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Edwin Arlington Robinson Collection

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: KM
Date: 1989-02-15

Biographical History

Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869-1935) was an American poet, notable for winning three Pulitzer Prizes over the course of his career.

Robinson was born on December 22, 1869 in Head Tide, Maine. His early years as a young adult proved difficult and were marked by tragedy. His brother Dean died of a drug overdose in 1899 and his brother Herman died in 1909, leaving the family fortune in shambles. Robinson was considered unmotivated and unlikely to make anything of himself, and even though he was accepted into Harvard in 1891, he was forced to leave his studies unfinished in 1893 due to the family's financial difficulties. He spent many of the ensuing years employed in various odd jobs.

In 1911, Robinson began spending his summers at an artists' colony in New Hampshire, where he found more time and inspiration to devote to his poetry. In 1922 he won his first Pulitzer Prize for his Collected Poems, earned a second in 1924, and won a third in 1927. Robinson continued to published regularly right up until the end of his life, and is now recognized as a highly regarded American poet of the 20th century. He died on April 6, 1935.

Source: "World Authors 1900-1950," Wilson Biographies (online), H.G. Wilson Company, 1996.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Edwin Arlington Robinson Collection consist of nine outgoing items of correspondence, including letters to W.S. Braithwaite, Henry Harrison, Carty Ranck, and Robert Haven Schauffler; two holograph manuscript poems; and three items of memorabilia.

Correspondence includes single letters to editor William Stanley Braithwaite, publisher of Poetry World, Henry Harrison, and poet Robert Haven Schauffler. Also included are two letters to playwright Carty Ranck, whom Robinson advises:

If you have the first three acts of your play where you are sure of them, you mustn't worry about the last. I knew it wasn't going to be easy, but as it is certainly sound and logical, and unusually interesting, your failure to "get" it simply means that you need a rest - in other words, that you are stale. You have the idea and the situation (and the Punch) -- and the rest will be added.
I know the feeling you describe. I not only know it, but I've got it.

Writings include two holograph poems, one entitled "Too Much Coffee," the other, an untitled fragment with corrections and deletions.

In addition, there are three items of Memorabilia, including an undated photograph, and two printed programs which indicate the seating arrangements for the 1916 and 1917 annual dinners of the Poetry Society of America.

Arrangement of the Collection

The Edwin Arlington Robinson Collection consists of items organized into 3 categories: Correspondence, Writings, and Memorabilia. Correspondence is arranged alphabetically by the name of the recipient. Writings are arranged alphabetically by title. Memorabilia is not in any particular order.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Subject Headings


Braithwaite, William Stanley, 1878-1962.
Harrison, Henry, 1903-
Ranck, Carty.
Robinson, Edwin Arlington, 1869-1935.
Schauffler, Robert Haven, 1879-1945.


American poetry -- 20th century.
Poets, American.

Genres and Forms




Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Edwin Arlington Robinson Collection
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Majority of collection was purchased at various times. A few items (identified in inventory below) were gift of James Earle Fraser and Laura Gardin Fraser, date unknown.

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