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Collected Works of Will Inman

Identifier: SC-MS-136

Scope and Contents

Will Inman is a Wilmington-born poet who spent most of his time in Tuscon, Arizona. The Collected Works of Will Inman contains papers from 1945 to 2009 that provide context to Inman's life as a poet. These papers include Inman's literary work, such as poems, short stories, novel manuscripts, literary publications, and handwritten notes.

In addition, this collection includes Inman's editorial work. From the early 1960s to the early 1980s, Inman edited and distributed "Kauri." "Kauri" is a little magazine created by Inman with a mimeograph that contains poetry by other authors. Inman also created many chapbooks to distribute his own poetry.

Inman was a prolific correspondent and frequently wrote to friends, family, publications, and U.S. Senators. His letters often discussed edits, revisions, and notes on poems people would send him. This collection includes Inman's collaboration with artist and friend Eloise Bethell Wilkinson to produce original artwork that reflected his poetry.


  • Creation: 1923 - 2009, undated


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use.

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2018 University of North Carolina at Wilmington, all rights reserved (subject to exceptions). Where the donor did not convey copyright to UNCW, copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Biographical / Historical

Will Inman was born as William Archibald McGirt in Wilmington, North Carolina on May 3, 1923. He grew up in a working-class family and attended New Hanover County public schools throughout his education as a child. In 1943, Inman graduated from Duke University with a B.A. in English and later worked in a shipyard and fish market in Winston Salem. Inman joined the Communist Party in 1947. He was called to appear before the House Committee of Unamerican Activities in 1956. Inman would withdraw from the party shortly after.

In 1953, he changed his name to Inman (his mother's maiden name) to embody the "Will In Man" in his poetry. He would leaglly change his name in 1973. Inman moved to New York City to become fully involved with his writing. Inman was influenced by the works of Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Walt Whitman. During his time in New York City, Inman participated in poetry readings and clubs, which led him to teach a seminar at the Free University of New York. Starting in 1967, Inman taught poetry courses at the American University in Washington D.C. and Montgomery College in Maryland. He used his techniques from his Free University of New York seminars in these courses.

Inman had a son, William Stanley, with Violet Stanely. His son lived in Albany, New York with his mother and would visit Inman in the city. In 1969, Inman married Barbara Ann Sherman. Her poor health would move the couple to Tuscon, Arizona in 1973. Inman and Sherman got divorced in 1975, and he would remain in Arizona for the rest of his life and continue to publish his poetry there. Inman also participated in hosting poetry workshops in prisons and other charity work. On October 3, 2009, Inman passed away from Parkinson's Disease. He is best remembered for his poetry and activism.


37 Containers (Contains 33 banker boxes, 1 document box, 2 oversize boxes, and 1 MC folder)

Language of Materials



The Collected Works of Will Inman contains 33 banker boxes, 1 legal document box, 2 oversize boxes, and 1 MC folder. This collection is arranged into four series: Collected Works, Correspondence, Personal Documents/Items, and Works by Other Authors.

The Collected Works series is divided into six sub-series: "Kauri," Literary Publications, Chapbooks, Loose Poetry, Novel/Short Story Manuscripts, and Handwritten Notes. The works are further sorted into alphabetical order or by date.

The Correspondence series is sorted in alphabetical order by last name of the correspondent. Over 1,400 correspondents are recorded in this collection.

The Personal Documents/Items series is sorted into groups of relevance to Inman's life.

The Work of Other Authors series is sorted by the lastname of the author.

Acquisition Information

Materials in this collection were originally donated by Will Inman and/or purchased by the University in 1998. Subsequent additions to the collection were made by Inman for a number of years. Beginning in 2008, David and Judy Ray donated additional material to the collection for a number of years.

Related Materials

Randall Library Special Collections, MS 113 Will Inman Correspondence

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Kensi Laube and completed in the Spring of 2021.

Collected Works of Will Inman
Kensi Laube
2021 April 15
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Randall Library Special Collections Repository