Robert Frost (1948)
Robert Frost taught at Amherst College, off and on, for over forty years. He first came to campus to give a reading of his poetry in April 1916 while working on his third book of poetry, Mountain Interval. Later that year, Amherst College President Alexander Meiklejohn invited Frost to join the faculty with the rank of full Professor beginning in January 1917. Frost taught at Amherst until January 1920 when he quit over a dispute with Amherst Professor Stark Young and President Meiklejohn.

Frost returned to Amherst in 1923, though his formal teaching duties ended in 1925. From 1926 until 1938, Frost was Professor of English on the John Woodruff Simpson Foundation endowment. In this position, Frost held informal classes and readings rather than running regular course assignment.

Frost left Amherst again in 1938 and divided the next decade between Harvard and Dartmouth. He returned to Amherst College in 1949 as the Simpson Lecturer in Literature, an appointment he held until the end of his life in 1963. Although Frost generally viewed teaching as a distraction from the more serious work of writing poetry, he was always generous in giving his time to the students at Amherst.

Inscription by Robert Frost in A Boy's Will (1913)

The College holds an outstanding collection of Frost's appearances in print, including multiple copies of his works in first editions. The majority of the Frost holdings are gifts from Amherst alumni Martin Howes, class of 1926, a student of Frost's. In fact, many of the College's copies of Frost's books were given to Amherst by the Martin K. Howes estate.

Published editions of Frost's work can be found by searching the Five Colleges Libraries Catalog and Books by Robert Frost in the Amherst College Archives.

The College holds the first printing of the first edition of A Boy's Will (1913), inscribed by Frost to Martin Howes '26. In the lower right hand corner, Frost wrote, "This is in its very first binding R. F."  A Boy's Will. London: David Nutt, 1913.

Robert Frost Collection Guides

Amherst College's Robert Frost Collection includes literary manuscripts, correspondence, photographs, newspaper clippings and magazine articles, ephemera, audio recordings and other materials related to Robert Frost's career as a poet and teacher. Correspondents include Joseph Blumenthal, G. R. Elliot, James Hayford, Otto Manthey-Zorn, Lawrance Thompson and George F. Whicher.

The College's Robert Frost Periodicals Collection (PDF) is a substantial collection of Frost's magazine and journal appearances.

The most significant collection of Robert Frost manuscripts is held by Dartmouth. Consult the Dartmouth Library Robert Frost Collection Guide for more information about their holdings and use policies.

Significant holdings can also be found in the Jones Library Robert Frost Collection Guide.

Please note: Amherst College does not have any authority over copyright in Robert Frost's work. Contact information for questions about Frost's copyrights can be found in the Harry Ransom Center's WATCH File.

Robert Frost Library

The main library at Amherst College is named for Robert Frost. In 1962 President Plimpton announced that Amherst College had received an anonymous gift of $3.5 million for the construction of a new library to be named in Frost's honor. Robert Frost died in January 1963.

On October 26, 1963, President John F. Kennedy spoke at the dedication ceremony for the new building, one of his last public appearances. Construction was completed in 1965.

For more about President Kennedy's visit to Amherst College, see The President and the Poet.

Tags:  Robert Frost