Robert Frost NYWTS 3

Robert Frost (1874-1963). Photo by Fred Palumbo, New York World-Telegram, 1941. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Robert Frost
Born Robert Lee Frost
March 26, 1874(1874-Template:MONTHNUMBER-26)
San Francisco, California,
United States
Died January Template:Dda
Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Occupation Poet, playwright

Signature File:Robert Frost Signature.svg

Robert Lee Frost (March 26, 1874 - January 29, 1963) was an American poet. He is highly regarded for his realistic depictions of rural life and his command of American colloquial speech.[1] His work frequently employed settings from rural life in New England in the early 20th century, using them to examine complex social and philosophical themes. A popular and often-quoted poet, Frost was honored frequently during his lifetime, receiving four Pulitzer Prizes for poetry.



Frost was born in San Francisco, California, to Isabelle (Moodie) and journalist William Prescott Frost, Jr.[1] His mother was of Scottish descent, and his father descended from Nicholas Frost of Tiverton, Devon, England, who had sailed to New Hampshire in 1634 on the Wolfrana.(Citation needed)

Frost's father was a teacher and later an editor of the San Francisco Evening Bulletin (which later merged with the San Francisco Examiner), and an unsuccessful candidate for city tax collector. After his death on May 5, 1885, the family moved to Lawrence, Massachusetts, under the patronage of (Robert's grandfather) William Frost, Sr., who was an overseer at a New England mill. Frost graduated from Lawrence High School in 1892.[2]

Although known for his later association with rural life, Frost grew up in the city, and published his first poem in his high school's magazine. He attended Dartmouth College for two months, long enough to be accepted into the Theta Delta Chi fraternity.


Jb modern frost 2 e

Frost, circa 1910. Courtesy Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-116102) & Wikimedia Commons.

In 1894 Frost sold his first poem, "My Butterfly: An elegy" (published in the November 8, 1894, edition of the New York Independent) for $15. Proud of his accomplishment, he proposed marriage to Elinor Miriam White, but she demurred, wanting to finish college (at St. Lawrence University) before they married. Frost then went on an excursion to the Great Dismal Swamp in Virginia, and asked Elinor again upon his return. Having graduated, she agreed, and they were married at Harvard University,(Citation needed) where he attended liberal arts studies for two years. He did well at Harvard, but left to support his growing family.[3][4][5]

Shortly before dying, Robert's grandfather purchased a farm for Robert and Elinor in Derry, New Hampshire. Robert worked the farm for 9 years, writing early in the mornings and producing many of the poems that would later become famous. Ultimately his farming proved unsuccessful and he returned to the field of education as an English teacher at New Hampshire's Pinkerton Academy from 1906 to 1911, then at the New Hampshire Normal School (now Plymouth State University) in Plymouth, New Hampshire.

In 1912 Frost sailed with his family to Great Britain, living first in Glasgow before settling in Beaconsfield outside London. His first book of poetry, A Boy's Will, was published the next year. In England he made some important acquaintances, including Edward Thomas (a member of the group known as the Dymock poets), T.E. Hulme, and Ezra Pound. Frost wrote some of his best work while in England.

Frost returned to America in 1915, launching a career of writing, teaching, and lecturing. During the years 1916-20, 1923-24, and 1927-1938, he taught English at Amherst College, in Massachusetts, notably encouraging his students to account for the sounds of the human voice in their writing.

For 42 years - from 1921 to 1963 - Frost spent almost every summer and fall teaching at the Bread Loaf School of English of Middlebury College, at its mountain campus at Ripton, Vermont. He is credited as a major influence upon the development of the school and its writing programs; the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference gained renown during Frost's time there.(Citation needed) The college now owns and maintains his former Ripton farmstead as a national historic site near the Bread Loaf campus. In 1921 Frost accepted a fellowship teaching post at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where he resided until 1927; while there he was awarded a lifetime appointment at the University as a Fellow in Letters.[6] The Robert Frost Ann Arbor home is now situated at The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. Frost returned to Amherst in 1927. In 1940 he bought a Template:Convert/LoffAoffDbSonNa plot in South Miami, Florida, naming it Pencil Pines; he spent his winters there for the rest of his life.[7]

Harvard's 1965 alumni directory indicates Frost received an honorary degree there. Although he never graduated from college, Frost received over 40 honorary degrees, including ones from Princeton, Oxford and Cambridge universities; and was the only person to receive two honorary degrees from Dartmouth College. During his lifetime, the Robert Frost Middle School in Fairfax, Virginia, the Robert L. Frost School in Lawrence, Massachusetts, and the main library of Amherst College were named after him.

File:Robert Frost's Grave.JPG

Frost was 86 when he spoke and performed a reading of his poetry at the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy on January 20, 1961.

Private lifeEdit

Frost's personal life was plagued with grief and loss. In 1885 when Frost was 11, his father died of tuberculosis, leaving the family with just eight dollars. Frost's mother died of cancer in 1900. In 1920, Frost had to commit his younger sister Jeanie to a mental hospital, where she died nine years later. Mental illness apparently ran in Frost's family, as both he and his mother suffered from depression, and his daughter Irma was committed to a mental hospital in 1947. Frost's wife, Elinor, also experienced bouts of depression.[6]

Elinor and Robert Frost had six children: son Elliot (1896-1904, died of cholera); daughter Lesley Frost Ballantine (1899-1983); son Carol (1902-1940, committed suicide); daughter Irma (1903-1967); daughter Marjorie (1905-1934, died as a result of puerperal fever after childbirth); and daughter Elinor Bettina (died just three days after her birth in 1907). Only Lesley and Irma outlived their father. Frost's wife, who had heart problems throughout her life, developed breast cancer in 1937, and died of heart failure in 1938.[6]

Frost died in Boston on January 29, 1963, of complications from prostate surgery.

