William Gass and Stanley Elkin were colleagues at Washington University in St. Louis for 26 years, from the time of Gass joining the faculty in 1969 (Elkin joined WUSTL in 1960) to Elkin's death in 1995. Although Gass was hired as faculty in the philosophy department, and Elkin taught in the English department, they both participated in the Writing Program for many years.

Their mutual admiration for each other's work predated Gass coming to WUSTL, as evidenced in The Purdue Exponent article below, from 1968. They often introduced each other at readings and participated in literary events together; examples of these instances are also here, as well as a touching photograph of the two friends laughing together. Gass continues to champion Elkin's books, most recently in an introduction to a new paperback edition of Elkin's 1976 novel, The Franchiser, published by Dalkey Archive Press.

The Stanley Elkin Papers in the Special Collections consist primarily of Elkin's own manuscripts, including his plays, filmscripts, essays, and stories, with the bulk of the material being manuscripts and editorial matter toward his novels. Elkin's manuscripts include all stages of his drafts, from autograph notes written on university exam books to word processor diskettes. Also included in the Elkin Papers are an extensive general and professional correspondence, manuscripts by other authors, teaching materials, and his own college literary papers.