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Reginald L. Cook collection

Identifier: C-4

Scope and Contents

From the mid-1920s until Frost's death in 1963, Reginald L. Cook, Middlebury College graduate, professor, head of the American Literature department, and long-time director of the Bread Loaf School of English, kept detailed notes of all meetings with Robert Frost. The resulting journals include records of private conversations, intimate information about Frost, and transcriptions of Frost's formal lectures. The diary entries are presented with accuracy rather than style, by the author's own admission, and while they reveal Frost as a gifted conversationalist with a wide range of interests, they also uncover many of his idiosyncrasies.

Collection contains the papers of Reginald L. Cook, including typescript essays, correspondence, and 42 volumes of journals. Cook's essays are primarily written on Frost and other literary contacts. Journals document Cook's daily observations in his role of professor and head of the American Literature department at Middlebury College.

Collection also includes Robert Frost verbatim, consisting of an unpublished manusript (approximately 805 pages) describing Cook's meetings and discussions with Robert Frost, as well as his reflections on the poet and his work, between July 1925 and the poet's death in 1963. The text also contains transcripts of formal lectures given by Frost, and an interview with Cook by an unnamed interviewer on September 3, 1978.


  • Creation: 1926-1982


Language of Materials


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:

Biographical / Historical

Reginald "Doc" Cook (1903-1984), the namesake of Cook Commons was one of Middlebury's most celebrated professors of English. Born in Mendon, Massachusetts in 1903, Cook graduated from Middlebury in 1929. He then studied at Oxford for two years as a Rhodes Scholar, and returned to Middlebury as a professor of American Literature.

Cook served as a member of the Middlebury College faculty for 40 years, and also acted as Department Chair for a number of years. In 1946, Cook became director of The Bread Loaf School of English, a position he filled until 1964. Cook retired from the College in 1969. He was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters by Middlebury in 1960, and by St. Michaels College in 1972. Cook wrote two books on his good friend Robert Frost: The Dimensions of Robert Frost (1958), and Robert Frost, a Living Voice (1974). He also wrote extensively on Thoreau.


17 Boxes


Collection is divided into four series:

I: Correspondence

II: Journals

III: Manuscripts

IV: Audio files

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of estate of Reginald L. Cook.

Existence and Location of Copies

Listen to recordings of readings and lectures by Robert Frost at Bread Loaf via the Internet Archive

Related Materials

Nita Cook, wife of Reginald L. Cook, also gifted to the Middlebury College library approximately 600 books from the collection of her husband in 1989. See appraisal documents with collection for listing of some of Cook's books.

See also C-119 Reginald L. Cook collection (addition), given to the College after C-4. C-119 contains journals, manuscripts, and other works by Cook, as well as additional materials on Frost.

Language of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Middlebury College Special Collections & Archives Repository

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