Kris Somerville and Speer Morgan introduce selected biographical passages from James Stern's papers at the British Library in this issue, Summer 2010, of The Missouri Review. Stern was born in Ireland in 1904, eventually moved to New York City in 1935. He wrote a great many letters and was friends with some of the famous people of the day. In 1932, The Heartless Land, a collection of short stories, was published in both London and New York.
Two of my favorite lines: "The vitality of the Irish side of my family manifested itself chiefly in connection with horse-flesh, and I feel that the deprivation of it would have sentenced most of them to premature senility from sheer boredom."
"Probably what my father secretly admired in my aunt was the lack of what controlled his every word and deed--fear of public opinion--a fear shared by his wife."
Some of his letters are also in the archives at University of Maryland: http://hdl.handle.net/1903.1/1522