Abstract

The poet and essayist Robert Francis settled in Amherst, Mass., in 1926, three years after his graduation from Harvard, and created a literary life that stretched for the better part of half a century. An associate of Robert Frost and friend of many other writers, Francis occasionally worked as a teacher or lecturer, including a brief stint on the faculty at Mount Holyoke College, but he sustained himself largely through his writing, living simply in "Fort Juniper," a cottage he built on Market Hill Road in North Amherst. A recipient of the Shelley Award (1939) and the Academy of American Poets award for distinguished poetic achievement (1984), Francis was a poet in residence at both Tufts (1955) and Harvard (1960) Universities. He died in Amherst in July 1987.

The Francis Papers contains both manuscript and printed materials, drafts and finished words, documenting the illustrious career of the poet. Of particular note is Francis's correspondence with other writers, publishing houses, and readers, notably Paul Theroux. Also contains personal photographs and Francis family records and a small number of audio recordings of Francis reading his poetry. Letters from Francis to Regina Codey, 1936-1978, can be found in MS 314 along with two typescript poems by Francis.

Language:

English
Robert Francis Papers
1891-1986
17 boxes (8.25 linear ft.)
Call no.: MS 403

Background on Robert Francis

Robert Francis, 1925.

Robert Francis, 1925.

A key figure in poetry circles in western New England during the mid-twentieth century, Robert Francis was born in Upland, Pennsylvania, on August 12, 1901, the son of the Rev. Ebenezer F. Francis and Ida May Allen Francis. In 1910, the Francis family moved to Medford, Massachusetts, where Robert attended the local public schools, graduating valedictorian of his high school, before entering Harvard College in 1919 to study literature. After receiving his bachelor's degree and teaching English in the prep school of the American University in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1923, Francis returned to Harvard to study for a master's in education.

Teaching, however, never became Francis's focus in life. A few months after completing his M.Ed., he moved to Amherst to teach English in the high school, but remained only a year. From this slender beginning in western Massachusetts, Francis set out to create a base for a literary career, supporting himself at first by his writing and by teaching violin. Over the next decade, he poured forth a steady stream of articles for a variety of newspapers, including a regular stint writing the "Home Forum" column of the Christian Science Monitor (1938-1954). Francis's poetry and longer essays also began to appear in print on a regular basis.

In 1936, Francis published his first volume of poetry, Stand With Me Here, with Macmillan, a critically well-received collection of modern verse that firmly established his poetic voice and garnered the attention and of fellow writers. One of those instrumental in the publication of Stand With Me Here was David Morton of Amherst College, whose friendship brought the benefits both of encouragement and wide experience with publishing.

On the strength of his first book, Francis was invited in August 1937 to attend the Breadloaf Writers Conference as a fellow, where he met Kentucky writer James Still. Primed by his experience at Breadloaf, Francis published his second volume, Valhalla and Other Poems, a year later, winning praise from one of New England's best known poets, Robert Frost. With a rapidly expanding circle of literary friends and associates, Francis's career seemed to be gathering steam, and his efforts began to bear fruits: in March 1939, he was named co-recipient of the Shelley Memorial Award and in 1942-1943, he became the recipient of the Golden Rose Award of the New England Poetry Club. Through his involvement with the Club, he became acquainted with another important friend and literary sponsor, Gretchen (Mrs. Fiske) Warren.

With his fortunes waxing in 1940, Francis built a Spartan, one-man cottage on Market Hill Road in North Amherst to serve as his writing refuge. Fort Juniper, as he began to call the house, fulfilled the essential conditions of Francis's philosophy, combining his love of nature, leisure, and solitude.

In 1944, after brief service in the army during the Second World War, Francis accepted a position in the English Department at Mount Holyoke College. When he again resigned from the teaching profession, little more than a year later, he renewed his commitment to writing. In addition to contributing a regular column, "Country Comment," to Forum magazine, Francis published a novel, We Fly Away, in 1948, and a third volume of poems, Face Against the Glass, in 1950. This period of high productivity, however, came crashing down in the early 1950s, when Francis passed through what he later called his "Lean Years." During these years, he found a measure of compensation through his performances as a violin soloist in churches and publications in The New Yorker and The Saturday Review. Even though his rate of publication in poetry suffered, he continued to reap the rewards of a strong reputation. In 1955, he was named Phi Beta Kappa poet at Tufts University, he spent the academic year 1957-1958 on the Rome Prize Fellowship from The American Academy of Arts and Letters, and he spent the year 1960 as poet in residence at Harvard. He returned to Italy in 1967 on an Amy Lowell Poetry Scholarship.

In 1965, Francis issued his fourth collection of poems, Come Out Into the Sun, with his fifth, Like Ghosts of Eagles, following in 1974. He turned to memoir in the 1970s, with the appearance of an autobiography, The Trouble With Francis, in 1971, and Frost: A Time to Talk in 1972, his account of visits with Robert Frost in the 1950s, both published with the University of Massachusetts Press. 1976 was a particularly productive year, featuring the appearance of three volumes: A Certain Distance (a book of prose sketches), Collected Poems, and Francis On the Spot: An Interview With Robert Francis, conducted by Philip Tetreault and Kathy Sewalk-Karcher.

