Christmas Cards from Robert Frost with his poems printed on them

A 1942 card that includes the poem “The Gift Outright.” (Image courtesy of Rauner Special Collections Library)

Longing for some memorable holiday cards? How about a beautiful Christmas card from Robert Frost with one of his poems printed on it?

In 1926 a recently opened letterpress shop in New York City named Spiral Press printed a book of poems for Frost. One of the owners of the press, Joseph Blumenthal, printed one of the poems as a Christmas card for his wife. Robert Frost loved the card and thus began a working relationship between Blumenthal and Frost and several woodcut artists and engravers.

Frost sent the cards out annually from 1934 to 1962. The last year they were mailed, the print run was over 17,000. Some of the cards ran up to 20 pages and included such well-known Frost poems as “The Gift Outright” and “The Wood-Pile.”

Examples of the cards from the Rauner Special Collections can be viewed here.

Dartmouth College’s Officce of Alumni Relations recently posted the following notice about the cards on their blog:

Dartmouth’s Rauner Special Collections Library has an extensive collection of the cards, including copies of the first-ever example—“Christmas Trees”—which was produced without Frost’s knowledge in 1929. Later, Frost expressed admiration for the card and he agreed to help produce them on an annual basis in 1934.

Rauner’s collection also includes cards with handwritten notes from Frost to librarians at Baker Library and other friends in Hanover. In 1951, Frost accompanied the “A Cabin in the Clearing” card with this note to Dartmouth bookstore employee Ruby Dagget: “in hopes that you will carry it like a lesson to your schoolhouse in the wilds of Vershire.” Vershire is a nearby town in Vermont.

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