was the father of nature writer Page Stegner.

From the description of Wallace Stegner letter, 1970. (University of North Carolina at Greensboro, University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 429910418

Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner Wallace Stegner reads eight of his essays. His prose paints a vivid portrait of the American landscape and conveys his belief that our natural surroundings have a profound effect on who we are.

From the description of A sense of place : 4 beta video recordings, 1988, with related Audio Press publication of 2 sound cassettes, 1989. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 754865090

Wallace Earle Stegner was born in Lake Mills, Iowa, February 18, 1909. A prize winning novelist and author also of articles and short stories, Stegner has been a professor of English at Stanford University since 1945.

From the description of Wallace Stegner papers, 1961-1965. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122510703

From the description of Wallace Stegner papers, 1842-1990. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122510444

Stegner was on the editorial board of the journal.

From the description of File kept on the origins of the journal PACIFIC SPECTATOR, 1946-1950. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122354372

English professor and author.

From the description of Papers of Wallace Stegner, [ca. 1937-1954]. (University of Iowa Libraries). WorldCat record id: 233105067

American novelist.

From the description of Wallace Earle Stegner miscellaneous papers, 1914-1950. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 754868892

American author. Head of the Creative Writing Program at Stanford for many years. The Creative Writing Center was founded in 1946 and was the second degree granting program (after Iowa) in the country.

From the description of Creative Writing Program : correspondence and manuscripts, 1949-1992. (Stanford University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 122384420

Stegner was responsible for helping set up the charter goals of the Committee for Green Foothills, a conservation group in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, California.

From the description of 20-20 Vision; in celebration of the peninsula hills : ephemeral publication of the Committee for Green Foothills, 1982. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122289415

Wallace Earle Stegner is an author.

From the description of Papers, 1868-1879, relating to John Wesley Powell and the Colorado River. (American Philosophical Society Library). WorldCat record id: 122540094

Wallace Stegner was born in Lake Mills, Iowa, February 18, 1909. A prize winning novelist and author also of articles and short stories, Stegner has been a professor of English at Stanford University since 1945.

From the description of Wallace Stegner conservation collection, 1956-1974. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 462018795

Stegner, in an effort to promote good relations and literary exchanges between Asia and the United States, visited the Far East. With funding provided by the Rockefeller Foundation, he and his wife visited India, Japan, the Phillipines and Thailand between November 1950 and February 1951. After returning to Stanford, Stegner set up an informal literary agency devoted to placing Asian writings in U.S. publications.

From the description of Wallace Stegner papers concerning the Asian-American Literary Exchange, 1949-1954. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122387744

Mormon school teacher and author in California.

From the description of Letter, 1955. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122637868

From the guide to the Wallace Earle Stegner letter, 1955, (L. Tom Perry Special Collections)

Biographical Note

American author. Head of the Creative Writing Program at Stanford for many years. The Creative Writing Center was founded in 1946 and was the second degree granting program (after Iowa) in the country.

From the guide to the Wallace Earle Stegner Creative Writing Program : correspondence and manuscripts, 1949-1992, (Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.)

Biography

Wallace Earle Stegner was born in Lake Mills, Iowa, February 18, 1909. A prize winning novelist and author also of articles and short stories, Stegner has been a professor of English at Stanford University since 1945.

From the guide to the Wallace Earle Stegner Papers, 1961-1965, (Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.)

Biographical Note

Wallace Earle Stegner was born in Lake Mills, Iowa, February 18, 1909. A prize winning novelist and author also of articles and short stories, Stegner has been a professor of English at Stanford University since 1945.

From the guide to the Wallace Earle Stegner conservation collection, 1956-1974, (Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.)

Biographical/Historical Note

American novelist.

