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Register of the Shirley Mae Stark papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Accruals
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content of Collection

  • Title: Shirley Mae Stark papers
    Date (inclusive): 1963-1981
    Date (bulk): 1967-1974
    Collection Number: 91032
    Contributing Institution: Hoover Institution Archives
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 18 manuscript boxes, 3 oversize boxes (11.1 linear feet)
    Abstract: The papers of Shirley Mae Stark, wife of American prisoner of war William Stark and advocate on behalf of the American prisoners of war (POWs) in Vietnam, consist of correspondence, newsletters, press releases, bulletins, clippings, other printed matter, photographs, and memorabilia relating to American POWs during the Vietnam War and their families. The papers include correspondence with and issuances of the Department of the Navy, other United States government officials, and voluntary organizations concerned with the welfare of prisoners of war, especially the National League of Families of American Prisoners in Southeast Asia. Also included are numerous letters from members of the public.
    Physical Location: Hoover Institution Archives
    Creator: Stark, Shirley Mae.


    Collection is open for research. Box 14, folder 3 may not be used without permission of the Archivist.
    The Hoover Institution Archives only allows access to copies of audiovisual items. To listen to sound recordings or to view videos or films during your visit, please contact the Archives at least two working days before your arrival. We will then advise you of the accessibility of the material you wish to see or hear. Please note that not all audiovisual material is immediately accessible.

    Publication Rights

    For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Archives.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Shirley Mae Stark papers, [Box number], Hoover Institution Archives.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired by the Hoover Institution Archives in 1991.


    Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. To determine if this has occurred, find the collection in Stanford University's online catalog at http://searchworks.stanford.edu/ . Materials have been added to the collection if the number of boxes listed in the online catalog is larger than the number of boxes listed in this finding aid.

    Biographical Note

    1930 February 28 Shirley Mae Stark (née Gust) born in Michigan City, Indiana
    1930 May 28 William Robert Stark born to George and Gladys Stark in Michigan City, Indiana
    1949 October 22 Shirley and William Stark married in Key West, Florida
    1951 October 29 Daughter Susan born
    1967 May 19 William Stark shot down and captured just south of Hanoi in Vietnam
    circa 1967-1973 Shirley Stark worked part-time as a teller at Bank of America and volunteered with POW/MIA advocacy groups.
    1973 March 4 William Stark released during Operation Homecoming

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Shirley Mae Stark papers, the bulk of which date from 1967 to 1974, document the experience of American POWs and their families during the Vietnam War through correspondence, newsletters, press releases, clippings, other printed matter, photographs, and memorabilia.
    After her husband was captured in Vietnam, Shirley Stark became involved with various advocacy groups, particularly the National League of Families of American Prisoners in Southeast Asia, that worked to raise awareness of the plight of missing and captured American soldiers. As a member of these groups, she received correspondence and newsletters providing information about efforts on behalf of POWs/MIAs, which can be found in the Correspondence series, under POW/MIA advocacy groups. She also participated in fundraising activities, which included the sale of rubber stamps, bumper stickers, and bracelets. Examples of some of these items can be found in the Memorabilia series.
    Of particular note are the bracelets, each of which featured the name and date of capture of a POW. Individuals who purchased the bracelets could opt to receive further information about the POW and his family, and many went on to correspond with family members and the returned POWs. William Stark’s name was on one of the bracelets, and as a result, there is a large amount of correspondence from members of the public, particularly after his release, inquiring about his well-being and welcoming him home. This can be found in the Correspondence series, under General, particularly in the folders for 1973.
    Shirley Stark also received regular updates from the Department of the Navy relating to her husband’s pay and benefits, instructions for sending mail and packages to Vietnam, and the POW situation generally. These letters, many of which included informational attachments, can be found in the Correspondence series, under Department of the Navy. Other Navy and POW-related publications can be found in the Printed Matter series, which also contains clippings collected by Shirley Stark about the experiences of the POWs and their families, the work of the government and advocacy groups, and the return of the POWs to the United States. Some of these articles are specifically about the Stark family. Additional clippings, as well as some correspondence, photographs, and printed matter, can be found in the albums created by Shirley and Gladys Stark in the Oversize Materials series.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia.
    Navy wives.
    Prisoners of war.
    United States--Armed Forces.
    Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Prisoners and prisons, North Vietnamese.