At this late point in his career, Francis began to receive a surge of attention, both locally and nationally. In Amherst, he was regularly called upon to give readings of his work at the Jones Library (the local public library), and on several occasions, he was featured on "Poems to a Listener," a program on the Five College radio station, WFCR. Nationally, the Academy of American Poets recognized Francis with its award for "distinguished poetic achievement" in April 1984. All the while, Francis continued to write, publishing his reflections on poetry, Pot Shots at Poetry, in 1980, followed in 1984 with his final volume of poems, Butter Hill, and a book of short prose pieces, The Satirical Rogue on All Fronts.

In 1981 interview with the Daily Hampshire Gazette, Francis remarked that his "specialty has been not to earn much, but to spend little," however his specialty also included a literary talent that spanned the genres of poetry, essays, novels, memoirs, and journal writing, and talents that extended to a wide circle of friends and fellow writers, from Frost, Still, and Morton to younger poets such as Anne Halley and Doris Abramson. Robert Francis died in Amherst in July 1987. The Juniper Prize in Poetry, established by the UMass Press in 1975, is named in honor of Francis's North Amherst home.

Contents of Collection

The Robert Francis Papers are a rich source of information on the life and philosophy of the poet Robert Francis and the development of his career in literature. Occupying approximately 8.25 linear feet, the papers are divided into seven series, including Bio-bibliographical, Correspondence, Poetry, Non-fiction, Fiction, Photographs, and Recordings.

The correspondence, poetry, and non-fiction series are especially strong and provide a detailed account of Mr. Francis' long literary career.

Organization of the Collection
Series descriptions

Francis family records, Francis' own notes as a student, lectures, student papers and theses about the poet, along with blueprints of Fort Juniper, diplomas, and newspaper and magazine articles are found in Series 1. Also included is an extensive bibliography. Copies of the Syracuse University guide to the collection of papers Francis donated in 1968-1969 (4.5 linear feet) and the Jones Library guide to their collection of Francis materials, mostly published versions, are filed here as well. See also Series 4.

Incoming letters and copies of outgoing letters, chiefly with other writers, publishing houses, and readers are in Series 2. Notable are the letters relating to publishing and business matters in general. These letters are revealing examples of the poet's economics, or, as Mr. Francis has said, "how a lone poet learns to look out for his financial interests." A number of letters come from young writers looking for advice and encouragement. Of special importance is the correspondence of novelist Paul Theroux, who came to know Mr. Francis while studying with Joseph Langland at the University of Massachusetts. The bulk of their correspondence is from Theroux's graduation in 1963 until 1970. Series 2 also contains copies of correspondence between poet Marianne Moore and the University of Massachusetts Press (1956-1968). In these letters Ms. Moore extends her praise to Robert Francis and to the Press for the worthy publication of his works. Other correspondents include John Ciardi, Peter DeVries, Gerald Warner Brace, Dudley Fitts, Donald Hall, Rolfe Humphries, Howard Moss, Richard Wilbur, Rosellen Brown, and Ted Shawn. See also Series 4.

Series 3 is divided into subseries by book titles, which are arranged chronologically. Under the book title headings are author's notes, worksheets and drafts, typescripts, galley proofs and copies of proofs. Book reviews and comments are filed under each title as well. Worksheets of poems in some instances contain page references to the poem in its final form in the Collected Poems. Journals in which Francis' poems are published, Francis' teaching materials, and Francis' comments on poetry are also included in this series.

Series 4 is divided into subseries by book titles, which are arranged chronologically, in the same manner as Series 3. Newspaper and magazine columns follow book-length works in the series and are arranged chronologically within their own subseries. Materials pertaining to the author's autobiography, The Trouble With Francis, including his interleaved copy of the book (Mr. Francis keyed photographs, biographical documents, correspondence, and notes to their corresponding pages), are also contained in Series 4.

Series 5 contains Mr. Woodchuck (three chapters of an unfinished novel) and "What a Witch Told Me."

Photographs from virtually every period of Francis's life and of Francis' family and friends are included in Series 6. See Series 4 for additional photos.

Tapes of Mr. Francis reading and discussing his poetry; WFCR Radio "Poems for a Listener" broadcasts; phonograph recordings of readings; and a phonograph recording of Koopman's musical composition for "Picasso and Matisse" are in Series 7.

Collection inventory
Series 1. Bio-bibliographical


Guide to the Robert Francis Papers
1988

Box 1: 1
UMass public info file on Robert Francis
n.d.

Box 1: 2
Contemporary Authors biographical entry
n.d.

Box 1: 3
Bibliography
n.d.

Box 1: 4
Revised bibliography
n.d.

Box 1: 5
Syracuse and Jones Library inventories
1977

Box 1: 6
Guide to the Robert Francis Collection at the Jones Library
1979

Box 1: 7
Autobiographical notes
n.d.

Box 1: 8
Allen grandparents: genealogy, news clippings
n.d.

Box 2: 9
Francis: family genealogy
n.d.

Box 2: 10
Francis, James (RF's uncle): diary
1891-1896

Box 2: 11
Francis, May Allen (RF's mother): funeral notices
n.d.

Box 2: 12
Francis, Ruth Isabel (RF's sister): biographical sketch
n.d.

