Name: Shuford, Cecil Eugene "Gene" (1907-1986)
Cecil Eugene (“C.E.” or “Gene”) Shuford was born on February 21, 1907 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. He attended the University of Arkansas from 1924 to 1928, graduating with a B.A., while also working as a reporter for the Fayetteville Daily Democrat from 1926-1928. In 1928 he enrolled in Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in Evanston, Illinois, graduating in 1929 with a M.S.J. From 1929 to 1930, he taught Journalism at the Alabama Polytechnic Institute, and then taught English at the University of Arkansas from 1934 to 1936.
In 1933 Shuford began publishing poetry, and achieved national recognition with a group of nine poems about Western outlaws published in Scribner’s magazine that year. From 1936 to 1937, Shuford was Director of Publicity and an Assistant Professor of English and Journalism at the Trinity University in Waxahachie, Texas.
On June 27, 1937, Shuford married Catherine Brooks. In that same year he wrote “Ours Was the Best Generation,” which was published in Scribner’s, and joined North Texas State Teachers College, where from 1937 to 1942 Shuford was Assistant Professor of Journalism and Director of Publicity. A popular teacher, many of his students would call him “Pop”.
To further his education in the field of Journalism, Shuford attended the University of Wisconsin in 1941. From 1942 to 1945, Shuford was on leave from NTSTC to serve in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II, where he was a ground school instructor. He was discharged in 1945 with the rank of 1st Lieutenant. Returning to NTSTC after the war, Shuford became the first head of the Journalism Department, and from 1945 to until his retirement in 1974, he served as Director of the Journalism department. As a member of the professonial journalism fraternity Sigma Delta Chi, he served on the state executive committee from 1953 to 1954. In 1962, Shuford was selected to be part of that year’s edition of Who’s Who in America.
Shuford was also a free-lance writer, and a book critic for the Denton Record Chronicle. He reviewed “Six Crises” written by Richard Nixon. Shuford’s first book, The Red Bull, and Other Poems, was published in 1964 under his pen name Gene Shuford. It won the 1964 South and West book-brochure publication award.
Shuford was a member of Poetry Society of America. He won two of the Society’s annual awards: the Michael Sloane Fellowship Award in 1962-1963 for ”Sonata for the Time After Sunday,” about the death of Ernest Hemingway, and “The Death in Our Family,” about the assassination of John F. Kennedy, won the William Marion Reedy Award for 1965-1966.
In 1973, Shuford’s second book, Selected Poems, 1933-1971 won the Texas Institute of Letters Voertman Award for the best book of poems published in 1972 by a Texas writer. Shuford published 75 poems and articles in various magazines and anthologies. Shuford has received many prizes in Poetry Society of Texas competitions. His work appeared in various yearbooks published by the Poetry Society of Texas, and in The Arlington Quarterly, New Mexico Quarterly, The Iowa State Liquor Store, Kaleidograph, Frontier and Midland, New Republic, Saturday Evening Post and Southwest Review, The Ax-Grinder, Voices, and Vision. On his retirement in 1974, Shuford received the President’s Award for “Outstanding Contributions to North Texas State University." In 1975, Shuford was selected as an alternate for Poet Laureate of Texas. In 1979, his third book, 1300 Main Street and Other Poems, won the 6th Annual Nortex Press Book Award.
Shuford’s wife, Catherine Brooks Shuford, died in 1980. She had been a member of Denton High School’s faculty from 1952 to 1974, and was Chairman of the English Department. She had served as president of the Denton Classroom Teachers Association, and was a member of the Ariel Club. In 1981 ”The Long Journey Between Cultures,” a manuscript by Abdul as told to Gene Shuford, was published in Vision. In 1985 Shuford published his fourth book, Flowering Noose, with illustrations by Jose Cisneros. Months later, on January 22, 1986, Cecil Eugene (“Gene”) Shuford died at the age of 78.