Guide to the Papers of John Clark Pratt

Prepared by Karen Spilman; revised by Victoria Lopez-Terrill
Colorado State University Archives and Special Collections
Copyright 2014, 2017, 2020 Colorado State University. All rights reserved.
Finding aid encoded in EAD Version 2002 by Karen Spilman, 2014.
Creator: Pratt, John Clark
Title: Papers of John Clark Pratt
Dates: 1942-2010, 2017
Bulk Dates: 1984-2001
Quantity: 4.5+ linear feet (3 record cartons)
Identification: UJCP
Abstract: 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.
Contact Information: Archives and Special Collections
Morgan Library
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, Colorado 80523-1019 USA
Phone: 970-491-1844
Fax: 970-491-1195
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.
This collection is indexed under the following headings in the Colorado State University Libraries online catalog. Researchers seeking materials about related subjects, persons, organizations, or places should search the catalog using these headings.
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975 -- Literature and the war.
  • Pratt, John Clark -- Archives.
  • Hemingway, Ernest, 1899-1961.
  • Southeast Asia.
  • Vietnam.
Special Document Types:
  • Audiotapes.
  • Magnetic tapes.
  • Photographs.
  • Sound recordings.
  • Videotapes.
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, who had two daughters. His second wife 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 is the considered the leading scholar in the literature of the Vietnam War and was instrumental in creating the Vietnam War Literature Collection at Morgan Library, a unique and world-renowned collection. He also created the first on-demand publishing company in the country via the Internet. Pratt died on January 2, 2017.
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.
Upon arrival, materials were in no discernable order and were reorganized.
The collection consists of three series in three record cartons:
Preferred Citation

Papers of John Clark Pratt, Archives and Special Collections, Colorado State University.


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.


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.

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.

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

Note: Title information supplied by the archivist is bracketed.

Series 1: Teaching and miscellany, 1967, 1985-2001 and undated (1.05 linear feet)

This series includes one folder of teaching materials for Pratt's course on "The Vietnam War in Fiction," student papers, and family correspondence, photographs, and two miscellaneous VHS tapes. Folders from the 2017 accrual appear in alphabetical order at the end of the inventory and include a short story, "Hayden's Revenge," written by Pratt and student critiques of the work. A report on Pratt's Fulbright Lectureship in the USSR is also included as well as article featuring him. Pratt's obituary is present as well. When feasible, papers were added to existing folders.
Box Folder
1 1 Biographical article. 1987.
1 2 Photographs. May 1996.
1 3 Family correspondence. 1985, 1996.
Correspondence between Pratt and his relatives regarding the founding of the Countryman Press, a family run business in Vermont.
1 4 Miscellaneous. 1962, 1967, 1994, undated.
1 5 Teaching materials for E247 - The Vietnam War in Fiction. 1990, 2001, undated.
Includes a copy of Pratt's book The Laotian Fragments, with margin notes by Pratt.
1 6 Student papers. undated.
1 7 Hearts without Homes by Merlene McIntyre. undated.
2 Birds of a Feather - Ravens [VHS]. undated.
2 Rustic G9 long and short versions, presentation with video clips [VHS]. undated.
3 1 Articles about Pratt. 1989, 2010 undated.
3 2 Fulbright report. 1980.
3 3-5 "Hayden's Revenge". 1992.
3 6 Letter to Cara Neth. 1986.
3 7 Pratt obituary. 2017.

Series 2: Vietnam, 1970, 1984-2007 and undated (2.95+ linear feet)

