Published October 18, 2013
English poet Robert Graves reportedly once said: “There’s no money in poetry, but then there’s no poetry in money either.”
He was wrong, at least when it comes to beloved American poet Robert Frost.
In two months, UB raised more than $65,000 to create an endowment to support its prized collection of Frost materials, officially known as the Victor E. Reichert Robert Frost Collection. Additionally, the endowment will fund an annual event that honors Frost and could enable UB to make new Frost-related acquisitions.
“Support for the humanities, especially poetry, has been and continues to be incredibly strong in the Buffalo Niagara region,” says Michael Basinski, curator of the Poetry Collection of the University Libraries. “We would like to thank our generous donors, particularly Jonathan Reichert, who helped ensure these treasured materials receive the care and attention they so richly deserve.”
A UB professor emeritus of physics, Reichert donated the collection to UB in January. It includes letters, photographs, audio recordings and other documents that chronicle the 24-year friendship between Frost and his father, the late Victor E. Reichert, a Cincinnati rabbi.
Perhaps more so than any other Frost collection, it could illuminate views on the poet’s religious beliefs, which have been the subject of debate for decades.
“The collection was my father’s treasure. It is a small, but not insignificant, part of American literature,” Reichert says. “Now it has a permanent home where it will live for all to examine, to study, to interpret, to debate and to learn.”
In addition to the collection, Reichert pledged $50,000 for the endowment if UB could raise $15,000. The Poetry Collection began soliciting donations in July and to date has raised nearly $20,000. So far, 79 groups or individuals have donated.
For more information about the collection, visit the Poetry Collection website.
Founded in 1937, the Poetry Collection includes one of the world’s foremost collections of James Joyce materials, as well as significant collections on Dylan Thomas, William Carlos Williams, Robert Duncan and other writers and poets, including Graves.