[Posted as 8 of 10 in a series on the College Archives by Emma Paine, a graduate student intern from Simmons College]

Tudor_1An English professor and a poet, Stephen Tudor, Class of 1955, was clearly a fan of the written word, and his folder is full of correspondence, most of which is addressed to a couple named John and Phyllis.  It appears Stephen was in the habit of writing them yearly letters to exchange birthday wishes and to give John the status update on his Girand-Perregaux timepiece, an earlier gift that proved itself “a remarkable watch, through thick and thin” and always seems to be “ticking along heartily as ever.”

In addition to updating John on the watch, Stephen also talks about his work, his family, and his travels, and, in this way, his whole life unfolds through his letters.  Although he would have preferred history, Tudor got his first job as an English professor. He then earned his MFA at the University of Oregon and found a job at Wayne State University, where he’d teach English and creative writing for the rest of his life.  He and his wife, Ellie, had a child named Michael, and when he was old enough, Ellie earned her own M.A. in dance and became a teacher.  They all spent a sabbatical year in Wales, where they met “Welsh Tudors” and Mike showed his new classmates “the proper way to do a lay-up.”  Stephen continued to write and to sail and to publish many poems and short stories about the Great Lakes, and he died while competing in the 1994 Singlehanded Challenge Regatta on Lake Huron.

Tudor_2Woven in and around these major events are stories about dogs, sewing rooms, snow days and sled rides, observations about education in America and Wales, and commentary on what it’s like to be married to a working woman (“Naturally, I raise my eyebrows when I come home from a long day in Detroit and find that there’s no supper on the table.”)




Together with his manuscripts and the official alumni surveys and press releases in his file, they tell an unexpectedly rich and complete narrative of life as (in Tudor’s words) it “goes on going on.”

To learn more about Tudor, or anyone in the Alumni Files, stop by the Watkinson and ask at the front desk.


This entry was posted on Sunday, August 3rd, 2014 at 3:59 pm and is filed under College Archives, Interns. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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