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George Edwin Starbuck Papers

Identifier: RG99.0075

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Scope and Contents

This collection contains the correspondence of George Starbuck during his tenure as Director of the Iowa Writers Workshop, 1967-1971, and some earlier and later official workshop correspondence. The folder labels tend to be very specific and many contain only a few items. The folders are in a single alphabetical arrangement.


  • Creation: 1966 - 1971


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.

Biographical / Historical

George Edwin Starbuck was born June 15, 1931 in Columbus, Ohio, and grew up in Illinois and California. He was twice married and had five children. He served in the Army Military Police Corps in California and Germany, 1952-1954.

Starbuck's education includes: California Institute of Technology, 1947-1949, University of California at Berkeley, 1950-1951, and he earned a B.A. at the University of Chicago in 1957, after which he attended Harvard University for one semester. He held a Guggenheim Fellowship from 1961 to 1962, and was a fellow in residence at the American Academy in Rome (Prix de Rome of the American Academy of Arts and Letters), 1961-1963. Starbuck began publishing his poetry in 1955 in such noteable magazines as Harper's, New Yorker, Yale Review, Paris Review, and North American Review. He authored four books of poetry: Bone Thoughts (1960), White Paper (1966), Elegy in a Country Church (1975), and The Argot Merchant Disaster (1982).

Starbuck was a lecturer in Boston and New York before working in that same capacity at the University of Iowa in 1964. Starbuck's grandfather, Edwin Diller Starbuck, was a faculty member of the University of Iowa's Department of Philosophy from 1906-1930. At Iowa, George Starbuck became Assistant Professor of English in 1966, and Associate professor in 1967. He served as Director of the University of Iowa Writer's Workshop from September 1, 1967 until May 26, 1971, succeeding Paul Engle, who resigned in 1966 in order to direct the International Writing Program at Iowa. Starbuck left Iowa to head the graduate writing program at Boston University, a position he held for twenty years.

George Starbuck developed Parkinson's Disease in 1974, and died at his home in Tuscaloosa, Alabama on August 15, 1996.


3.00 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



University of Iowa professor of English and director, Iowa Writers

Method of Acquisition

These papers were transferred to the University of Iowa Libraries by the University of Iowa Writers Workshop in the early 1970s.

Related Materials

Records of the Iowa Writers' Workshop (RG06.0012.008)

The Papers of Lewis Turco (MsC0537) contains references to George Starbuck. John Leggett succeeded Starbuck as Workshop director, and the Papers of John Leggett (MsC0503) contain correspondence from George Starbuck.

The Organizations and Clubs Vertical Files collection of the University Archives contains two folders relating to Students for a Democratic Society, for which correspondence is found below under 'S'. Other clubs listed below, such as Asian Society, are also found in the Organizations and Clubs Vertical Files.

Faculty members for whom correspondence is listed below may also have a file in the Faculty and Staff Vertical Files. This applies to George E. Starbuck, Willard Boyd, Kurt Vonnegut, Seymour Krim, Paul Engle, John C. Gerber, and Clay Harshbarger, among others.

The Special Collections Department holds individual collections for the following correspondence entries listed below: Jose Donoso papers (MsC0340), Papers of Paul Engle (MsC0514), Papers of John C. Gerber (RG99.0062), and International Writing Program (RG06.0012.009).

Further material regarding Black Sparrow Press may be found in our Private Press Ephemera Collection. Additional information about Windhover Press, also listed in correspondence below, may be found in the University of Iowa collection, Records of the Yellow Barn Press (MsC0487), as well as in Books at Iowa, November 1976, and the University of Iowa Center for the Book Web page.

Earl M. Rogers, 1975
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Iowa Archives Repository

100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242