Boyhood home of Stanley Kunitz designated a Literary Landmark by ALTAFF

For Immediate Release
Fri, 07/30/2010


Jillian Kalonick

PHILADELPHIA –  The boyhood home of Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and former United States Poet Laureate Stanley Kunitz at 4 Woodford St., Worcester, Mass., was designated a Literary Landmark by the Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations (ALTAFF), a division of the American Library Association (ALA).

Kunitz (1905-2006) lived in the house from 1919 to 1925, when his widowed mother could no longer afford to pay the mortgage. In 1979, the house was purchased by Carol and Greg Stockmal, who began restoring it to its former beauty. They did not know it was Kunitz’s boyhood home until Oct. 17, 1985, when they found Kunitz, his wife Elise Asher and an entourage of poets standing in the street looking at their house. Kunitz was being honored on his 80th birthday by the Worcester County Poetry Association with a weeklong festival. The Stockmals invited him to step inside the house for the first time in six decades, and that was the beginning of a 20-year friendship between the couple and Kunitz.

The Literary Landmark dedication, held June 19, featured event organizer Judith Ferrara, who gave the history of the project, the house and the neighborhood; Kevin M. Dowd, president of the Worcester Public Library Board of Directors; Carle Johnson, president of the Stanley Kunitz Society; and Michael True, co-founder of the Worcester County Poetry Association. The plaque was unveiled by Carol Stockmal and Gretchen Kunitz, Stanley Kunitz’s daughter.

The Worcester Public Library Board of Directors, Worcester County Poetry Association and the Friends of Stanley Kunitz joined ALTAFF in supporting this Literary Landmark dedication.

The Literary Landmarks Association was founded in 1986 by former Friends of Libraries U.S.A.(FOLUSA) president Frederick G. Ruffner to encourage the dedication of historic literary sites. In 1989, the Literary Landmark project became an official FOLUSA committee. The Literary Landmark program continues under ALTAFF, the newly formed division of ALA created by the joining of FOLUSA and the Association for Library Trustees and Friends (ALTA). More than 100 Literary Landmarks across the United States have been dedicated since the program began. Any library or citizens group may apply for a Literary Landmark through ALTAFF; for more information, visit


ALTAFF is a division of ALA with approximately 5,000 Friends of the Library, Trustee, Foundation and individual members and affiliates representing hundreds of thousands of library supporters. Begun in early 2009, the new division brings together Trustees, Friends, and Foundation members into a partnership that unites the voices of citizens for libraries to create a powerful force for libraries in the 21st century. For more information about ALTAFF, please contact Jillian Kalonick at (312) 280-2161 or