Library of Edwin Arlington Robinson


EAR reading in his library. These volumes provide insight into Robinson’s literary world.

The personal library of Edwin Arlington Robinson is a key part of Colby’s extensive Robinson Collection. Received in 1941 through donor Ruth Robinson Nivison, with additional volumes received later from other Robinson associates, these volumes show the close relationship between Robinson’s poetry and the books he owned as many authors represented in the poet’s library are mentioned in the poems themselves. Although Robinson typically did not mark his books as he read, signs of wear indicated repeated return to certain volumes. The library comprises books accumulated in the Gardiner home by family members as well as volumes purchased by Robinson or given to him.

Despite Robinson’s avid interest in the writings of Thomas Hardy, his library has no Hardy titles. Curator Weber posited that Robinson did indeed read Hardy’s novels but – uncharacteristically – he acquired copies on loan through his friend, Dr Alanson T Schumann of Gardiner. In general, Robinson was well known for his preference of owning the books he read.

Works consulted:

Cary, Richard. “The Library of Edwin Arlington Robinson: Addenda.” Colby Library Quarterly. Waterville, ME: Colby College Library.  March 1967. Print and web

Humphry, James, III. The Library of Edwin Arlington Robinson. Waterville, ME: Colby College Press, 1950. Print.


Books from Robinson’s personal library are described in the Colby Libraries web catalog. They are designated with a ROBLIB prestamp before the call number.


The Robinson Collection contains letters, manuscripts, galley proofs, clippings, photographs, artwork and artifacts.