Community and the Western Landscape

Wallace Earle Stegner (1909 - 1993 )

Where the Bluebird Sings to the Lemonade Springs


  • Born in 1909 in Lake Mills, Iowa, but grew up in a succession of Western states (and Canada), including North Dakota, Washington, and Montana; died in 1993 of injuries resulting from a car accident.
  • Married Mary Stuart Page in 1934; had one son..
  • Educated at the University of Utah  (B.A., 1930); the University of California (1932-33); and the University of Iowa (M.A., 1932, Ph.D. 1935).


  • Taught at Augustana College, Univerity of Utah, University of Wisconsin, Harvard University, and Stanford University; founded and directed the creative writing program at Stanford from 1946-71, where he taught such writers as Edward Abbey, Wendell Berry, Thomas McGuane, Ken Kesey, and Larry McMurtry.
  • A prolific writer, received numerous awards for his writing, including a Pulitzer Prize in 1972 for Angle of Repose and a National Book Award for The Spectator Bird in 1977; garnered a nomination for the National Book Critics Circle Award with Where the Bluebird Sings to the Lemonade Springs: Living and Writing in the West (1992).
  • Became a leader in the environmental movement, writing a famous "Wilderness Letter" that argued the importance of federal protection of wild places; served on and eventually chaired the National Parks Advisory Board for five years during the 1960s.

Major Writings

Remembering Laughter
The Potter's House (1938)
On a Darkling Plain (1940)
The Big Rock Candy Mountain (1943)
Second Growth (1947)
The Preacher and the Slave (1950), later published as Joe Hill (1969)
A Shooting Star (1961)
All the Little Live Things (1967)
Angle of Repose (1971)
The Spectator Bird (1976)
Recapitulation (1979)
Crossing to Safety (novel) (1987)

Short Stories
The Women on the Wall (1999)
The City of the Living and Other Stories (1956)
The Collected Stories of Wallace Stegner (1990)

Essays and Nonfiction
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 Sound of Mountain Water: The Changing American West (1969)
One Way to Spell Man (1982)
Where the Bluebird Sings to the Lemonade Springs: Living and Writing in the West (1992)

Biographcal Sources, Critical Sources and Reviews

  • For critical and biographical information, see the following Gale publications:  Contemporary Authors, Volumes 1-4, 9, 141; Contemporary Authors, New Revision Series, Volumes 21 and 46; Contemporary Literary Criticism, Volumes 9, 49, and 81; and Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 9: American Novelists: 1910-1945 (contains portrait).   Gale Literary Database (Contemporary Authors Online) can be accessed online through a subscribing library at
  • Reviews:
    New York Times Book Review, April 17, 1992 (available in online archives at
    "What Makes a Child of the West" by Michiko KaKutani
    Los Angeles Times, June 7, 1992, "Environmentalism Remains the Key For the Emblematic California Writer," by Steve Proffitt
    Los Angeles Times Book Review, March 7, 1993, "Under the Great Wide Sky," by Ivan Doig
  • Obituaries:
    Chicago Tribune
    , April 15, 1993
    Los Angeles Times, April 15, 1993
    New York Times, April 15, 1993
    Washington Post
    , April 15, 1993

Retired Discussion Series

Debbie Sturman, Director
425 South Main Street, P O Box 510
Lusk, WY 82225-0510
Phone: 307-334-3490
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