Felix and Selma Stefanile papers, 1920-2009 | Purdue University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections
The Felix and Selma Stefanile papers (1920-2009; 26.75 cubic feet) document the personal and professional lives of Felix and Selma Stefanile. The collection includes rough drafts and notes of Felix and Selma's published poems and essays. It also contains personal papers which document both of their lives in New York before they came to live in West Lafayette, Indiana. Many of the photographs are focused on Felix's childhood, early life, middle and later years. The photographs document less of Selma Stefanile's life independently but do show Felix and Selma's life together. Types of materials include: rough drafts, notes, correspondence, pamphlets, notebooks, photographs, compact discs, and records. The papers are organized into seven series: Career as a writer, General business papers, Correspondence, Personal life, Photographs, Artifacts, and Oversize items.
History of Sparrow magazine
Sparrow was a poetry journal started in 1954 by Felix and Selma Stefanile. According to Felix, he had selfish reasons for wanting to start a poetry journal. He “wanted to live the life of poetry.” Stefanile has also explained that “the best way to become involved in the literary scene, to meet new people and make your work known more widely, was to start a magazine.” The title of the magazine was named for the tenacious, resourceful and hardy sparrow, instead of a bird of paradise and leisure. Scorning the idea of a “free but unreadable” journal, Sparrow was a personal monetary investment of the Stefaniles. Felix and Selma edited the journal together. The vision for the journal was eclectic as opposed to the “shared aesthetic” journal. The eclectic journal editor made selections for the journal in order to display the variation of poetry. The first issue of the Sparrow included contributions by Cid Corman. Felix Stefanile noted that the hardest part of editing a poetry journal was not finding the poetry but finding readers who will buy the journal. In the 1980’s Felix remarked that most of the subscriptions for Sparrow came from schools, libraries and other organizations, not individual readers. Felix was vocal about his belief in self-sufficiency versus grantsmanship, having never applied for federal grants to fund the Sparrow. In 1977, the Sparrow magazine was joined by the Sparrow Poverty Pamphlet series. Each Sparrow Poverty Pamphlet focused on the work of one poet. Felix and Selma decided to end publication Sparrow magazine in 2000 with Sparrow number 65.
By Felix Stefanile. (1980, February 17). SELECTION: Confessions of an Editor Editor. New York Times (1923-Current file),p. BR3. Retrieved April 15, 2010, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2006). (Document ID: 114032518).
By Neil Baldwin. (1984, September-October). Selected storms of achievement: A Small-press retrospective. Found in Box 13, Folder 8 of MSF 306, Felix and Selma Stefanile papers, Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries