The Robert Frost Collection


Robert Frost entered Dartmouth College in 1892 as a member of the Class of 1896. He left the College within several months, never to return as a student. He did return, however, as a beloved and respected poet, lecturing often to classes as the Ticknor Fellow and participating in the Great Issues program. At his death in 1963, he had received nearly every possible award granted to a poet. Through the generosity of Robert Frost, his long-time secretary Kathleen Johnston Morrison, and many others, the Robert Frost Collection at Dartmouth is one of the largest and most important in the world.

Printed Materials

The printed resources of the Robert Frost collection, totaling some fifteen hundred items, include not only the poet's own works, but biographical and critical material as well. The coverage of various editions and issues of Frost's books ranges from A Boy's Will, his first regularly published volume (1913), to In the Clearing, released in March of 1962 on his eighty-eighth birthday. Author's inscriptions abound within the collection. Some are short; others are long, running a page or more and including, sometimes, a whole poem or a quotation from one. Binding and other variants, including inscribed and association copies, abound. (There are, for instance, five copies of A Boy's Will and thirteen of his second book, North of Boston.)

Manuscripts and letters

The manuscript collection contains perhaps the richest body of manuscripts and correspondence of the poet in existence. Frost's poetry notebooks show the growth of the poet's ideas, and drafts of his poems, sometimes over decades. Dartmouth holds forty-four of the forty-eight notebooks that are known to have survived. The collection also includes a large number of drafts, in both holograph and typescript, of poems, many of which are the best known and best loved of Frost's work. Finally, much of the poet's correspondence, both incoming letters and the drafts or final copies of his responses, are present. This portion of the collection dates from 1906 to Frost's death in 1963.


The Library holds over two thousand photographic images of Robert Frost, from infancy to 1963. While the majority of these images are black and white, there are a few color slides and color photographs of the poet. As Frost was one of the most photographed American poets, the collection contains images from most eras and most major events in his life. Included among the images are both formal studio portraits and informal amateur snapshots. A number of the images are by professional photographers, such as Lotte Jacobi and Yousuf Karsh, and some images have restrictions on use.

Audio Resources

The unmistakable tone and cadence of Frost's voice speaking, and "saying" his poems has been captured on over 225 audio recordings in the Library. From 1936 to 1962, these recordings From 1936 to 1962, these recordings - some professional, some amateur - provide the researcher with an aural history of the poet at work. Many of the recordings were done at Dartmouth, where Frost was a popular speaker and where he participated in a number of the Great Issues programs.

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