Box 2: 13
Francis grandparents: Tupper Family Association
1949-1980

Box 2: 14
Robert Francis' education records
1904-1919

Box 2: 15
Fort Juniper house plans
Note:

see Fort Juniper blueprints, Map Case 4, Drawer 1, and Posters for readings 1948-1977, Map Case 4, Drawer 1

1940

Box 2: 16
Readings: notices
1941-1977

Box 2: 17
Readings: news clippings
1941-1977

Box 2: 18
Mass. State College: class notes, botany
1946-1947

Box 2: 19
Mass. State College: lecture notes, geology
1946-1947

Box 2: 20
Chautauqua Writer's Workshop: student comments
1956

Box 2: 21
Notes on Italy, American Academy
1957-1958

Box 2: 22
School visits: mementos
1960-1975

Box 2: 23
Honorary degree from University of Massachusetts
1970

Box 2: 24
Massachusetts Archive: pamphlet
1973

Box 2: 25
American Poets Fellowship Award
1984

Box 2: 26
Articles about Robert Francis
1936-1967

Box 3: 27
Articles about Robert Francis
1969-1976

Box 3: 28
Articles about Robert Francis
1977-1981

Box 3: 29
Articles about Robert Francis
1982-1988

Box 3: 30
Wellman, Cora B., undergraduate paper on RF, Harvard University
1937

Box 3: 31
Lectures (2) on RF by Howard Nostrand
1945

Box 3: 32
California State College, student papers (7) on RF
1971

Box 3: 33
Coleman, J.M., undergraduate paper on RF, U. of Virginia
1972

Box 3: 34
Zmuda, R., undergraduate paper on RF, Allegheny Community College
1972

Box 3: 35
California State College, undergraduate papers (5) on RF
1973

Box 3: 36
"Robert Francis: A Critical Biography" (master's thesis) by Elinor Phillips Cubbage
1975

Box 3: 37
"Freedom to Fastidious Form: Theory, Form and Theme in the Poetry of Robert Francis" (master's thesis) by Charles Sides
1975

Box 3: 38
Lecture by David Young
1975

Box 3: 39
"Move Over, Henry Thoreau" and "Robert Francis's Concept of 'E'" by Charles Sides
1976

Box 3: 40
"Robert Francis: The Best Neglected Poet" by Delores Whitney
1978

Box 3: 41
Series 2. Correspondence


Arrangement:

Arranged alphabetically.

Abbe - Arnold (except Allen grandparents)


Box 4: 42
Allen grandparents


Box 4: 43
Atlantic Monthly


Box 4: 44
Baird - Beasley


Box 4: 45
Beirut, American U.


Box 4: 46
Bennetto - Boyd (except Berger, Arthur and re: "The Boy Who Will Play Beethoven's Fifth")


Box 4: 47
Berger, Arthur


Box 4: 48
re: "The Boy Who Will Play Beethoven's Fifth"


Box 4: 49
Brace - Cates


Box 4: 50
Cheroweth - Crozier (except Contemporary Poets)


Box 4: 51
re: Contemporary Poets


Box 4: 52
Dakin - DeMarrais


Box 4: 53
Donnelly, Dorothy


Box 4: 54
Dostal - Fox


Box 4: 55
Fox, Walter


Box 4: 56
Francis grandparents


Box 4: 57
Francis, James, Francis, Matthew


Box 4: 58
Francis, May Allen


Box 4: 59
Francis, Robert (French author)


Box 4: 60
Francis, Robert (RF's namesake)


Box 4: 61
Francis, Ruth I.


Box 4: 62-63
Francis - Hamburger


Box 4: 64
Hammarstrom - Hosford


Box 5: 65
re: "Home Forum" column


Box 5: 66
Howes, Jeanne C.


Box 5: 67
The Power of Will (Howes enclosure)


Box 5: 68
Humphries - Juscik (except Junkins, Donald)


Box 5: 69
Junkins, Donald


Box 5: 70
Kaplan, Herbert


Box 5: 71
Kaplan, Peter


Box 5: 72
Hates - Ledert


Box 5: 73
Lindh - Lyric


Box 5: 74
McGinty - Maynard (except MacMillan Publishing Co.)


Box 5: 75
MacMillan Publishing Company


Box 5: 76
Meachem - Musser (except Miller, Charles)


Box 5: 77
Miller, Charles


Box 5: 78
Nelson, Howard


Box 5: 79
NY Times - New Yorker


Box 5: 80
Nicholson - Osbourne


Box 5: 81
Pacelli - Phillips


Box 5: 82
Piskor, Frank


Box 5: 83
Plunge - Rigby


Box 5: 84
Risdon - Scherer (except Sanborn, Forest)


Box 5: 85
Sanborn, Forest


Box 6: 86
School groups


Box 6: 87
Schoonmaker - Starbuck


Box 6: 88
Stein - Thompson (except Still, James)


Box 6: 89
Still, James


Box 6: 90
Theroux, Paul
1962-1963

Box 6: 91
Theroux, Paul
1964-1970

Box 6: 92-93
Torell - Virginia Quarterly (except re: The Trouble With Francis and Tunnel Press)