He was buried at the Old Bennington Cemetery in Bennington, Vermont. His epitaph quotes a line from one of his poems: "I had a lover's quarrel with the world."[8]


Pulitzer PrizesEdit

Frost won the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry four times:

  • 1924 for New Hampshire
  • 1931 for Collected Poems
  • 1937 for A Further Range
  • 1943 for A Witness Tree

Frost PlaceEdit

Main article: The Frost Place

When Frost returned to the United States from England in 1915, he bought a farm in Franconia, New Hampshire,  which served as the Frosts' family home until 1920 and summer home until 1938. This homestead is maintained today as The Frost Place, a museum and poetry conference site.


Main article: Robert Frost bibliography


  • Twilight. Lawrence, MA:, 1894; reprinted, University of Virginia, 1966.
  • A Boy's Will. D. Nutt, 1913; New York: Holt, 1915.
  • North of Boston. D. Nutt, 1914; New York: Holt, 1915; New York: Dodd, 1977.
  • Mountain Interval. New York: Holt, 1916.
  • New Hampshire. New York: Holt, 1923; reprinted, New Dresden Press, 1955.
  • Selected Poems. New York: Holt, 1923.
  • Several Short Poems. New York: Holt, 1924.
  • West-Running Brook. New York: Holt, 1928.
  • The Lovely Shall Be Choosers. New York: Random House, 1929.
  • The Lone Striker. New York: Knopf, 1933.
  • Two Tramps in Mud-Time. New York: Holt, 1934.
  • The Gold Hesperidee. Bibliophile Press, 1935.
  • Three Poems. Baker Library Press, 1935.
  • A Further Range. New York: Holt, 1936.
  • From Snow to Snow. New York: Holt, 1936.
  • A Witness Tree. New York: Holt, 1942.
  • Steeple Bush. New York: Holt, 1947.
  • Greece. Black Rose Press, 1948.
  • Hard Not to Be King. House of Books, 1951.
  • Aforesaid. New York: Holt, 1954.
  • And All We Call American. 1958.
  • The Gift Outright. New York: Holt, 1961.
  • In the Clearing. New York: Holt, 1962.


  • A Masque of Reason (verse drama). New York: Holt, 1942.
  • A Masque of Mercy (verse drama). New York: Holt, 1947.

Except where noted, bibliographical information courtesy the Poetry Foundation.[9]

Audio / videoEdit

Poem ~ Fire and Ice by Robert Frost00:42

Poem ~ Fire and Ice by Robert Frost

Robert Frost reads Birches03:04

Robert Frost reads Birches

  • Robert Frost Reading (LP). New York: Caedmon, 1957;
    • also released as Robert Frost Reads His Poetry (cassette). New York: Caedmon, 1988.
  • Robert Frost Reads the Poems of Robert Frost (LP). New York: Decca, 1957; New York: MCA, 1977.
  • Robert Frost Reads (cassette). New York: HarperCollins, 1976.
  • Robert Frost (cassette). Washington, DC: National Public Radio, 1981.
  • The Voice of the Poet: Robert Frost (CD). New York: Random House Audio, 2003.

Except where noted, bibliographical information courtesy WorldCat.[10]

Poems by Robert FrostEdit

  1. Mending Wall
  2. Nothing Gold Can Stay
  3. The Road Not Taken

See alsoEdit



  1. 1.0 1.1 Philip L. Gerber, [ Robert Frost, Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica Inc. Web, Dec. 21, 2008.
  2. Ehrlich, Eugene; Carruth, Gorton (1982). The Oxford Illustrated Literary Guide to the United States. vol. 50. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195031865. 
  3. Nancy Lewis Tuten; John Zubizarreta (2001). The Robert Frost encyclopedia. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 145. ISBN 9780313294648. Retrieved 17 July 2010. "Halfway through the spring semester of his second year, Dean Briggs released him from Harvard without prejudice, lamenting the loss of so good a student." 
  4. Jay Parini (2000). Robert Frost: A Life. Macmillan. pp. 64-65. ISBN 9780805063417. Retrieved 17 July 2010. 
  5. Jeffrey Meyers (10 April 1996). Robert Frost: a biography. Houghton Mifflin. Retrieved 17 July 2010. "Frost remained at Harvard until March of his sophomore year, when he decamped in the middle of a term...." 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Frost, Robert; Poirier, Richard (ed.); Richardson, Mark (ed.) (1995). Collected Poems, Prose, & Plays. The Library of America. vol. 81. New York: Library of America. ISBN 188301106X. 
  7. Muir, Helen (1995). Frost in Florida. Valiant Press. pp. 41. ISBN 0963346164. 
  8. "Robert Frost ," Find a Grave. Web, June 30, 2011.
  9. "Robert Frost," Poetry Foundation, Web, June 30, 2011.
  10. Search results = au:Robert Frost + audiobook, OCLC Online Computer Library Center Inc. Web, Oct. 4, 2015.

External linksEdit

Audio / video
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