University of Chicago Library

Guide to the Alfred Starr Hamilton Papers 1963-2015 1963-2015

© 2024 University of Chicago Library

Descriptive Summary


Hamilton, Alfred Starr. Papers




1.5 linear feet (3 boxes)


Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center
University of Chicago Library
1100 East 57th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.


Alfred Starr Hamilton (1914-2005) poet. The collection contains biographical information, personal belongings, correspondence, drafted prose inspired by Hamilton written by family members, book reviews, newspaper clippings with interviews and biographies, poetry journals and magazines, books, and Hamilton’s unpublished poetry manuscripts.

Information on Use


The collection is open for research.


When quoting material from this collection, the preferred citation is: When quoting material from this collection, the preferred citation is: Hamilton, Alfred Starr. Papers, [Box #, Folder #], Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library

Biographical Note

Alfred Starr Hamilton (June 14, 1914- March 2005) was born to Alfred Sr. and Virginia in Montclair, New Jersey, where he would live until his death. He had two elder siblings. He did not finish high school but would go on to serve in the armed forces for 1 year during World War II. He self-reported himself as AWOL and honorably discharged from the military, though he would sign his letters as “dishonorably discharged,” something he considered a point of pride in interviews and recollections. He did not become a poet until he was almost 50, first published by Cornell in 1960 through one of their poetry magazines. Despite garnering critical praise from contemporaries and critics, he did not achieve widespread fame and was famous for living on about $80 a month during his career. Despite coming from an affluent family, Hamilton seemed to revel in the life of the artist, living a very meager lifestyle. During his lifetime, Hamilton appeared to be close to his family, especially his niece Jane Huber. He lived and took care of his sister Katharine during the 1960s and ‘70s, until her hospitalization, and many of his letters to Judith Cruickshank during this time reflect concern for Katharine’s failing health.

Hamilton died in a nursing home in Montclair, New Jersey, and was buried in a Veterans cemetery with full military honors.

Scope Note

The Alfred Starr Hamilton Papers are organized into three series: Series I: Personal, Series II: Interviews, and Series III: Writings. The collection contains correspondence, unpublished manuscripts, journals, notes, published articles, books, and booklets, clippings, publications, replica photographs, audio cassettes, and biographical data. Materials date between 1963 and 2015, with the bulk of the material dating between 1967 and 1988. The papers primarily document Hamilton’s poetry, and later efforts by his niece Jane Huber to have a biography of Hamilton published.

Series I, Personal, contains biographical information and photographs; personal copies of Dynamics; clippings about Hamilton; correspondences between Hamilton and family members, and amongst Hamilton’s family regarding him; correspondences from Jane Huber to writers like Jonathan Williams regarding a biography; prose about Hamilton written by family; and articles about Hamilton.

Series II, Interviews, contains recorded interviews with Hamilton and his family.

Series III, Writings, contains published poetry in journals and magazines, books and booklets of Hamilton’s poetry, poetry notebooks, unpublished manuscripts and drafts, and reviews of Hamilton’s prose.

Subject Headings


Series I: Personal

Box 1    Folder 1

Biographical and genealogical documents about Alfred S. Hamilton, 2012-2013

Box 1    Folder 2

Photographs (photocopies) of Hamilton, circa 1932, undated

Box 1    Folder 3

News articles about Hamilton 1965-2013

Box 1    Folder 4

Weird New Jersey presents: Send This to the Immune Officer: Found Letters to the Montclair Police Department from Poet Alfred Starr Hamilton, 1959-1985, 2010

Box 1    Folder 5

Dynamis, 1971-1972

Box 1    Folder 6

Journal of NJ Poets 36, 2001.

Box 1    Folder 7

Correspondence between A. S. Hamilton and Judith Cruickshank, 1966-1975

Box 1    Folder 8

Correspondence between Katharine Hamilton and Judith Cruickshank, 1975

Box 1    Folder 9

Correspondence from Hamilton preparations for wishes for care and funeral services, to various respondents, circa 1986-1989

Box 1    Folder 10

“Uncle Alfred - Drafts” unpublished handwritten and typed manuscripts by Jane Huber, circa 1985

Box 1    Folder 11

“Writing Notes,” unpublished manuscript by Jane Huber, 1988

Box 1    Folder 12

Correspondence between Hamilton and Judith Cruickshank, notes, and typed manuscripts, possibly from Judith Cruickshank, circa 1975

Box 1    Folder 13

Correspondence between Hamilton and Jane Huber, correspondence regarding Hamilton biography between Huber and others, biography drafts, 1986-2015

Series II: Interviews

Series II contains recorded interviews with Alfred Starr Hamilton and members of his family. The interviews were originally on eight cassette tapes, which have been reformatted onto ten compact discs. The CD recordings are available for listening in the Special Collections Research Center.

