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Mr. and Mrs. William R. Wilkins papers

 Collection 0094-LIT

William R. (Bill) Wilkins (1928- ) was born in Loveland, Colorado. His family moved to northern California during Wilkins's childhood, and Wilkins later attended Humboldt State College, graduating in 1951. Wilkins and his college sweetheart, Fern Stahl (born 1927), married in 1952. After graduation, Wilkins joined the Navy, for which he served until his retirement in 1974 at the rank of Lieutenant Commander. Wilkins's military career resulted in many moves for him, Fern, and their two children, bringing the family to Maryland for Wilkins's positions at National Security Agency Headquarters and a communication station in Cheltenham, Maryland. While Bill Wilkins was stationed in Maryland, Fern Wilkins began her own career as a Montessori teacher. Fern Wilkins died on April 20, 2008, in Columbia, Maryland. The Wilkins family met Katherine Anne Porter in November 1968 after the funeral of their son David. Fern Wilkins's cousin, Robert Beach, a member of the University of Maryland's University Relations staff, had driven the family to the funeral at Arlington Cemetery, and decided to stopped at Porter's Washington, D.C., residence after the service. Porter invited the Wilkinses into her home for lunch. From this kind gesture, a warm friendship developed. Bill Wilkins joined Porter as her assistant from April 1976 until June 1977; during this time, Porter and Wilkins worked on The Never-Ending Wrong (1977) and her never-published biography of Cotton Mather. Wilkins later worked for the Assistant Superintendent of the Maryland School for the Blind in Baltimore, Maryland, until his retirement in June 1995. From 1996 until 2003, he volunteered in support of the University of Maryland Libraries' Porter holdings and other literary manuscript collections. The collection includes correspondence, clippings, serials, photographs, memorabilia owned by or related to Porter, and audio recordings.


  • 1956-2007 and undated
  • Majority of material found within 1970-1999

Use and Access to Collection

This collection is unprocessed and may require pre-screening before viewing. Please contact the Archives and Manuscripts Department for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies or digital surrogates may be provided in accordance with Special Collections and University Archives duplication policy.

Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs unless otherwise specified. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission to publish materials from the appropriate copyright holder.

Archival materials may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws or other regulations. While we make a good faith effort to identify and remove such materials, some may be missed during our processing. If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.


2.50 Linear Feet

Guide to the Mr. and Mrs. William R. Wilkins Papers
Minimally Processed
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742