Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Robert Frost's Christmas Cards

In his December 24, 1929, letter to Robert Frost, Joseph Blumenthal, head of the Spiral Press, writes that he and his wife feel privileged to have the pleasure of using Frost's poem "Christmas Trees" for their Christmas card that year.

Apparently Frost himself thought the idea a good one; in 1934, he and the Spiral Press began a formal collaboration on annual Christmas chapbooks, which was to last through Frost's final Christmas in 1962. Used by the Blumenthals and Frost, as well as collectors, friends and family, the cards were illustrated by a number of artists, including a favorite illustrator of Frost poems, J.J. Lankes.

Shown here is the cover of the 1941 card, with a Lankes print about to be used in the upcoming publication of A Witness Tree, in 1942. Frost inscribed this card to Dartmouth librarian Harold Goddard Rugg:
Picture of a Witness Tree
As in my book about to be;
Which see

1951 Christmas card inscription to Mrs. Eberhart, wife of poet Richard Eberhart

1942 card, with a hand-colored illustration by J. O’Hara Cosgrave
Come to Rauner to see the entire collection.