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Robert Buckeye correspondence

Identifier: C-14
The correspondence in this collection between Buckeye and various authors was typically started by Buckeye when he invited them to speak at the Middlebury College library as a part of the speaker series he implemented during his time at the College. In a number of cases, communication developed into friendly correspondence. Authors with whom Buckeye corresponded with frequently include Bob Arnold, Carol Berge, Nicholas Delbanco, Lyle Glazier, and Mitchell Goodman. Box 1 contains 47 folders for authors A through F, plus an index of letters in the collection. Box 2 contains 27 folders for authors G through K. Box 3 contains 51 folders for authors H through Z.


  • 1973 - 2003


Conditions Governing Access

Open for research without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

For permission to publish materials, contact: Special Collections & Archives Middlebury College Phone: (802) 443-2387 Email:


3 Boxes

Biographical / Historical

Bob Buckeye was originally hired by Middlebury College in 1971 as an acquisitions librarian, and worked from 1973 to 2003 as curator of the Abernethy collection. Buckeye was born in 1938 and attended and studied English at Denison University and Purdue University, and received a library degree from Simmons College. Buckeye taught English at the University of Connecticut, University of Puerto Rico, and Wayne State University. Speaker series began 1976. Buckeye approached Ron Rucker (then director of the library) about speaker series. Rucker and Buckeye believed that libraries are more than warehouses and are centers of learning. Buckeye’s introductions to his speakers were very well received, and were called “Setting the Table.” Regarding the speaker series, Buckeye believed that faculty had an obligation to address the college community from time to time. He also invited a number of people from the town of Middlebury to speak on topics that he thought would be of interest. Fifty percent of Buckeye’s speakers were women, and he also invited people of color to speak to the College community. In his invitation letters, Buckeye liked to indicate that he knew what they had written and what they were currently working on. Of his invitations, Buckeye said, “I don’t invite people whose work I don’t know,” explaining that inviting someone to speak on their work is a kind of contract that involves knowing about them. Most speakers were in the humanities because the series was funded by the Abernethy bequest. Buckeye believed that any institution the size of Middlebury serves the scholarly community at large. Before acquiring the work of an author, Buckeye would approach the writing department and ask their opinion. Buckeye developed a collection policy that he felt was consistent with a small college in New England: in many ways a New England collection, a collection related to the College (writers who had been faculty, invited to the writers conference), additional categories added by Buckeye that he felt were in the means of Middlebury College (women’s writers, contemporary writers, works in the tradition of American literature that were not fiction, poetry, or drama). Buckeye discusses a favorite quote by Raymond Williams: when Williams retired, he was asked about whether he had become part of Oxford. “It was never my Oxford, but it was a productive difference in which we learned from one another.” “It was never my Middlebury, but what I brought to it, and what it brought to me, we learned from one another.”


Collection is arranged alphabetically by author's last name.

Repository Details

Part of the Middlebury College Special Collections & Archives Repository

Middlebury College
Davis Family Library
110 Storrs Avenue
Middlebury Vermont 05753 United States