Partner Newton Arvin

Queer Places:
Cornell University (Ivy League), 410 Thurston Ave, Ithaca, NY 14850
Harvard University (Ivy League), 2 Kirkland St, Cambridge, MA 02138
Smith College (Seven Sisters), 9 Elm St, Northampton, MA 01063

Edward W. "Ned" Spofford (1931 - February 17, 2013) was involved in the scandal that forced Newton Arvin, after teaching at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts for 38 years, to retire in 1960 after pleading guilty to charges stemming from the possession of pictures of semi-nude males that the law deemed pornographic. Spofford continued teaching literature after his termination as professor from Smith College at Stanford University. His publications include The Social Poetry of the Georgics.

Ned was born in Lee, son of Roscoe and Harriet Washburn Spofford, and graduated from Lee High School in 1950. He received his undergraduate degree from Amherst College and his graduate degree from Cornell University, with post-graduate studies at Harvard and the American Academy in Rome.

A professor of Classics, he held posts at Smith, Cornell University and Stanford University, retiring from Stanford in 1988.

The Mary Augusta Jordan Professor at Smith, a preeminent literary critic admired by Edmund Wilson and Lillian Hellman, and the mentor (and onetime lover) of Truman Capote, Newton Arvin had won the National Book Award in 1951 for a biography of Herman Melville. The other suspect arrested, Edward W. "Ned" Spofford, just due to start his graduate studies at Harvard, was Arvin’s dearest friend, possibly his lover. Though Arvin did find the words, telling words, confessing in his characteristically weak and timid way to Spofford that "I couldn't go through this alone", it ruined their relationship; Spofford was so angry he refused Arvin's deathbed offer of reconciliation. Eventually, though, Spofford grew up: "Newton and I," he later allowed, "were each other's closest friend."

A longtime resident of Palo Alto, Calif., Ned spent his retirement years leading a contemplative life reading, listening to music, writing poetry and enjoying time with his colleagues and former students.

He passed away on February 17, 2013, at Stanford Medical Center in Stanford, California.[1]

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