From the guide to the Wallace Earle Stegner miscellaneous papers, 1914-1950, (Hoover Institution Archives)

Wallace Earle Stegner (1909-1993) was born on 18 February 1909, in Lake Mills, Iowa, the second son of Hilda Emelia Paulson and George Henry Stegner. He described his father as a man with the frontier characteristics of the late nineteenth century--a "boomer" who moved his wife and two sons from Iowa to North Dakota, Washington, Saskatchewan, Montana, Wyoming, and in 1921, to Salt Lake City, Utah, always seeking fresh opportunities for quick financial success. Even in Salt Lake City, the family moved within the city several times. His mother, Stegner realized, was a "nester" who struggled to make a home for her husband and sons wherever they settled.

The years of moving kept the family close. Cecil, the eldest son, was athletic and active in team sports. Wallace was less so but participation in sports programs sponsored by the Mormon Church and ROTC training provided the focus and discipline for developing that aspect of himself and he played on the Freshman football team at the University of Utah. More importantly, he developed skill in tennis with then-coach, Theron S. Parmelee, and was a member of the University tennis team in 1929.

Stegner graduated from the University of Utah in 1930. He had been working for a local rug and linoleum company and it was his expectation that he would continue doing so. However, Sherman Brown Neff, head of the English Department, arranged a teaching assistantship at the University of Iowa enabling Stegner to do graduate work and to begin a different career direction.

Stegner received his master's degree from the University of Iowa in 1932 and planned to work toward a Ph.D. when his mother's struggle with cancer became critical. At that time his parents were living in Los Angeles, California. Stegner spent some time in Berkeley to be closer and to help with her care. Upon his return to Iowa, he completed the work on his Ph.D. which he received in 1934. On 1 September 1 1934, he married fellow student Mary Stuart Page. They moved to Salt Lake City where Stegner began teaching in the English Department at the University of Utah.

Their son, Stuart Page Stegner, was born in 1937. That same year Stegner won a Little, Brown and Company contest with his novelette, Remembering Laughter . Using the prize money, the Stegners traveled in France and England before moving to Madison, Wisconsin, where he had accepted a teaching position. Some of his Wisconsin experiences were later fictionalized in Crossing to Safety .

After two years in Madison, Stegner joined the faculty at Harvard University. During this period Stegner developed a friendship with Bernard DeVoto, which grew over the years, culminating in Stegner's writing a biography of DeVoto and editing a volume of DeVoto's letters. While at Harvard, Stegner completed The Big Rock Candy Mountain, which was published in 1945. Other books published during this time were On a Darkling Plain, 1940; Fire and Ice, 1941; and Mormon Country, 1942.

In 1945, the Stegners again moved west, this time to California. Stegner was offered a professorship in the English Department at Stanford University. He served as director of the Creative Writing Center from 1946 to 1971. Edward Abbey, Thomas McGuane, and Scott Momaday were writing fellows in this program. Other students he worked with included Larry McMurtry, Wendell Berry, Nancy Packer, Ken Kesey, and his son, Page Stegner.

After the Stegners moved to California they served as West-Coast editors for the publishing house of Houghton Mifflin in the 1940s and 1950s. Among the writers they recommended for publication was Stegner's cousin, Tom Heggen, author of Mister Roberts .

During the 1950s and early 1960s, the Stegners traveled extensively. During this time Wallace wrote a number of articles and produced the origins of novels to come. Wallace gave a number of lectures and taught for three months each at Stanford's overseas campuses in Austria and in England. In 1955, Wallace and Mary traveled to Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, and Syria where he worked on the history of the Arabian-American Oil Company, ARAMCO. Stegner wrote several articles for Aramco World, an industry publication. Later, in 1971, this material was published in book form under the title, Discovery .

Wallace Stegner's abilities as an editor led him to accept a number of responsibilities such as editor-at-large for Saturday Review and editor of The American West .

Fiction written by Stegner during the Stanford years included Second Growth, 1947; The Women on the Wall (a short story collection), 1950; The Preacher and the Slave, 1950 (reprinted in 1969 as Joe Hill: A Biographical Novel ); The City of the Living (a short story collection), 1956; A Shooting Star, 1961; All the Little Live Things, 1967; and Angle of Repose, 1971.

