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Papers of John Clark Pratt

Identifier: UJCP

Scope and Contents

The Papers of John Clark Pratt consists of documents dated 1942 to 2010, with the bulk falling from 1984 to 2001.

The collection consists of materials relating to Vietnam, and Ernest Hemingway, with some teaching materials also included. The bulk of the collection covers Vietnam and includes writing by Pratt and others on various aspects of the war, letters from others including Jane Hamilton-Merritt, VHS tapes and audio recordings of movies, presentations, folk music and oral histories, and book reviews and other clippings on Vietnam.

The materials regarding Ernest Hemingway consist of Pratt's original research notes, Pratt's Master's degree thesis, a copy of a letter from Hemingway to Pratt, letters from others on Hemingway, and miscellaneous clippings and recordings.

Teaching and miscellany includes a folder on Pratt's course 'The Vietnam War in Fiction,' family correspondence and photographs, student papers, and biographical information on Pratt.


  • Creation: 1942-2010, 2017
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1984-2001


Restrictions on Access

There are no access restrictions on this collection.

Restrictions on Use

Not all of the material in the collection is in the public domain. Researchers are responsible for addressing copyright issues.


John Clark Pratt was professor (1980-2002) and department head (1974-1980) of English at Colorado State University. He is considered the leading scholar on the subject of literature and the Vietnam War.

John Clark Pratt was born on August 19, 1932 in St. Albans, Vermont and grew up in Darien, Connecticut. His father, John Lowell Pratt was president of the A.B. Barnes and Company, a publisher in New York. John Clark Pratt attended the Eaglebrook School, Phillips Academy, Dartmouth University, and transferred to the University of California at Berkeley during his senior year of college, graduating in 1954 with a degree in English.

Pratt married his first wife in 1955 and they had four children, three daughters and one son. After his divorce in 1966 he met his second wife, Doreen, who had two daughters. Doreen Pratt died in 2001.

After graduation, Pratt joined the Aviation Cadet Program and was commissioned as a second lieutenant and a jet fighter pilot instructor. He was assigned to the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO from 1960 to 1974 as both a jet pilot instructor and as part of the faculty of the department of English. In 1962 Pratt published his first book, The Meaning of Modern Poetry.

Pratt earned his M.A. from Columbia in 1962 and his doctorate in English literature from Princeton in 1965. Pratt served in the Vietnam War as a pilot and operations analyst in 1969-1970 in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia and flew combat missions in Laos. In 1974, he retired from the Air Force as a lieutenant colonel and also published a novel, The Laotian Fragments. He was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to Portugal in 1974-1975, witnessing events that gave rise to his novel American Affairs. An additional Fulbright Fellowship to the Soviet Union was awarded in 1980.

From 1974 to 1980, he chaired the English Department at Colorado State University and served as a professor of English from 1980 to 2002. He has published or edited 18 books and numerous essays, short fiction and poems.

Pratt was a scholar in the literature of the Vietnam War and was instrumental in creating the Vietnam War Literature Collection at CSU Libraries. He died on January 2, 2017.


4.5 linear feet (3 record cartons)

Language of Materials



John Clark Pratt (1932-2017) was a professor and department head of English at Colorado State University. He served in Vietnam as a combat pilot and was part of the English faculty at the Air Force Academy. Pratt is considered the leading scholar on the subject of literature and the Vietnam War and was instrumental in creating the Vietnam War Literature Collection at Morgan Library at Colorado State University. The collection consists of materials relating to Vietnam and Ernest Hemingway and includes writings, teaching materials, letters, newspaper clippings, and audio and visual materials.


Upon arrival, materials were in no discernable order and were reorganized.

The collection consists of three series in three record cartons:

Series 1: Teaching and miscellany, 1967, 1985-2001, 2017 and undated

Series 2: Vietnam, 1970, 1984-2007 and undated

Series 3: Ernest Hemingway, 1942, 1949-2001, 2010 and undated


The Papers of John Clark Pratt was donated by John Clark Pratt on June 22, 2012. An accrual to the collection was donated by his family following his death in early 2017. Additional folders from an unknown source were added in 2019.

Related Collections

Vietnam War Literature Collection, Special Collections.

An oral history with John Clark Pratt is part of the Senior Scholars Oral History Project. VIEW

Separated Collections

Published materials regarding Vietnam were removed to the Vietnam War Literature Collection in Special Collections. Published materials regarding Ernest Hemingway were removed to Special Collections.


Processing was completed in May 2014. Materials were rehoused in acid-free folders and boxes, and duplicate copies were weeded. Paper clips and rubber bands were removed. The accrual was processed in March 2017 and the same standards were applied. An accrual from 2019 was processed using the same standards; however, multiple photocopies of the letter to Pratt from Hemingway were retained.

Inventory Note

Note: Title information supplied by the archivist is bracketed.

Guide to the Papers of John Clark Pratt
Edited Full Draft
Prepared by Karen Spilman; revised by Victoria Lopez-Terrill
Copyright 2014, 2017, 2020
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the CSU Libraries Archives & Special Collections Repository

Fort Collins Colorado 80523-1019 USA