Box 6: 94
The Trouble With Francis


Box 6: 95
Tunnel Press


Box 6: 96
re: "Two Days Among the Feeble Minded"


Box 6: 97
U of Massachusetts Press


Box 6: 98-99
U of Massachusetts Press (L. Stein - M. Moore)
1956-1968

Box 6: 100
Visual Education - Walcott


Box 6: 101
Warren, Gretchen


Box 6: 102
Warren, Gretchen


Box 7: 103
Wesleyan U. Press


Box 7: 104
Wesleyan U. Press - Worrel
l

Box 7: 105
Yoken Young


Box 7: 106
Robert Francis' Christmas cards


Box 7: 107
Poems written for Robert Francis


Box 7: 108
Poems written for Robert Francis


Box 7: 109
Poems written for Robert Francis


Box 7: 110
Series 3. Poetry


Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Stand With Me Here: proofs
1936

Box 8: 111
Valhalla and Other Poems: proofs
1938

Box 8: 112
The Sound I Listened For: proofs
1944

Box 8: 113
Valhalla and Other Poems, The Sound I Listened For: Reviews
1938, 1944

Box 8: 114
The Face Against the Glass: proofs
1950

Box 8: 115
The Orb Weaver: proofs
1960

Box 8: 116
We Fly Away, Face Against the Glass, The Orb Weaver: reviews
1948, 1950, 1960

Box 8: 117
Come Out into the Sun: galley proofs
1965

Box 8: 118
Come Out into the Sun: proofs with author's corrections
1965

Box 8: 119
Come Out into the Sun: proofs
1965

Box 8: 120
Come Out into the Sun: reviews
1965

Box 8: 121
Like Ghosts of Eagles: worksheets of poems
n.d.

Box 8: 122
Like Ghosts of Eagles: Poems 1966-74: typescript with author's manuscript alterations
1974

Box 8: 123
Like Ghosts of Eagles: Poems 1966-74: mss. and reader's evaluation
1974

Box 8: 124
Like Ghosts of Eagles: Poems 1966-74: mock-up
1974

Box 8: 125
Like Ghosts of Eagles: Poems 1966-74: proofs
1974

Box 9: 126
Like Ghosts of Eagles: Poems 1966-74: reviews and comments
1974

Box 9: 127
Collected Poems: worksheets
n.d.

Box 9: 128
Collected Poems: worksheets
n.d.

Box 9: 129
Collected Poems: original unpublished preface
1976

Box 9: 130
Collected Poems: proofs
1976

Box 9: 131
Collected Poems: proofs
1976

Box 9: 132-33
Collected Poems: proofs
1976

Box 10: 134-36
Collected Poems: reviews
1976

Box 10: 137
Journals with Robert Francis' poems
1972-1977

Box 10: 138
Field: journal celebrating Robert Francis' birthday
1970

Box 10: 139
The Hollins Critic: special issue on RF
10/1977

Box 10: 140
Misc. offprints, photocopies of published poems
n.d.

Box 11: 141
Misc. offprints, photocopies of published poems
n.d.

Box 11: 142
Miscellaneous worksheets
n.d.

Box 11: 143
Miscellaneous worksheets
n.d.

Box 11: 144
Father Gander Rhymes
1952

Box 11: 145
"Seagulls": signed typescript
n.d.

Box 11: 146
Poems by Robert Francis' students
1950-1959

Box 11: 147
Robert Francis' comments on poetic theory
n.d.

Box 11: 148
Notes on geographical locations of poems
n.d.

Box 11: 149
Series 4. Non-fiction


Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

The Satirical Rogue: source materials
1968

Box 12: 150
The Satirical Rogue: essays in Field
1975

Box 12: 151
The Satirical Rogue: proofs of 1964 and1968 printings
1964, 1968

Box 12: 152
The Satirical Rogue: reviews
1968

Box 12: 153
The Trouble with Francis: author's notes
n.d.

Box 12: 154
The Trouble with Francis: "Soybeans for Walden" typescript
n.d.

Box 12: 155
The Trouble with Francis: "Todo and the Mantises": material related to
n.d.

Box 12: 156
The Trouble with Francis: original typescript with author's alterations
n.d.

Box 12: 157
The Trouble with Francis: carbon copy of final typescript, chapters 1-12
n.d.

Box 12: 158
The Trouble with Francis: carbon copy of final typescript, chapters 13-17 and index (two drafts)
n.d.

Box 12: 159
The Trouble with Francis: reviews
1971

Box 12: 160
The Trouble with Francis: galley proofs with manuscript corrections
n.d.

Box 13: 161
The Trouble with Francis: author's position on Chapter 17
n.d.

Box 13: 162
The Trouble with Francis: materials pertaining to J. Still, W. Shumway, R. Gillman
1940-1948

Box 13: 163
The Trouble with Francis: materials pertaining to pp. 63-64
n.d.

Box 13: 164
The Trouble with Francis: materials interleaved in author's copy (list attached)
n.d.

Box 13: 165-169
The Trouble with Francis: author's copy
1971

Box 13: 170
Frost: A Time to Talk: reader's evaluation
1971

Box 13: 171
Frost: A Time to Talk: page proofs with author's manuscript corrections
1971

Box 13: 172
Frost: A Time to Talk: reviews
1972-1973

Box 13: 173
A Certain Distance: manuscript of the prose items
n.d.