Box 2

CD1: ASH Interview: David Cruickshank, Virginia Cruikshank and Jane Huber on November 23, 2012

Box 2

CD2: February 3rd, 5th

Box 2

CD3: February 2-3, 1987

Box 2

CD4: Uncle Alfred, August 13, 1985 in Montclair, NJ

Box 2

CD5: Elmer, February 6th

Box 2

CD6: Elmer, February 16th

Box 2

CD7: ASH, February 23, 1987

Box 2

CD8: Alfred, February 13

Box 2

CD9: Hamiltons, February 19

Box 2

CD10: Feb 1, 1987

Box 2

Eight cassettes. Files have been reformatted onto CDs.

Series III: Writings

Box 3   Folder 1

Epoch: A Quarterly of Contemporary Literature Vol. 13, no. 1 (fall 1963), contains six poems by Hamilton, 1963.

Box 3   Folder 2

Epoch: A Quarterly of Contemporary Literature Vol. 13, no 3 (spring 1964), contains three poems by Hamilton, 1964.

Box 3   Folder 3

Epoch: A Quarterly of Contemporary Literature, Vol. 14, no 2 (winter 1965), contains five poems by Hamilton, 1965.

Box 3   Folder 4

Metanoia Vol.1, no 2 (December 1967); contains “Poetry by Alfred Starr Hamilton,” 1967.

Box 3   Folder 5

Monk’s Pond, No. 1 (spring 1968), contains “Salvation Army Poems by Alfred Starr Hamilton,” 1968.

Box 3   Folder 6

Metanoia no 4 (1968), contains “Poetry by Alfred Starr Hamilton,” ca. 1968.

Box 3   Folder 7

The Poems of Alfred Starr Hamilton, 1970.

Box 3   Folder 8

The Jargon Society, mentions Hamilton’s “Poems” publication 1970.

Box 3   Folder 9

The Archive, Vol. 83, no 3 (spring 1971), contains eight poems by Hamilton, 1971.

Box 3   Folder 10

The Archive, Vol. 83, no 2 (winter 1971), contains Belles Lettres, and nineteen poems by Hamilton, 1971.

Box 3   Folder 11

New Letters: A Continuation of the University Review, Vol. 39, no 1 (fall 1972), contains short biography and four poems by Hamilton, 1972.

Box 3   Folder 12

The Wormwood Review, Vol. 16, No 1 (Issue No. 61), features Hamilton’s “Double Daring,” 1975.

Box 3   Folder 13

New Letters: A Magazine of Fine Writing (winter 1981/82), contains four poems by Hamilton, 1982.

Box 3   Folder 14

The Big Parade, a collection of poetry by Hamilton, 1982.

Box 3   Folder 15

Published Poetry, “Apples” and “Crawlspace,”1985.

Box 3   Folder 16

Exquisite Corpse, Vol. 5, nos 9-12 (September-December 1987); contains “Poems by Alfred Starr Hamilton,” 1987.

Box 3   Folder 17

Lips, no 14 (1988), contains “A Drifting Cloud” and “The Month of Maine” by Hamilton, 1988.

Box 3   Folder 18

The Wormwood Review, Vol. 28, No 1 (Issue 109), contains “Yes” and “Poetry” by Hamilton 1988.

Box 4   Folder 1

Unpublished Poetry, notebook, 1987.

Box 4   Folder 2

Unpublished Poetry, notebook, undated

Box 4   Folder 3

Unpublished Poetry, notebook with loose pages, undated

Box 4   Folder 4

Unpublished Poetry, notebook with loose pages, undated

Box 4   Folder 5

Unpublished Poetry, typed loose papers, undated

Box 4   Folder 6

The Yale Review Vol. 102, no 4 (October 2014, Review of A Dark Dreambox of Another Kind: The Poems of Alfred Starr Hamilton, 2014.