George Browne and Robert Frost met in 1915 when Frost delivered the Phi Beta Kappa lecture at Tufts College. Impressed with what he heard, Browne struck a deal with Frost. In exchange for speaking without fee to the boys at the Browne and Nichols School, a private day school co-founded by Browne in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Brown promised to arrange several lecture engagements for Frost for which Frost would be paid. He did so, and material in the collection documents this. The Browne and Frost families were close friends from 1915 to 1920 with the Frosts visiting often at the Webster farm in Bridgewater, N.H., which was the family home of Browne’s wife.
In 1968 Amy Townsend and her sister, Eleanor Gallishaw, donated to Plymouth State College the books, letters, manuscripts, and other Frostiana collected by their father, George H. Browne. This material is the core of the George H. Browne Robert Frost Collection. Subsequent to the initial gift from George Browne’s daughters, several other contributions have been made to the collection. Kathleen Morrison has been most generous as has Lesley Frost Ballantine. Elizabeth Doolittle and The Jones Library donated extensive clipping files.
The Robert Frost collection has examples of both primary and secondary sources. What’s the difference?
Primary sources are original materials created during the event or time period being studied.
Examples of primary sources available in this collection include photographs, letters, speeches, poems, and sound recordings of poems.
Secondary sources are created after the studied event took place. They are one step removed from the event or fact and interpret, analyze, or comment on primary sources. Examples of secondary sources from the Frost collection include biographies, literary criticism, and newspaper articles.
However, one item may be either a primary or secondary source depending on your research. If you are studying the poems of Robert Frost, a newspaper article critiquing his work would be a secondary source. If you were studying how Frost’s work was received during his lifetime, the same article would then be a primary source.
This collection contains letters to and from Robert Frost and George H. Browne, books by and about Robert Frost, manuscripts, negatives, slides, photographs, audio and audio-visual recordings of Robert Frost and others (audio samples available above), memorabilia connected to Robert Frost, newspaper and magazine clippings about Robert Frost, publications from events that Robert Frost attended and/or were held in his honor, and miscellaneous items related to Robert Frost and the early administration of this collection.
This poem, written in 1912, describes a winter walk in Plymouth.
I had for my winter evening walk—
No one at all with whom to talk,
But I had the cottages in a row
Up to their shining eyes in snow.
And I thought I had the folk within:
I had the sound of a violin;
I had a glimpse through curtain laces
Of youthful forms and youthful faces.
I had such company outward bound.
I went till there were no cottages found.
I turned and repented, but coming back
I saw no window but that was black.
Over the snow my creaking feet
Disturbed the slumbering village street
Like profanation, by your leave,
At ten o'clock of a winter eve.