Box 13: 174
A Certain Distance: reviews
1976

Box 13: 175
Francis On the Spot: working papers
1976

Box 14: 176
Francis On the Spot: mock ups
1976

Box 14: 177
Travelling in Amherst: copy of book
1986

Box 14: 178
Newspaper publications
1925-1977

Box 14: 179
Two Days Among the Feeble Minded: unpublished manuscript
1931

Box 14: 180
"Country Comment" column: selected newsprint copies and carbon manuscripts
1946-1950

Box 14: 181
Philadelphia Forum: newsprint copies and carbon typed version
1947-1948

Box 14: 182
"Home Forum" column: carbon typed manuscripts
1951-1954

Box 14: 183
Christian Science Monitor: newsprint copies of selected essays
n.d.

Box 14: 184
Christian Science Monitor: author's statement on refusal to publish further columns in CSM
1954

Box 14: 185
"The Satirical Rogue Again": typescript with author's manuscript alterations
1970

Box 14: 186
"The Satirical Rogue Returns": typescript with author's manuscript alterations
1970

Box 14: 187
"A Month in Amherst in the 1920's": drafts, news clippings
1975

Box 15: 188
Misc. publications in journals: typed manuscripts and published versions
1946-1966

Box 15: 189
Misc. publications in journals: carbon typed manuscripts and published versions
1951-1967

Box 15: 190
Publications in various journals
n.d.

Box 15: 191
Addresses


Box 15: 192
Series 5. Fiction


Mr. Woodchuck: three chapters of an unfinished novel
c.1950

Box 15: 193
"What a Witch Told Me": a copy of typescript
n.d.

Box 15: 194
Series 6. Photographs


Early photos of Robert Francis
n.d.

Box 16: 195
Photo album (1)
n.d.

Box 16: 196
American University of Beirut, Lebanon
1923-1924

Box 16: 197
Photo album (2)
1936-1976

Box 16: 198
American Academy, Italy
1957-1958

Box 16: 199
Photo album (3)
1972-1976

Box 16: 200
U of Mass. photo center: contact sheets
1974

Box 16: 201
Allen grandparents
n.d.

Box 16: 202
Francis grandparents
n.d.

Box 16: 203
Francis, James, and Francis, Matthew (RF's uncles)
n.d.

Box 16: 204
Francis, May Allen (RF's mother)
n.d.

Box 16: 205
Series 7. Recordings


Robert Francis Reads His Poetry: 7 1/2 IPS two track tape


Box 17: 206
Discussion by Doris Abramson, Joseph Langland, Quentin de Streel and Robert Francis of the recently published Like Ghosts of Eagles, broadcast by WFCR, Part I: 7 1/2 IPS two track tape
1974

Box 17: 207
Discussion, Part II: 7 1/2 IPS two track tape
1974

Box 17: 208
Robert Francis reading from his Collected Poems at their publication party, with an introduction by Joe Langland and introductory comments by Francis
1976

Box 17: 209
"Poems to a Listener" -- WFCR broadcast tape of the program and script: 7 1/2 IPS two track tape
1976

Box 17: 210
RF Day, Jones Library
Note:

In MS Phonograph Records Box:

1980

Box 17
1. Today's Poets, volume 1: 33 RPM
1967

Box 17
2. Robert Francis Reads His Poems From Like Ghosts of Eagles and Come Out Into the Sun: 33 RPM
1975

Box 17
3. Picasso and Matisse: 33 RPM (and score)
1966

Box 17
Administrative information
Information on Use
Access

The collection is open for research.

Provenance

The collection was donated to Special Collections and University Archives by Robert Francis between November 1975 and July 1987, along with a collection of his printed works which are now housed in the Rare Books collection. Additions to the collection were subsequently received from Francis' literary executor, Francis Quinn; from the University of Massachusetts Press; and the Tunnel Press in 1977.

Other formats available

Listen to recordings of an interview and poetry reading with Robert Francis conducted by Henry Lyman for WFCR radio in 1977 and 1978.

Processing Information

Processed by Stephanie Welch and Mark Madigan, 1988. The following letters, now interfiled with the Correspondence series, were previously arranged by Robert Francis in a file called "Help asked for and received."

Apodaca, La Verne April 20, 1980
Brazeau, Peter April 27, 1978
Cochran, J. March 30, 1980
Haney, Paula May 1, 1980
Juscik, Steve n.d.
Motts, Dona May 28, 1980
Norbutt, John January 10, 1979 (with response January 22, 1979)
O'Gorman, Ned March 8, 1980 (with response March 18, 1980)
Quinn, John Robert July 22, 1978; July 28, 1978
Richards, Lucie A. (2 copies) March 6, 1979
Sussman, Sherry (with photo of Francis) n.d.
Shetline, Leonard J. May 28, 1978
Tuttle, Claire September 1978
Liz [?] July 30, 1978

The following letters, now interfiled with the Correspondence series, were previously arranged by Francis in a file called "Letters of appreciation."