Non-fiction written and published during the period included Beyond the Hundredth Meridian: John Wesley Powell and the Second Opening of the West, 1954; Wolf Willow: A History, A Story, and a Memory of the Last Plains Frontier, 1962; The Gathering of Zion: The Story of the Mormon Trail, 1964; and The Sound of Mountain Water (an essay collection), 1969.

Stegner retired from Stanford in 1971 to devote his time to writing and traveling. He had been thinking about the DeVoto biography for some time. This was published in 1974 as The Uneasy Chair, and was followed by The Letters of Bernard DeVoto in 1975. Also published following his retirement were The Spectator Bird, 1976; Recapitulation, 1979; American Places, written with Page Stegner, 1981; One Way to Spell Man, a volume of essays, 1982; Crossing to Safety, 1987; and Where the Bluebird Sings to the Lemonade Springs, 1992.

The Stegners established two homes, a Vermont summer place and a home in Los Altos, California. Despite extensive travel, the homes provided Stegner with what he felt he had missed in his youth--a place that meant familiar work, friends, and landscape. These two locales and the Salt Lake City environs which he considered his hometown, are part of his writing, serving as background in novels and as visuals in his environmental efforts.

As he grew up in the arid regions of the West, Stegner developed a keen awareness of the fragility of the land. In his biographical research of Charles Dutton and later John Wesley Powell, he saw the western landscape as being fundamentally characterized by the scarcity of water resources. Stegner's concern found expression in activism directed at education of the public in the realities of living with the arid climate of the land west of the hundredth meridian. He felt other environmental problems would occur as multi-purpose land use increased. He wrote eloquently about these concerns in his letter to David E. Personen in 1960, now known globally as "The Geography of Hope: A Wilderness Letter." He served as wilderness advocate for the National Park Service, the Sierra Club, and the Wilderness Society. Some of the positions he held to address these concerns were: Co-Founder, Committee for Green Foothills in California, 1960; Special Assistant to Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall, 1961; and Advisory Board, National Parks, Historical Sites, Buildings and Monuments, 1962-1965.

In addition to the prize for Remembering Laughter in 1937, Stegner received numerous other awards, among them an O. Henry first prize for short story in 1950, the Blackhawk award for Wolf Willow in 1963, the Commonwealth Club gold medal for All the Little Live Things in 1968, the Pulitzer Prize for Angle of Repose in 1972, and the National Book award for The Spectator Bird in 1977. He was a Guggenheim fellow in 1950, 1952, and 1960; received a Rockefeller grant in 1950-1951; Fulbright in 1962 and 1968; and the Robert Kirsch award in 1980. Where the Bluebird Sings to the Lemonade Springs was nominated for the 1993 National Book Critics Circle award. Stegner refused the National Medal for the Arts which he was to have received in January of 1993 because he was "troubled by the political controls" he felt right wing groups placed on the National Endowment for the Arts.

Always a popular speaker, Stegner gave a number of speeches in Utah throughout the years. He gave the Dedicatory Address for the J. Willard Marriott Library at the University of Utah in 1968. He was the speaker at the Friends of the Library annual banquet in 1974. In 1980 Stegner gave a lecture titled "The Twilight of Self Reliance: Frontier Values and Contemporary Values" in the Tanner Lecture Series. He spoke at the Dedication of the Scott M. Matheson Wetlands Preserve, Moab, Utah, in 1991. In recognition of his close ties with Utah and his alma mater, Stegner designated Special Collections at the J. Willard Marriott Library, as repository for his papers in 197l. In 1995 the Stegner family granted permission to the University of Utah College of Law to rename its energy law center the Wallace Stegner Center for Land, Resources and the Environment.

In the spring of 1993, Wallace and Mary Stegner were in Sante Fe, New Mexico, to talk about his latest book, Where the Bluebird Sings to the Lemonade Springs . Stegner was seriously injured when the car he was driving was hit by another vehicle. He was hospitalized and seemed to rally, but after a relapse he died on April 13.

From the guide to the Wallace Earle Stegner papers, 1935-2004, (J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah)

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  • California (as recorded)
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  • California (as recorded)
  • Jackson Hole (Wyo.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • Utah (as recorded)
  • West (U.S.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
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