Born in San Francisco on March 26, 1874, Robert Lee Frost (named after Southern General Robert E. Lee) was highly admired and appreciated for his great expertise on American colloquial speech and his realistic portrayal of rural life.
His poems are still sold even in the present day because their messages are timeless.
Here are 25 interesting facts about Robert Frost:
#1 His father was a teacher and later an editor of the San Francisco Evening Bulletin and his mother was a Scottish immigrant. His mother joined the Swedenborgian church (based on the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg) and had him involved in it.
#2 As a young boy, he loved his mother reading to him and from this, he was inspired to become an accomplished writer. Furthermore, this initiated him to an extensive array of literature,
#3 During his lifetime, he would receive more than 40 honorary degrees, plus, he is the only person who has won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry four times: in 1924, 1931, 1937 and 1943.
#4 He was the first poet in history to recite a poem at a Presidential inauguration. In 1961, at the age of 87, he was asked to write a poem at the John F. Kennedy inauguration. Although he had written a new poem expressly for the event, he was unable to read it on that day due to the glaring sun. He ended up reciting from memory “The Gift Outright.”
#5 He lived in the United State most of his life but moved to England for a period of time with his family.
#6 The couple moved to England in 1912, after they failed at farming in New Hampshire. Moreover, he was not finding success with publishing his poems, therefore, the couple moved to England due to the vast range of publishers. In England, he met and was influenced by Robert Graves and Rupert Brooke.
#7 He was also introduced to Ezra Pound (an American critic and poet) who helped to promote and publish his work.
#8 He and his wife Elinor were parents to two sons (Elliott and Carol) and four daughters (Lesley, Irma, Marjorie, and Elinor Bettina). They stayed outside of London, into a cottage in Beaconsfield.
#9 They returned to the United States in 1915 and purchased a farm in Franconia, New Hampshire.
#10 In 1892, he graduates from Lawrence High School and shared valedictorian honors (an academic title of success) with Elinor White, with whom he had already fallen in love.
#11 He excelled in many classes, like botany, history, Greek, and Latin.
#12 In the fall of 1892, he joined the Dartmouth College, however, he stayed for less than a semester. Then he returned home and took many different jobs such as handling newspapers, teaching, and factory worker.
#13 In 1897, he joined Harvard College as a special student. He quit after two years without receiving a degree, due to a lack of time for studies (he was raising a family).
#14 Currently, Amherst College possesses a few of its manuscripts along with a bigger collection of photographs, ephemera, and sound recordings.
#15 During his years at Lawrence High School, he became interested in poetry and his first poem was published in the high school’s magazine. In 1913, he had published his first book of poetry – A Boy’s Will.
#16 He was paid 15 dollars for his 1st published poem that appeared in the New York Independent in 1894, named – “My Butterfly.”
#17 His poems are usually gloomy and dark, which isn’t unexpected considering the tragedies of his personal life. Robert Browning and Ralph Waldo Emerson were the writers who most influenced him.
#18 His best-known works include “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” (which consists of 4 similar constructed stanzas) and “The Road Not Taken” (first published in 1916), an autobiographical and narrative poem that represents the choices you have in life. In total, there are over 30 collections of his poems.
#19 He was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal (one of the highest civilian award) in 1960 for his poetic works. More importantly, he received 4 Pulitzers (still a record) for his poetry.
#20 In 1920, he purchased a 150-acre farm and help establish the Bread Loaf School of English of Middlebury College. In 1916 he was made a member of the 250-member honor society – National Institute of Arts and Letters. In addition, he had taught at a few American campuses.
#21 His mother died of cancer in 1900. In 1940, his son Carol commits suicide.
#22 In 1885, his father died of tuberculosis (an infectious disease that usually affects the lungs), leaving the family with $8. He was just 11 years old. He had to put Jeanie, his sister, (in 1920) to a psychiatric hospital. His sister died there in 1929.
#23 In 1937, his wife, Elinor, developed breast cancer and died of heart failure in 1938.
#24 On January 29, 1963, at the age of 89, he died of complications from prostate surgery in Boston Massachusetts, US. He was buried at the Old Bennington Cemetery in Vermont.
#25 His epitaph from the gravestone reads: “I had a lover’s quarrel with the world.”