Robert Frost

On this date in 1874, Robert Frost was born in San Francisco. His family relocated to New England when his father died. In 1892 he married Elinor White, with whom he was co-valedictorian at Lawrence High School. Although Frost later served as poet in residence and professor of literature at several universities, he never received a degree from Dartmouth or Harvard, both of which he attended.

The Frosts moved to England for a time, where he found success as a poet and was influenced by the work of Rupert Brooke, Robert Graves and Ezra Pound. The couple returned to New England, where his first two books of poetry were published to great acclaim in 1915, A Boy’s Will and North of Boston, followed by many other books of poetry.

Frost was awarded the Pulitzer Prize four times. He was sly about revealing his position on religion, telling freethought encyclopedist Warren Allen Smith that the answer was to be found in his work (see quotes). “Frost never made his beliefs clear, prompting biographers and others to theorize he was, among others, an atheist, a Unitarian, an agnostic and a follower of Swedenborgianism, his mother’s religion.” (University of Buffalo news release, Jan. 18, 2013.)

Jonathan Reichert, whose father was a Cincinnati rabbi who summered with Frost in Vermont, said Frost characterized himself as an “Old Testament Christian,” which Reichert interpreted to mean that Frost “saw that the laws that Judaism had built up really were not the essence, and that Jesus was a great prophet, rather than seeing Jesus as the son of God, or the savior.” (The New Antiquarian, Jan. 30, 2013.) D. 1963.

Freedom From Religion Foundation