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Sandy Campbell & Donald Windham

andrew potter
Sandy Campbell was born in New York City, April 22, 1922. His father owned a chemical manufacturing company that provided for the family. After attending the Kent School in Connecticut, Campbell studied at Princeton University, where he nourished his two abiding passions: acting and literature.

He soon made his way to the Broadway stage, where he landed roles in Life with Father, the revival of Spring Awakening, and A Streetcar Named Desire. Over two decades in the theater, he shared the stage with Marlon Brando, Spencer Tracy, Jessica Tandy, Tallullah Bankhead, Lynne Fontaine, Alfred Lunt, Lois Smith and many others.

A chance meeting at the studio of Paul Cadmus, where Campbell was modeling for one of the artist’s paintings, brought him together with Donald Windham. The two remained romantic partners for the rest of Campbell’s life.

Alongside his acting ambitions, Campbell was a devoted reader, book collector, writer, and publisher. He began collecting at an early age and maintained the habit of finding the home address of an author, and writing to ask if he could send along his book to be signed.

His library included signed first editions by Graham Green, Vladimir Nabokov, William Faulkner, and E.M. Forster as well as books personally annotated by authors such as Katherine Anne Porter, Isak Dinesen, Alice B. Toklas, and Marianne Moore. Most of these are housed in the Windham-Campbell collection at the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library.


Donald Windham & Sandy Campbell by Carl Van Vechten
Donald Windham was an American novelist and memoirist. He is perhaps best known for his close friendships with Truman Capote and Tennessee Williams. In 1943 Windham met Sandy Campbell, an undergraduate student at Princeton University. They began a relationship that would last until Campbell's death in 1988. Campbell helped Windham publish books through the Stamperia Valdonega in Verona. Partially because Windham was influenced by his life, homosexuality is one of many themes treated in his work.


Reflection by Paul Cadmus, 1944. Donald Windham is dancer in foreground, Fidelma Cadmus is dancer against wall, and Sandy Campbell is dancer on bench.



Donald Windham & Sandy Campbell in Italy


Donald Windham by Paul Cadmus


Paul Cadmus (1904-1999), Sandy Campbell, signed and dated 'Cadmus 1944', tempera on masonite, 4¼ x 4¼ in. (11.4 x 11.4 cm.). Provenance: Jon Anderson. Sold for $42,000 at Christie's, 24 May 2007. Exhibited: New York, Midtown Payson Galleries, Still Life Portrait Tableaux, November 11-December 30, 1994.


Sandy Campbell with Paul Cadmus portraits, New York City, 1943. photograph by Paul Cadmus



Donald Windham by George Platt Lynes


Sandy Campbell by George Platt Lynes

Campbell also wrote profiles of Nora Joyce, E.M. Forster, and the tandem of Lynn Fontanne and Alfred Lunt for Harper's Magazine. He worked for many years as a fact checker for The New Yorker, where he also wrote unsigned book reviews.

His book, B: Twenty-Six Letters from Coconut Grove, documents his time working on a revival of A Streetcar Named Desire alongside Tallulah Bankhead, the “B” of the title.

His longest standing literary commitment was to Donald Windham and his writing. When Campbell’s acting career ended in the late 1950s, his focus turned to editing and publishing. Publishers began losing interest in Windham starting in the mid-sixties, so Campbell took it upon himself to make sure his work saw the light of day.

He contracted with the Italian publisher Stamperia Valdonega, and over the next twenty-five years brought out numerous exquisitely-crafted editions of Windham’s books, several of which found their way to large publishing houses, due in no small part to Campbell’s efforts.

When he died on June 26, 1988, Sandy Campbell left his estate to Donald Windham, with the tacit understanding that someday all or part of it would be used to create a prize to support writers.

In June 2011 it was announced that Yale University will administer the Donald Windham-Sandy M. Campbell Literature Prizes.

The Donald Windham Sandy M. Campbell Literature Prizes are a series of literary awards established by Yale University. Administered by the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, they recognize English language authors in fiction, non-fiction and drama. The mission of the prizes is to call attention to literary achievement and provide writers the opportunity to focus on their work independent of financial concerns. Up to nine prizes are awarded annually. Winners receive a citation and an unrestricted award of $150,000. These are among the richest awards in the world, if not the richest in certain categories. The prize endowments are from the estates of writer Donald Windham. Sandy Campbell was his companion of 45 years.

