Robert Francis Collection


Robert Francis Collection


Robert Churchill Francis (1901-1987) moved to Amherst, Massachusetts in 1926 to teach high school English. The teaching job lasted a single year; writing became his life's work. Francis was the recipient of numerous awards and honors throughout his writing career including the Golden Rose of the New England Poetry Club (1942-43), and fellowships from Breadloaf (1936), the American Academy in Rome (1957-58), and the Academy of American Poets (1984). He is best known for his volumes of poetry and his numerous contributions to journals and magazines. His first book, Stand With Me Here, was published in 1936. The last book to be published during his lifetime was Traveling in Amherst: A Poet's Journal (1986). 

Four years after Francis's death in 1987, the trustees of his estate transferred his personal archives to The Jones Library. The collection includes letters, typescripts, galley proofs and published works (including signed first editions), anthologies, poems and essays in periodicals, photographs, and audio and video recordings.

Collection Items

Young Robert Francis in suit and tie
Upper body shot of Robert Francis in a suit and tie, wearing glasses, and with his arms behind his head.

"A Celebration in Honor of the 85th Birthday of Poet Robert Francis" press release
The press release describes the event for Robert Francis at The Jones Library on August 12, 1986 celebrating the poet's 85th birthday. Richard Wilbur, Henry Lyman, Joseph Langland, and Andrew Salkey were among those scheduled to read the poems of…

Jones Library bookmark featuring Robert Francis' poem, "Balance"
The bookmark from The Jones Library features the library's hours, including the hours for the Special Collections department, as well as a poem, "Balance," by Robert Francis.

"Library Resumes Poetry Readings After 15-Year Lapse" newspaper clipping
A newspaper clipping describes a poetry reading by Robert Francis to take place on September 11 at the Jones Library. The reading was jointly sponsored by The Jones Library and the University of Massachusetts Press in celebration of the poet's new…

Letter from Robert Francis to William Merrill, July 14, 1958
Letter from Robert Francis to William Merrill, Director of The Jones Library, regarding plans for Founders Day.

Bread recipes of Robert Francis
A typed sheet with recipes for gingerbread, brownbread, corn bread, banana bread, and a bread called the Fort Juniper Special.

Christmas Greetings from Fort Juniper, 1948
Robert Francis handmade Christmas cards for his friends. This one was written to Dorothy and includes a personal note about his former neighbor, Frank Adamites, naming his son after Francis.

Fort Juniper, home of Robert Francis
Fort Juniper, the home of Robert Francis, appears in the left corner with a 1927 or 1928 Chevrolet and a 1941 Dodge Business Coupe parked in the driveway.

Amherst Ballet Theater Company program, page 9
This 1980 program from the Amherst Ballet Theater Company reprints Robert Francis' poem, "Silent Poem," which was featured as part of the performance.

Letter to Robert Francis from Lloyd J. Reynolds, August 12, 1968
A letter to Robert Francis from Lloyd J. Reynolds,Professor of Art at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, asking permission to use Francis' poem, "Watching Gymnasts," as part of the sixth National Italic Handwriting Competition.

Winning entry from Sixth National Italic Handwriting Competition, 1968
The winning entry from the Sixth National Italic Handwriting Competition features "Watching Gymnasts," a poem by Robert Francis. Wendy Larson of Portland, Oregon won first prize.

Kansas University Pop Ensemble recital program, April 10, 1973
The Kansas University Pop Ensemble program includes the Robert Francis poem, "Summons," set to music composed by Mike Huebner. Wendy Walton was the soloist during the performance.

"Robert Frost in Amherst" poem by Robert Francis
A typed version of Robert Francis' poem, "Robert Frost in Amherst," signed at the bottom by Francis and dated April 14, 1932

Frost: A Time to Talk book cover
Book cover of Frost: A Time to Talk; Conversations & Indiscretions Recorded by Robert Francis, which was published in 1972 by the University of Massachusetts Press.

Letter from Robert Francis to Nonny Burack, December 19, 1967
Letter written from Robert Francis to Nonny Burack while Francis was in Firenze, Italy. Burack managed Francis' affairs in Amherst while he was abroad. The letter sends holiday greetings, discusses receipt of mail, and remarks on Francis' Christmas…
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