Donald Windham's many books include the lovely short novel Two People about a middle-aged American man's romance with a moody 17 year-old Italian lad; a too-brief fiction called Tanaquil about a tomboy girl and an artistic boy modeled on George Platt Lynes; his impressive debut The Dog Star [and Kindle] praised by Mann and Gide alike; his great Lost Friendships: A Memoir of Truman Capote Tennessee Williams and Others, as well as the collection Tennessee Williams' Letters to Donald Windham.
Born in Atlanta in 1920, he moved to New York City when he was 19, with his artist boyfriend Fred Melton. Within four years, Windham, who never went to college, was dating a Princeton undergrad named Sandy Campbell. Through the ups and downs of friendships with a large gay circle including Truman Capote, Lincoln Kirstein, Pavel Tchelitchew, Paul Cadmus, and Tennesse Williams, they stayed together 45 years until Campbell's death in 1988. Windham lived on until 2010, leaving the bulk of their estate to fund writing awards of $1 million annually administered by Yale and named for the gay couple. The second Windham-Campbell Awards were announced this year.
Karl Bissinger's photo from 1949 shows Windham, second from left, with the ballerina Tanaquil Le Clercq, the artist Buffie Johnson, Tennessee Williams, and Gore Vidal.