Recording by: WRUF
Title: Robert Frost in Gainesville
Dates: March 23, 1967
Identification: Tape recording 145
File name: WRUF 22
Originally recorded on reel to reel tape at 7.5 ips
Digitally reformatted on February 2008
Michael E. Wayda interviews Dr. Archie Robertson, professor emeritus of English, who had been a friend of the poet Robert Frost. Wayda asks a number of questions regarding Frost’s poetry and Robertson’s friendship with the poet. Robertson first became aware of the poetry of Robert Frost when he was a senior at the University of Florida (1914 and 1915). He first met Frost in 1938 when Frost read his poetry to a small group of faculty and students in a room on the second floor of the Florida Union.
Frost lived in Gainesville but left soon after the sudden death of his wife and did not return until Robertson met with him a few years later in Boston at the request of Lesley, Frost’s daughter, who was visiting in Gainesville at that time. From then on Robert Frost had a long association with the University of Florida from 1946-1960. He generally came every spring around March 10th or March 12th.
Robertson mentions Frost’s love of walking in the woods and how he often walked from the Robertsons’ cottage (where he was often their house guest) to campus. He mentions the visit Frost and he made to visit Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings after a bad accident she had. Robertson also talks about the outward demeanor of Frost and how affable he was.
A short interview with Mrs. H. G. Metcalf, who was principal of Kirby Smith Elementary School for twenty-one years, follows the Robertson interview. Mrs. Metcalf mentions how she met the Frosts and briefly relates how Lesley’s two girls, Lee and Eleanor, were enrolled in Kirby Smith. She tells of the sudden death of Mrs. Frost from a heart attack and the shock it was to Robert her husband and how he would later come yearly to the University of Florida to read his poetry.