Frost, Robert (1874-1963)


Robert Frost at the dedication of the Frost School 1962

The library has a collection of books and articles written by and about Robert Frost and his work.  There is also a small collection of reviews, articles, and ephemera.  The Robert Frost Conference Room houses a permanent exhibit about Frost’s life and the office of the Robert Frost Foundation.  The Robert Frost Festival is held every year inthe Lawrence Public Library on the last weekend of October.

Robert Frost was born March 26, 1874 in San Francisco to William P.  Frost, Jr. and Isabelle Moodie.  After his father’s death in 1885 his mother moved the family back to New England. His mother was a schoolteacher at Salem Depot, New Hampshire and introduced him to poets such as Wordsworth and Ralph Waldo Emerson.  Frost grew up in and around Lawrence, Massachusetts and graduated from Lawrence High School in 1892.  He shared being co-valedictorian with Elinor M. White, the woman who would become his wife three years later. He published his first poems in the Lawrence High School Bulletin.  The poem “La Noche Triste” about the conquest of Tenochtitlan in the April 1890 issue.  Frost continued to publish in the Bulletin and would become its chief editor during his senior year.  His final offering to the Bulletin was his valedictory “A Monument of After-Thought unveiled” and the “Class Hymn.”

Frost spent one semester at Dartmouth College.  He also worked at a textile mill, was a reporter for a newspaper, and taught school, all the while continuing to write poetry.  He sold his first poem entitled “My Butterfly” to the New York Independent in 1894.  He married Elinor in 1895 and helped his mother run a private school in Lawrence where his first son was born.  He spent 2 years at Harvard College, but did not finish his degree.  He tried chicken farming in Methuen, Mass.  He lost both a son and a daughter in those early years.  Again he tried teaching in Derry and later in Plymouth, NH.

In 1912, Frost sold his farm and with an annuity from his grandfather, moved to England.  He started to write poetry full time and with the help of Ezra Pound was published in a few periodicals.  His first volume of poetry was A Boy’s Will (1913).  North of Boston followed in 1914 and a year later they returned to America.  His second volume was a best seller and Frost overcame insipient shyness to give readings and lectures across the country.  He became a poet-in-residence at Amherst College from 1917-1920.  He founded the Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College, serving there each summer as lecturer and consultant.  From 1921-23 his was poet-in-residence at the University of Michigan.

His career continued in with the publication of many volumes and private tragedy: his daughter, Marjorie, died in 1934; Elinor died in 1938; and his only remaining son committed suicide in 1940.  Complete Poems was published in 1949.  He was the first poet to read at the inauguration of an American president when he read “The Outright” in 1961 at Pres. Kennedy’s inauguration.  Frost returned to Lawrence, January 7, 1962 for the dedication of an elementary school named in his honor.  His final volume In the Clearing was published in 1962.  Frost died in Boston on Jan. 29, 1963 and was buried in the family plot in Old Bennington, VT.  Robert Frost was an internationally known poet who used a traditional style during an era of iconoclasm and experimentation.  He was exemplified by his use of New England idioms, characters, and settings.

2 Responses

  1. Came clueless, left worried. Thanks for the post. – Lets have some new clichs. – Samuel Goldwyn 1882 – 1974

  2. […] as part of the Inauguration Day program. The first poet to perform a piece at an inauguration was Lawrence’s own Robert Frost, and it did not go quite as […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: