Ruth Robinson Nivison (1890-1971) was the daughter of Herman Edward Robinson, the poet’s older brother, and Emma Shepard Robinson. Ruth visited “Uncle Win” in Gardiner, although she moved with her family to Farmington due to financial difficulties. In 1921, she married William Nivison of Gardiner, where she lived her life and is buried.
RUTH ROBINSON NIVISON/ROBINSON BIRTHPLACE, INC AND SPECIAL COLLECTIONS
Ruth Nivison acted as executrix for Edwin Arlington Robinson’s estate and was part of a corporation formed in 1936, after the poet’s death, to maintain the Robinson birthplace home in Head Tide. Members of the Edwin Arlington Robinson Birthplace, Inc. included two of Robinson’s nieces – Ruth Nivison and Barbara Robinson Holt – as well as two non-family members, H Bacon Collamore and Margaret Perry.
After Collamore met Carl Weber and discussed Weber’s plans for the forthcoming Treasure Room in Miller Library, he considered Colby to be the repository that could preserve Robinson’s legacy. By 1940, Collamore had facilitated transfer of Robinson materials to Colby. On 3 July 1940, Weber went to the Nivison home in Gardiner and brought back an extensive collection. These materials, on deposit from Ruth Nivison, where placed in a safe deposit vault at Waterville’s First National Bank. Ruth Nivison deposited additional materials in the next two decades, including books from Robinson’s personal library.
In 1969, with Ruth Nivison’s health failing, members of the Robinson Birthplace corporation agreed to make the deposit an outright gift to Colby if the college agreed to also accept responsibility for the Head Tide property. Terms were accepted in the mid 1970s. Colby maintained the Head Tide property until its sale in 1985. Proceeds from the sale established an endowment fund, to be used for the benefit of the Robinson Collection.
Additonal works consulted:
Richards, Laura E. E.A.R. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1936. Print.
Robinson Birthplace, Inc. donor file. Colby College Special Collections.
Ruth Robinson Nivison donor file. Colby College Special Collections.
Weber, Carl J. Letters to Ruth Robinson Nivison. 1939. Cplby College Special Collections.
Weber, Carl J. Letters to Franklin W Johnson. 1940. Colby College Special Collections.