Abbe, George May 20, 1978
Boyd, Charles July 16, 1977
Brown, Rosellen November 16 [?]
Brown, Rosellen May 13, 1977
Cate, Edward W. January 22, 1977
Emery, Mary December 23, 1977
Faust, Pamela March 22, 1980
Hicks, John October 5, 1976
Howes, Jeanne February 12, 1977
Osborne, Marion A. September 6, 1977
Peterson, Lani January 17, 1979
Philbrick, Stephen November 5 [?]
Rand, Frank L. December 16, 1955
Reidy, P. Michael September 23, 1977
Rigby, Libby September 27, 1975
Roberts, Haslin Cherie August 13, 1978
Rosten, Norman December 6, 1976
Smith, Nathaniel B. July 29, 1978
Taylor, Thurston October 17, 1977
Tetreault, Phil May 29, 1979
Yolsen, Melvin B. August 21, 1978
Frank [?] December 16, 1954
Shirley [?] February 2, 1975
'

The following items, now filed in box 13, folders 165-169, were originally interleaved in the author's copy of The Trouble With Francis in the pages noted below.

PAGES ITEMS
Front matter Near East, November 1954
4-5 photographs: "Entrance to Market Hill Rd in 1940," "The Old House by the Brook, 1937-38"
12-13 photographs (4): "Adamites"
18-19 letter to Literary Executor for Robert Frost.
28-29 photograph: "Henry King of Flat Hills Road and one of his oxen"
32-33 photographs (2): "Forrest Sanborn"
34-35 photograph: "Porter Dickinson"
56-57 Christmas card (photo of rock.)
64-65 photographs "Walter from Brooklyn" & "Lord Wilbur"
70-71 photograph: "Richard Gillman at Fort Juniper"
74-75 photograph: "Full-grown mantids"
92-93 newspaper clippings (3) and photocopies about soybeans
98-99 Thanksgiving Dinner menus (8) with photocopies for Fort Juniper
108-109 postcard from Rebecca Richmond of Chautauqua Writer's Institute
116-117 photographs (2): "Pasquino, Rome" & "Trattoria Pasquino"
118-119 newspaper clippings about late birthday card with photocopies; birthday card delayed in mail nearly 30 years.
122-123 Christmas card from Francis Gillespie; postcard of Tyrellspass; vacation brochure
136-137 photographs: "Ferris Pemberton" & "Baptist Church, Greenport, NY"
142-143 photographs: "Aunt Addie" & "Aunt Nell" (2)
150-151 photographs: "James Allen Francis" & "West Medford Baptist Church"
156-157 offprint of Matthew Francis photograph postcard: "Tower in Lawrence Fels, West Medford"
158-159 photograph: [?]
162-163 photograph: Pat Francis [cat]
178-179 letter concerning Francis' illness
180-181 photographs: "Miss Phelan's house, Cambridge, Mass." (2), "Fellow inmate" (2)
182-183 news clipping, Harvard Alumni Bulletin 5/13/50
184-185 letter of appointment to American University of Beirut, 3/21/23
186-187 photograph: RF with students in Beirut; carbon of letter from Dr. F.J. McIntyre
188-189 letters (2) from Bancroft Beatley; news clipping and news photo of Harvard
192-193 photograph: "Theodore Ward"; typescript epitaph for Theodore Ward
196-197 photographs: "Schoonmaker family"; [?]
198-199 photographs (2): "Hildegard"
200-201 photograph: "Frost's house on Sunset Avenue"
204-205 photographs: "Jones Library" (2); "Prof. Arthur John Hopkins" [?]
218-219 Harvard Divinity School news clipping; letter to Harvard Divinity School
Additional Information

See also Regina Codey Papers (MS 314), and Arthur E. Niedeck collection (MS 295), audio tapes of readings. Additional collections of Robert Francis's papers are located at Syracuse University and the Jones Library in Amherst.

Separated Material

The following books and broadsides by Francis -- nearly a complete set of his works -- have been transferred for storage with the Rare Book collections:

