Fonds MsC-99 - George Stanley fonds

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Title proper

George Stanley fonds

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  • Textual records
  • Photographic materials
  • Sound recordings

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on provenance of the fonds.

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Reference code


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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • 1957-2011 (Creation)
    Stanley, George Anthony

Physical description area

Physical description

2.68 m of textual records
60 photographs
2 audio cassettes

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Archival description area

Name of creator

(1934 -)

Biographical history

George Anthony Stanley was born in 1934, in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco. He came from a middle-class Irish Catholic family. Stanley attended St. Ignatius High School, a Jesuit run school. In 1951, Stanley received a scholarship to attend The University of San Francisco, but was dissatisfied with what it had to offer and left after only one year. In 1952, Stanley began studying at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, and attended until 1953. By 1953, Stanley was back in San Francisco, at which time he enlisted in the US Army, serving in a non-combat capacity until 1956.

In 1956 he enrolled at the University of California, Berkeley and remained there until 1957. In 1957, Stanley was introduced to Jack Spicer at the bar The Place and showed him one of his poems. Spicer liked the poem, and asked Stanley to join the Magic Workshop. Stanley was a member of the Jack Spicer Circle until 1965. The circle grew out of the Berkley Renaissance movement, the leading members being Spicer, Robert Duncan, and Robin Blaser. In May 1960, Stanley hitchhiked to New York. At this time he had poems published in small circulation publications such as J (San Francisco, 1958-1959), Floating Bear (New York, 1960), and Open Space (San Francisco, 1964). In 1963, White Rabbit published Stanley’s chapbook Tête Rouge/Pony Express Riders and later Flowers in 1965.

In 1967, Stanley resumed his university education, receiving his Bachelor's degree from San Francisco State University in 1969. In 1968, Beyond Love was published by Open Space/Dariel Press. In 1971 Stanley completed a Master of Arts at San Francisco State University, with a focus on creative writing. For the thesis component of his Master of Arts he wrote Feeling Out: Poems and Stories. Stanley moved to Vancouver in 1971 and became associated with The Grape underground newspaper, 1971-1972, and New Star Books, 1973-1974. In 1974, You (poems 1957-67) was published by New Star Books. Also in 1974, Talon Books published The Stick: Poems 1969-73.

In 1976 Stanley moved to Terrace, British Columbia, to take a job as instructor in the English Department of Northwest Community College, which he held until 1991. During this time many of his chapbooks were published, including Mountains & Air (Red Queen, 1978), Temporarily (Tatlow/Gorse, 1986), and San Franciso’s Gone (1989). A full-length book Opening Day (Oolichan Books, 1983) was also published.

In 1992, Stanley returned to Vancouver, and took a teaching position at Capilano College in North Vancouver. In 1995, New Star Books published Gentle Northern Summer, and At Andy’s in 2000. After 2002, he was a board member of the Capilano Press Society, publisher of the Capilano Review. In 2003, Stanley retired from Capilano College after working there for eleven years, and A Tall Serious Girl, a book of selected poems, was published by Qua Books. More recent publications include Seniors (Nomados, 2006), Vancouver: a poem (New Star, 2008), and After Desire (New Star, 2013). In 2006, Stanley was the recipient of the Shelley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America.

Stanley currently lives in Vancouver and continues to write poetry.

Custodial history

Fonds was held by George Stanley until custody was transferred to Special Collections and Rare Books at Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia. The original accession of the George Stanley fonds was received in August 2007. The first accrual to the fonds was received in two parts, the first in October 2009 and the second in October 2011.

Scope and content

Fonds illustrates George Stanley’s work as a poet in San Francisco, New York, Vancouver, and Terrace, spanning from the late 1950s to the present. Fonds also documents Stanley’s interactions with the broader literary scenes, including publishers and other writers. Fonds is divided into seven series: Correspondence (1967-2007), George Stanley poems and other writings (1957-2011), Works of other writers ([ca.1957]-2011), Literary events and publication (1972-2011), Personal documents (1972-1990), Photographs of George Stanley and associates (1964-1983).

Records in the fonds include: correspondence, loose leaf and bound typescripts, manuscripts, notebooks, chapbooks, sound recordings, personal journals, published materials, financial records, and photographs.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Fonds was received directly from George Stanley.


Records in the accrual were rearranged significantly during processing. Such rearrangement was done in cases where the received order of the records was not deemed to be significant. Records in the original accession were largely rearranged alphabetically based on name of correspondent or title of work, and chronologically within the file.

In both the original accession and the accrual, files that did not have a title were assigned a title based on their contents. Additionally, unclear titles were elaborated with additional information. Both assigned titles and elaborations to a title are indicated by the use of square brackets.

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Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Reproduction of material is for research purposes only and is subject to approval by SFU Special Collections and Rare Books staff.

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Generated finding aid

Associated materials

George Stanley’s annotated copy of Four Realities: Poets of Northern BC, was taken out of the accrual and given the SFU Library catalogue number PR 9058 F695 1992 (c.3), Special Collections.
Related groups of records held at SFU Special Collections and Rare Books include: Robin Blaser fonds (MsA 1), Robert Creeley fonds (MsA 6), Stan Persky fonds (MsA 15), Jack Spicer fonds (MsA 20).

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Future accruals are likely.

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Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Created May 6, 2014 LZ

Language of description

  • English

Script of description


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