Source: http://windhamcampbell.org/sandy-campbell#sthash.wlqyyf6t.dpuf

Donald Windham (July 2, 1920, Atlanta – May 31, 2010) was raised by his mother and aunt, alongside his brother Fred, in a large Victorian home that served mostly as a painful reminder of the family’s prosperous past. By the time Windham had reached adolescence, even the house was gone. (Picture: Donald Windham by Carl Van Vechten)

After high school, his mother found him a job in a Coca-Cola factory, where he rolled barrels through the warehouse and harbored dreams of becoming a writer. During his off hours, he fell in with a group of local artists and writers, including Fred Melton. The two became lovers and before long left together for New York.

Windham and Melton shared several Manhattan apartments in the late 1930s and early '40s. It was during this period that they befriended another young writer who would have a substantial impact on Windham’s life: Tennessee Williams. After meeting Williams, Windham was swept into the upper echelons of New York artistic society, becoming friends with W.H. Auden, Tony Smith, Glenway Wescott, Paul Cadmus, and Truman Capote. Capote and Windham met in the forties and remained friends throughout their lives.

Williams, already an experienced writer, also provided professional inspiration to Windham, who began writing short stories about his early years in Georgia. In the decades that followed, the two developed a friendship that included a co-written play, decades of correspondence, a novel by Windham about Williams, and a very public dissolution of their friendship in the 1970s.


Donald Windham & Tennessee Williams
Donald Windham was an American novelist and memoirist. He is perhaps best known for his friendships with Truman Capote and Tennessee Williams. Windham became estranged from Williams in the Seventies after Williams published his Memoirs. Windham later published a volume of their correspondence, which Williams claimed was done without permission. Windham remained a friend of Capote until Capote's death. Lost Friendships, a memoir of his friendship with Capote and Williams, was published in 1987.


Donald Windham & Truman Capote



Donald Windham, second from left, in 1949 at Cafe Nicholson in Manhattan with, from left, the ballerina Tanaquil Le Clercq, the artist Buffie Johnson, Tennessee Williams and Gore Vidal


Donald Windham, 1942, by PaJaMa (Paul Cadmus, Jared and Margaret French)


Donald Windham & Tennessee Williams, 1943, by George Platt Lynes




It was a chance meeting at Paul Cadmus’ studio in 1943, however, that proved to be of greater and more lasting importance. On a visit with Melton, Windham met a Princeton undergraduate named Sandy Campbell, who was modeling for one of Cadmus’ paintings. Windham and Campbell began a relationship that would last until Campbell’s death in 1988.

In 1942, while writing his first novel, The Dog Star, as well as You Touched Me, the play he co-wrote with Tennessee Williams, Windham began working as Lincoln Kirstein’s assistant at the magazine Dance Index. When Kirstein was drafted into the military in 1943, he handed the editorship over to the young writer.

As Bruce Kellner notes in Donald Windham: A Bio-bibliography, Windham soon enlarged his circle of acquaintances to include future Vogue photographer George Platt Lynes, artist Joseph Cornell, set designer Pavel Tchelitchew, choreographer George Balanchine, dancer Tanaquil Leclerq, and photographer and writer Carl Van Vechten.

When You Touched Me appeared on Broadway in 1945, the play earned enough to support Windham during a crucial period. He finished The Dog Star, which would not find an American publisher until 1950, despite having impressed both Thomas Mann and André Gide.

Windham’s work often found a more sympathetic audience in Europe than in the States. This changed for a time in 1960s, when he enjoyed his most sustained period of literary success. He published his novel based on the life of Tennessee Williams, The Hero Continues, in 1960, the same year he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship.

He also began to publish a series of recollections of his childhood in The New Yorker. These eventually grew into a highly-regarded personal memoir, Emblems of Conduct, the success of which helped see into print his collection of short stories, The Warm Country, featuring an introduction by E.M. Forster. (Picture: Donald Windham and E.M. Forster)

This acclaim was short-lived, however. His novel, Two People, about a married man who falls in love with a teenage boy in Rome, was savaged by critics. From then on, most of his books were brought out first in private editions, a few of which eventually found their way to mainstream publishers.

His relationship with Tennessee Williams took a darker turn in the 1970s, beginning with the publication of Williams’s memoirs. Feeling that the Williams depicted in the book bore little resemblance to the man he knew, Windham asked for and received permission to publish the letters he’d received from his friend. But when the letters were printed in a second edition by Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, Williams took offence to what he considered an unflattering presentation and accused Windham and Campbell of drugging and coercing him into signing over the copyright.

The argument spilled out into the editorial pages of the New York Times with remarkable ferocity, pitting friend against friend, even placing mutual friends such as Truman Capote in the position of having to choose sides. Lawsuits and recriminations followed for the better part of a decade before the friendship finally dissolved in acrimony.