  • Gusto, thy name was Mrs. Hopkins : a prose rhapsody. Toronto : Chartres Books, c1988. 49 p. : 2 ports. ; 23 cm. "A Gordon Lawson McLennan edition".
  • Butter Hill, and other poems. [Springfield, Mass.] : Ardsley Press, c1984. [30] p. : ill. ; 23 cm. "Four hundred numbered copies . This book is number 196."
  • The satirical rogue on all fronts. [S.l.] : Paul W. Carman, c1984. [34] p. : port. ; 23 cm. "Four hundred numbered copies of The satirical rogue on all fronts, a collection of unpublished pieces, have been privately printed on Mohawk Superfine by Paul W. Carman at the Ardsley Press . The first 75 copies have been specially bound and are signed by Robert Francis with an extra signed poem. This book is number 22."
  • Founder's day talk, Jones Library, September 14, 1980. [Amherst, Mass., 1980]. [1], 6, [1] p. 21 cm. Edition of two hundred and fifty copies. Signed: Robert Francis. "This is No. 18."
  • Pot shots at poetry. Ann Arbor : University of Michigan Press, 1980. xiii, 220 p. ; 21 cm.
  • Clarification of God. [S.l. : s.n., 198-]. 10 p. ; 23 cm.
  • W H-M, a poem, carved, with decorative border. Amherst, Mass., The Epoh Studio, 1976] Untitled; first line: To him my birches. Printed in green and yellow. Captioned in pencil at bottom by Wang Hui-Ming: W H-M, Poem by Robert Francis [Signed] '76. Initialed in pencil by author, bottom left. Published, without border, in New letters, v. 42, no. 4, summer 1976, p. 53.
  • Bluejay. [Easthampton, Mass., The Pennyroyal Press, 1976]. broadside. illus. 19 x 14 cm. "150 copies printed at Pennyroyal by B. Moser April 1976." On blue paper, and signed by the artist, Barry Moser; copy 2, on white paper, is not signed.
  • A certain distance. Woods Hole, Mass. : Pourboire Press, 1976. 4 p. l., 40 p. ; 21 cm. "This edition consists of six hundred copies of which one hundred are hardcovers, numbered and signed by the author on his seventy-fifth birthday." Special Collections' copy labeled PS3511.R237 C4 1976 is in paper covers, and has a typewritten "nineteen" pasted over the printed "twenty one." Special Collections' copy labeled PS3511.R237 C4 1976b is no. 82, signed, and the "twenty one" in the dedication is not corrected.
  • Chrysanthemums. [Amherst] ; University of Massachusetts Press, 1976. 1 broadside : col. ill. ; 29 x 27 cm. Limited ed. of 100 copies, signed by poet and artist. Illustrated with a wood engraving by Barry Moser. Printed in black and brown. The woodcut is hand-colored. Artist Barry Moser's signed autograph presentation inscription, dated: 19 April 1976. Copy 2, printed on different stock, is not colored, and is not signed.
  • Collected poems, 1936-1976. Amherst : University of Massachusetts Press, 1976. 285 p. ; 24 cm. "The book is graced with eight wood engravings by Wang Hui-Min."
  • Francis on the spot : an interview with Robert Francis by Philip Tetreault and Kathy Sewalk-Karcher. Portage, Pa. : Tunnel Press ; Woonsocket, R.I., c1976. 2 p. l., 3-31, [1] p. : ill., ports. ; 22 cm. Gob poetry pamphlet ; no. 4. Three hundred copies printed.
  • Hide-and-seek. [Middletown, Conn.] : Wesleyan University Press, 1976. 1 broadside : ill. ; 30 x 23 cm. Poem. At end of text: Robert Francis. Illustration by Barry Moser. On verso: . Copyrighted] Wesleyan University Press, printed at Pennyroyal, April, 1976. First line: Here where the dead lie hidden. Edition 150. Signed by both poet and the artist." - cf. Publisher's brochure. Unsigned copy - a proof copy.
  • November. [Amherst] : University of Massachusetts Press, [1976]. 1 broadside : ill. ; 27 x 23 cm. Limited ed. of 100 copies. "April 1976." Illustrated with a wood engraving by Barry Moser . Printed on Japanese vellum in two colors [black and brown] Edition 100 . Signed by both the poet and the artist." - cf. Publisher's brochure. Unsigned copy - a proof copy?
  • Like ghosts of eagles: poems, 1966-1974. Drawings by Jack Coughlin. [Amherst, Mass.] University of Massachusetts Press [1974]. 68 p. illus. 21 cm.
  • Robert Frost: a time to talk: conversations and indiscretions recorded by Robert Francis.. [London]: Robson Books, [1973, c1972]. 3 p. l., 3-100 p. incl. front. : (port.) ; 24 cm. "First published in Great Britain in 1973." First American edition, 1972, published with title: Frost; a time to talk.
  • Frost: a time to talk: conversations and indiscretions recorded by Robert Francis. [Amherst]: University of Massachusetts Press [1972]. 100 p. 24 cm.
  • The land on the tip of a hair; poems in wood. Selected and carved by Wang Hui-ming. [Amherst, Mass., Printed at the Epoh Studio, 1972]. 1 portfolio ([40] l.) 32 cm. Fifty copies. "This is copy number A/P [Signed]" Includes The righteous, The peacock, Exemplary, Prescription, and A fear, by Robert Francis. With Wang's signed autograph presentation inscription to Robert Francis.
  • The trouble with Francis; an autobiography. [Amherst]: University of Massachusetts Press, 1971. 246 p. illus., maps, ports. 24 cm.
  • Six poems. [Montague, Mass.] : Sawmill Press, 1970. [8] l., [4] leaves of plates) ; 20 x 26 cm. "The text . printed by Deborah and Richard Hendel, etchings by Jack Coughlin. This is an edition of fifty numbered copies and ten artist's proof copies. This is number Artist's Proof." Each plate signed by the artist. Vignette in green. In portfolio, 20 x 26 cm.
