Reminiscence of Frost at Michigan

Peter Stanlis


obert Frost particularly valued the many good friends that he made at the University of Michigan, among administrators, faculty, and students. When I went to Ann Arbor in the fall of 1944, I discovered that, even after 20 years, Frost was still regarded with affection and awe by many people who remembered him. When I brought "greetings" from Frost to Professor Clarence DeWitt Thorpe, he leaped out of his chair with enthusiasm. Mary Cooley was particularly warm in her responses about Frost. She was one of the three original students whom Frost called the "three graces," the other two being Dorothy Tyler and Sue Bonner. I met Dorothy years later in Detroit, and she inter-viewed me about Frostís visit at the University of Detroit in November 1962, to receive his last honorary degree. (See Caxtonian, March 1996, p.6, for an account of Frostís visit to Detroit in 1962) Her report is in Frost Centennial Essays (Vol. III, pp. 7-69).

Frost spoke to me about Lawrence Conrad, his student at Ann Arbor. Eleven of Frostís letters to Conrad are in Letters, Manuscripts, and Inscribed Books by Robert Frost, published by David H. Lowenberg through the Grolier Club (1999). Among Frostís friends on the Michigan faculty were Morris Tilley, Roy Cowden, Louis Bredvold, and Jean Paul Slusser. When Bredvold visited me at Bread Loaf in 1961, I took him to see Frost in his cabin, and they had a wonderful time reviewing Frostís years at Michigan. Dean Joseph Burley, with whom Frost stayed on his many visits to Ann Arbor, was also very close to Frost.

When Frost was at the University of Detroit in 1962, Dean Burleyís daughter Ann came to see him. When I told Frost who she was, he threw his arms around her, and they had a very emotional reunion. It was a scene I shall never forget. v

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