- Anthony Weiner on his current sexting habits: ‘None of your business’
- Producers eye Capitol Hill for latest reality TV hit
- No selfie awareness: Obama, Biden mug for Instagram as Ukraine implodes
- Putin to Snowden: We don’t collect droves of data on everyone like the U.S.
- Clemson football’s new opponent: Atheists upset with player prayer, Bible study
- Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s re-election launch party will be ‘history in the making,’ brother says
- Louisiana group hits back at Sen. Mary Landrieu campaign ad with ‘Actress Mary’ spot
- Brain surgery victim struggles with Obamacare: ‘It’s scary’
- Pro-Russian forces storm Ukrainian national guard base; 3 killed
- Joe Biden’s first Instagram pic mocked as shill for sunglass ad
Robert Frost’s Christmas cards collected in NH
Unlike the flimsy, forgettable cards of today, however, Frost’s cards arguably were worth the wait. For the past 28 years of his life, he teamed up with a boutique printer to send beautifully illustrated booklets featuring a different poem for each year.
Dartmouth College, which Frost briefly attended as a student and later returned as a lecturer, has collected more than 500 of the cards, including the first installment, which was sent without Frost’s knowledge.
In 1929, Joseph Blumenthal of the New York-based Spiral Press, who was setting type for one of Frost’s poetry collections, decided the poem “Christmas Trees” would make an attractive greeting card. With permission from Frost’s publisher, he printed 275 copies, one of which eventually made its way to Frost. The poet liked it so much, he decided to collaborate with Blumenthal on cards starting in 1934. The resulting series lasted until 1962, the year before his death.
“It was one of the more fun things about him,” said Frost biographer Jay Parini, a professor at Vermont’s Middlebury College. He called the cards a “remarkable tradition” that’s carried out by other poets today.
Many of Frost’s cards feature woodcut illustrations evoking the New England landscape with which he was so deeply associated. Printed on heavy cardstock, some run to 10 or 15 pages. The 1942 card included a hand-colored illustration of a country village and the poem “The Gift Outright,” which Frost, who won four Pulitzer Prizes for poetry, later recited from memory at the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy.
Many in the Dartmouth collection were sent to Frost’s close friend and editor Edward Lathem, whose nearly six decades of work at the Ivy League school included a long stint as head librarian.
In 1959, the card featured a previously unpublished poem called “A-Wishing Well,” and on Lathem’s copy, Frost inserted two hand-written lines in the poem.
“He liked to personalize things,” he said.
In 1951, Frost accompanied a card featuring the poem “A Cabin in the Clearing” with this note to Dartmouth bookstore employee Ruby Dagget: “in hopes that you will carry it like a lesson to your schoolhouse in the wilds of Vershire,” a nearby Vermont town.
In one of his 1953 cards, he explained why the poem “Does No One at All But Me Ever Feel This Way in the Least?” was postmarked July instead of December.
From an initial print run of 775 cards in 1934, the number of cards produced grew to more than 17,000 in 1962. Some have been snatched up by collectors for $4,000 to $5,000, said Steve Smith, who researched the cards for Dartmouth’s alumni office.
TWT Video Picks
By John R. Bolton
Reality calls for attaching Gaza to Egypt and the West Bank to Jordan
- 'Culture of intimidation' seen in Nevada ranch standoff
- Removal of military gear limits options for U.S., NATO in Ukraine
- IRS emails reveal discussion with Justice about suing nonprofits for election activities
- Rand and Ron Paul ride to the rescue for Bundy in Nevada standoff with feds
- NAPOLITANO: Hope for the dead and freedom for the living
- CURL: The state of the Union worse than you thought
- PETA officials collide with deer
- CNN op-ed claims right-wingers 'more deadly than jihadists'
- BOLTON: A 'three-state solution' for Middle East peace
- U.S. Navy to turn seawater into jet fuel
Celebrity deaths in 2014