This series contains letters from others, including Jane Hamilton-Merritt, writings by Pratt and by others on various aspects of the Vietnam War, miscellaneous clippings, and audio and VHS records on topics regarding the war, including five tapes of oral histories under the heading of "The American Arts Project, Back in the World: Writing After Vietnam." Folders from the 2017 accrual appear at the end of the inventory and are in alphabetical order. They include manuscript copies of Pratt's novel, American Affairs, as well as copies of prepublication editions of As Far Away as China, by Jay Boyer and No Passenger on the River, by Tran Van Dinh. A poster of the cover of As Far Away as China is also included. Letters written to Pratt by various authors are included. Photographs taken by Pratt of Southeast Asia as well as photographs of Pratt are also present.
Box Folder
1 8 Letters from Jane Hamilton-Merritt. 1993-1994, 1998.
Content of letters regarding her publication Tragic Mountains; also includes copies of letters by others to Jane Hamilton-Merritt that she forwarded on to Pratt as well as book reviews on Tragic Mountain.
1 9 Miscellaneous book reviews for Tragic Mountain: The Hmong, the Americans, and the Secret Wars for Laos, 1942-1992, by Jane Hamilton Merritt. 1993-1994.
1 10 Letters regarding requests for submission for The Vietnam War: An Encyclopedia. 1994-1995.
1 11 Miscellaneous letters regarding various publications on Vietnam. 1986-2009.
1 12 Notes. undated.
1 13 Text of talk, Seeking a Happy Medium: Film and Literary Views of the Vietnam War by John Clark Pratt. undated.
1 14 The Vietnam Center at Texas Tech University 5th Triennal Vietnam Symposium. 2005.
1 15 Miscellaneous writings by John Clark Pratt. 1967, circa 1990s.
1 16 Talks and writings by others on Vietnam. 1988-1994, undated.
1 17 Newspapers, clippings, maps regarding Vietnam. 1970, 1977, 1990s, undated.
2 1 84 Charlie MoPic/Deer Hunter [VHS]. undated.
2 2 Tim O'Brien-Tulane My Lai Conference, reading and interview [VHS]. circa 1994.
2 3 The Quiet American NTSC [VHS]. undated.
2 4 Television's Vietnam, narrated by Charlton Heston [VHS]. 1985.
2 5 In the Lake of the Woods [VHS]. 1996.
2 6 Go Tell the Spartans [VHS]. 1986.
2 7 Vietnam War talk - Film and Fiction [VHS]. undated.
2 8 Chip Dockry and Mark Berent recordings [magnetic tape]. undated.
2 9 Mark Berent recordings [audiotape]. undated. 2 tapes
2 10 Bill Getz S.E.A. songs [audiotape]. undated.
2 11 Lecture tape [audiotape]. undated.
2 12 In Country: Folk Songs of Americans in the Vietnam War [audiotape]. undated. 4 tapes
2 13 The American Arts Project, Back in the World: Writing After Vietnam [audiotape]. 1984. 5 tapes
2 14 "Jody's Got Your Cadillac", Vietnam Veterans oral history and folklore project [audiotape] . 1988.
2 15 Goodbye Saigon, National Public Radio broadcast [audiotape]. 1985.
3 8-10 The Asia Society Conference - The Vietnam Experience in American Literature. 1985.
3 11-13 American Affairs, by John Clark Pratt - manuscript. undated.
3 14 American Affairs the text. undated. Loose papers.
3 15-17 American Affairs, edited manuscript. undated.
3 18 As Far Away as China, by Jay Boyer. 1989.
3 19 As Far Away as China,uncorrected proof. 1989.
Folder 1 As Far Away as China, poster. 1989.
3 20 [Asa Baber]. 1985-1993.
3 21 [John Balaban]. 1982-1989, undated.
3 22 [John R. Bivans]. 1985-1986, undated.
3 23 Book jackets. undated.
3 24 CHECO [Contemporary Historical Examination of Current Operations]. 1986, 2013, undated.
3 25 [CHECO bibliography]. 1972, 1982, undated.
3 26 [Richard Currey]. undated.
3 27 [John M. DelVecchio]. 1985-1990, 1996, undated.
3 28 [W.D. Ehrhart]. 1979-1996, undated.
3 29 15 People, 15 Views, 15 Experiences, 22 Interviews. Reflections of the Vietnam War from Fort Collins. [Boltz Junior High class project]. 2005.
3 30 [Larry Heinemann]. 1984-1999.
3 31 [Walter McDonald]. 1974-1978, 1995, undated.
3 32 [Miscellaneous, Series 2]. 1958, 1973-1976, 1984-1987, 2003, undated.
3 33-34 No Passenger on the River, by Tran Van Dinh. 1965, 1989.
3 35 [William Pelfry]. 1985, undated.
3 39 Project on the Vietnam Generation. 1985.
3 36 Photographs. 1957-1961, 1970-1974, undated.
3 37 "The Royal Laotian [sic] Air Force, 1954-1970," prepared by Major John C. Pratt. 1970.
3 38 "Yossarian's Legacy: 'Catch-22' and the Vietnam War," by John Clark Pratt. 1987-1988.

Series 3: Ernest Hemingway, 1942, 1949-2001, 2010 and undated (0.5 linear feet)

This series contains a copy of a letter from Hemingway to Pratt, Pratt's research on Hemingway, Pratt's Master's thesis, correspondence regarding an article written by Pratt for the American Oxford Encyclopedia, conference materials, and various clippings and flyers regarding Hemingway and his works, and letters from others to Pratt regarding Hemingway.
Box Folder
1 18 Copy of letter from Ernest Hemingway to John Clark Pratt. 1959.
Multiple copies
1 19 Clippings, flyers regarding Hemingway. circa 1959-1999.
1 20 Letter from William Bysshe Stein. undated.
Letter found in the Journal of Arts and Letters, Vol V, Winter 1970, #2.
1 21 Letters to Pratt regarding Hemingway. 1986, 2010.
1 22-23 Hemingway folder [research on]. 1949-1975, undated.
1 24 Ernest Hemingway: the Impulse Toward Catholicism [Master's thesis]. 1960.
1 25 Hemingway article [American Oxford Encylopedia]. 1960-1961.
1 26 HEM[ingway] relig. conference. 1959, 1974, 1999-2001.
2 16 Themes from the Musical Score of For Whom the Bell Tolls [record album]. 1942.
2 17 Hemingway biography, A&E production [VHS]. 1998.
2 18 Ernest Hemingway reading Nobel Prize acceptance speech [audiotape]. undated.