Nancy Packer begins her interview with references to her family and early years in Washington, DC. She credits her father with helping her develop an interest in politics. She talks about her undergraduate and graduate education as a time of maturing into a responsible student who studied theology as an intellectual pursuit rather than a religious one. Her early years as a writer were highlighted by a publication in Harper’s magazine.
Arriving at Stanford, Packer characterizes herself as a newlywed who was somewhat adrift in the unfamiliar world of the university. She recalls her development as a writer by noting the influences that Wallace Stegner had on her career. She shares the struggles she had with procrastination, the processes involved in developing a short story, and her growing self-confidence. Packer also acknowledges that opportunities were extended to her as her husband, an attorney, went from being a faculty member in the law school to an administrator at Stanford.
Packer describes her teaching career as being focused on the needs of students. In developing the freshman English composition course, she speaks of creating a class for the instructors of freshman English and her role in reducing class size. She also relates the history of the Creative Writing Program and her role in its development. Her publications range from books involving teaching to collections of short stories. Packer notes that her efforts to be a good citizen of the university resulted in her receiving all three awards the university bestows.
Nancy Packer, Stanford Historical Society, oral histories, interviews, Department of English, humanities, creative writing, teaching, literature, and pioneering women
November 5, 2014 - December 10, 2014
Stanford Historical Society Oral History Program interviews, 1999-2012