The joys and vicissitudes of his long relationships with Williams and Capote are chronicled in Windham’s memoir, Lost Friendships. Of his two famous friends he wrote, “As highly rewarded with celebrity and money as they were, each considered himself underappreciated…a personal example of the failure of America to value and recompense its artists.”

Windham, too, felt underappreciated, but his reputation as a writer has continued to grow. Emblems of Conduct, is an exemplar of the creative non-fiction genre, and Windham's early and fearless representation of gay characters in his fiction has made works like Two People and the short story "Servants With Torches"essential reading in Gay Studies classes

In June 2011 it was announced that Yale University will administer the Donald Windham-Sandy M. Campbell Literature Prizes.

The Donald Windham Sandy M. Campbell Literature Prizes are a series of literary awards established by Yale University. Administered by the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, they recognize English language authors in fiction, non-fiction and drama. The mission of the prizes is to call attention to literary achievement and provide writers the opportunity to focus on their work independent of financial concerns. Up to nine prizes are awarded annually. Winners receive a citation and an unrestricted award of $150,000. These are among the richest awards in the world, if not the richest in certain categories. The prize endowments are from the estates of writer Donald Windham. Sandy Campbell was his companion of 45 years.

Source: http://windhamcampbell.org/donald-windham#sthash.ZXRtyBLU.dpuf
I first came to know of Donald Windham through his association with the great gay American playwright Tennessee Williams, who was Windham‘s friend and literary mentor for 25 years. In 1977, Windham published the correspondence he had received from 10, as Williams often signed his letters, under the title Tennessee Williams’ Letters to Donald Windham: 1940-1965, a book I devoured. [...] Windham and Williams had met in New York in January, 1940. Windham, then 19 and practically penniless, had recently fled Atlanta with his 21-year-old boyfriend. They were living in a single furnished room. The romance of all that delighted me. As I read the letters, Windham seemed like the writer-in-training and literary acolyte I longed to be. Nevertheless, I didn‘t feel any strong desire to delve into his novels. Perhaps that‘s because Windham‘s books were hard to find, mostly out of print; or perhaps because, in the last years of the 70s, newer gay voices — Andrew Holleran, Ed White, Joseph Hansen, Larry Kramer, Armistead Maupin — had begun to appear. Whatever the reason, it was 30 years later that I finally got around to reading one of Donald Windham‘s novels. It happened, really, quite by chance.
One day, browsing in one of my favorite used bookstores in downtown Boston, I came across a copy of Windham‘s novel (his third, it turns out), Two People. I might have easily passed it by but for the author‘s name, which triggered happy memories of reading the Williams-Windham correspondence so many years before. I pulled it off the shelf. The dust jacket — a sketch of the Spanish Steps in Rome, a few people lolling about — seemed innocuous, even old fashioned. And the title, such a generic one, seemed innocuous as well, promising little more than a safe plot, a pleasant read. But the book — its heft, its sheer physicality —piqued my curiosity. It was an immaculate copy, not a mark or tear, and the pages, creamy white, had the soft, thick, luxurious texture that hardback paper used to have. I checked the publication date: 1965. A quick glance at the dust jacket blurb — The story of an American man and an Italian boy in Rome . . . a situation that another author might have made melodramatic or sensational — clinched it. Code for a gay story! That night, curled up in bed, I began to read. -- extract from the essay of Philip Gambone for The Lost Library
Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time by Elisa Rolle
Paperback: 760 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (July 1, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1500563323
ISBN-13: 978-1500563325
Amazon: Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time

Days of Love chronicles more than 700 LGBT couples throughout history, spanning 2000 years from Alexander the Great to the most recent winner of a Lambda Literary Award. Many of the contemporary couples share their stories on how they met and fell in love, as well as photos from when they married or of their families. Included are professional portraits by Robert Giard and Stathis Orphanos, paintings by John Singer Sargent and Giovanni Boldini, and photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnson, Arnold Genthe, and Carl Van Vechten among others. “It's wonderful. Laying it out chronologically is inspired, offering a solid GLBT history. I kept learning things. I love the decision to include couples broken by death. It makes clear how important love is, as well as showing what people have been through. The layout and photos look terrific.” Christopher Bram “I couldn’t resist clicking through every page. I never realized the scope of the book would cover centuries! I know that it will be hugely validating to young, newly-emerging LGBT kids and be reassured that they really can have a secure, respected place in the world as their futures unfold.” Howard Cruse “This international history-and-photo book, featuring 100s of detailed bios of some of the most forward-moving gay persons in history, is sure to be one of those bestsellers that gay folk will enjoy for years to come as reference and research that is filled with facts and fun.” Jack Fritscher

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