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Hugo Saglio '31
A New Publication, and a Remembrance
Hugo Saglio died on May 11, 2004, at the age of 94 after a short illness. Though he had not been able to attend Friends meetings recently, many will remember Hugo and his late wife Helen as regulars at the Annual Meeting.
Some will also recall his account of his experiences as a student of Robert Frost, at a time when Hugo was himself writing poetry. David Morton also took a particular interest in the young writer, and included a number of his poems in the annual volumes of Amherst Undergraduate Verse that appeared under Morton’s editorship from 1925 to 1931.
Hugo was born in Glastonbury, Conn., on June 1, 1909. He graduated from Weaver High School in Hartford, the first totally blind student to attend a Connecticut public high school. (His blindness was the result of a childhood accident.) He was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Amherst College in 1931, and received a master’s degree in English literature from Harvard.
He taught English at Hartford Federal College for a time, and served as Educational Services Officer for the federal Office of Price Administration in Connecticut during World War II. He was then briefly director of Public Relations at Hillyer College, and spent the rest of his career in the Connecticut Development Commission. He retired as Director of Communications Services in 1975.
He received the Amherst Alumni Council’s Award for Distinguished Service in 1994. Readers of this newsletter know of his many contributions to the Library, chiefly of books inscribed to him by Robert Frost. His wife of 56 years, Helen (Miller), as well as his brothers, Charles, John, and Henry, died before him. He is survived by his sister, Frances S. Dogan; two sisters-in-law, Clara Saglio and Virginia Miller; and by numerous nieces and nephews, many of whom were present for a memorial celebration of his life on May 15 in Bloomfield, Conn., where he had lived for a number of years. On that occasion, members of his family and friends shared many recollections of Hugo’s life and work. Amherst was represented by John Lancaster and Daria D’Arienzo, who spoke of his continuing interest in the College and its Library. Donald B. Engley ’39, a neighbor and friend (and a founding member of the Friends) was also in attendance.
But this note is not just an obituary of a valued Friend, though that is appropriate and important. Because Hugo’s association with Robert Frost extended beyond his student days, his gifts to the Library included letters he had received over the years from Frost.
Donald Sheehy, one of the editors of an edition in progress of Frost’s collected letters, found Hugo’s correspondence remarkable, and proposed a Friends publication, to contain the letters, reminiscences by Hugo of Frost, and photographs.
To that end, Sheehy visited Hugo in January, with John Lancaster and Daria D’Arienzo, and interviewed him at length about Frost, Amherst, and his own work and writing. The results of that interview will be included with the other material in a collection to be titled “Your Success Is My Success” (a quotation from one of Frost’s letters to Hugo). Publication is expected in the fall.