  • Come out into the sun. [Amherst, Mass., The University of Massachusetts Press, 1969]. 1 broadsheet. illus. 24 x 16 cm., fold. On verso: Greetings 1969. The University of Massachusetts Press. Autographed.
  • [The satirical rogue on poetry : first magazine appearances of essays intended to form the second series, not yet published in book form]. [1969-19 ]. v.
  • Come out into the sun; poems new and selected. [Amherst] University of Massachusetts Press [1968, c1965]. 7 p. l., 3-143 p. 22 x 16 cm. "Second Printing, 1968."
  • Like ghosts of eagles. First magazine appearances of poems later published in the book. [v.p., 1968-74]. 12 nos. 19-29 cm.
  • The satirical rogue on poetry. [Amherst]: University of Massachusetts Press, 1968. 123 p. 21 cm. Special Collections' copy 2 has laid in publisher's review copy slip, and The Satirical Rogue, by Robert Francis, reprinted from the Massachusetts Review, vol. 6, no. 3, Spring-Summer, 1965, signed in red: "Christmas cheer! Robert."
  • The orb weaver. Middletown, Conn., Wesleyan University Press [1967]. 5 p. l., 3-63 p. 21 x 16 cm. "First printing, January, 1960 . Third printing, February, 1967."
  • Come out into the sun; poems new and selected. [Amherst] University of Massachusetts Press [1965]. 143 p. 23 cm.
  • The satirical rogue. [Amherst, Mass., 1965]. [16] p. 23 cm. Caption title. "Reprinted from The Massachusetts review, Volume 6, No. 3, Spring-Summer, 1965," p. 451-466. Signed autograph presentation inscription: Christmas cheer! Robert. Laid in his The satirical rogue on poetry, Amherst, Mass., The University of Massachusetts Press, 1968, copy 2.
  • The orb weaver; poems. Middletown, Conn., Wesleyan University Press [1960]. 63 p. 21 cm.
  • Rome without camera : a talk. Amherst, Mass. : Jones Library, c1958. 13 p. ; 23 cm. Cover title. "Founder's Day, October 15, 1958." Edition of one hundred copies. "This is No. 96."
  • What a witch told me. [Chautauqua, N.Y., 1956]. [9] p. 22 x 10 cm. "This parable was written by the instructor, Robert Francis, for the Poetry division of the Chautauqua Writers' Workshop, 1956, and published by its members ."
  • The face against the glass, poems. Amherst, Mass. Published by the author, 1950. 44 p. 20 cm. This edition has been limited to three hundred copies. "This copy is number 119."
  • We fly away. New York, : Morrow, c1948. 155 p. ; 20 cm. Double title page. UMass Amherst Special Collections copy 1: Gift of E. Porter Dickinson, with author's autograph presentation inscription on front fly-leaf, "For Porter Dickinson / from friend Bob / September 1948". In dj, with several related newsclippings laid in. Copy 2: Gift of Mrs. Frank Prentice Rand, with author's autograph presentation inscription on front fly-leaf, "For the Rands of Mount Pleasant / with warm greetings / from Robert Francis / 1948", and a review of the book, by F[rank] P. R[and], extracted from the Amherst Record, September 30, 1948, mounted inside the front cover. Tipped onto half-title is a TLS to F.P.R. dated: The Johnson Homestead, Shelburne Falls, September 30, 1948, in which the author thanks him for the review.
  • The sound I listened for. New York : The Macmillan Company, 1944. xi, 79 p. 21 cm. "First printing."
  • The sound I listened for. Amherst, Mass. : R. Francis, 1943. 63 p. ; 20 cm. Special Collections' copy 2 has author's signed autograph presentation inscription to the Rands inside front cover.
  • Valhalla : and other poems. New York : The Macmillan Company, 1938. [i]-viii p., 1., 1-133 [1]p. ; 20.4 cm. First printing. Bound in light gray cloth; printed paper labels on front cover and spine. Dust jacket. Signed by the author. Special Collections' copy 2 is autographed on front fly-leaf, which also has a mounted photograph of the author. Two other photographs of him are laid in, as is his "Come out into the sun," signed The University of Massachusetts Press Greetings 1969, and his "Mr. Eliot's day," extracted from The New Yorker, issue of August 1, 1953, p. 27. Mounted inside front cover is his poem, "Good night near Christmas" [Amherst, Mass.] Christmas 1938, and tipped onto the verso of half-title is a TLS to Mrs. [Frank P.] Rand, dated: August 4, 66.
  • Stand with me here. New York : The Macmillan Company, 1936. [i-x] p., 1., 3-83 [1]p., 1. ; 20.3 cm. First printing. Bound in green cloth; stamped in gold. Dust jacket. Signed by the author. Special Collections' copy 1 is autographed on half-title page. Laid in Special Collections' copy 2 is a TLS to Frank Rand, dated: Fort Juniper, Amherst, Mass., August 31, 1945.
Acknowledgments

Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Copyright and Use (More informationConnect to publication information)

Cite as: Robert Francis Papers (MS 403). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.

Search terms
Subjects
  • Poetics.
  • Amherst (Mass.)
  • Poetry -- Publishing.
  • Poets -- Massachusetts -- Amherst.
Names
  • Brown, Rosellen.
  • Ciardi, John, 1916-
  • De Vries, Peter.
  • Fitts, Dudley, 1903-
  • Francis, Robert, 1901-1987 -- Bibliography.
  • Francis, Robert, 1901-1987.
  • Hall, Donald, 1928-
  • Humphries, Rolfe.
  • Moore, Marianne, 1887-1972.
  • Moss, Howard, 1922-
  • Shawn, Ted, 1891-1972.
  • Theroux, Paul.
  • University of Massachusetts Press.
  • Wilbur, Richard, 1921-
Genre terms
  • Audiotapes.
  • Photographs.
  • Phonograph records.