Frost in Derry

John H. Robinson, Frost's Editor for The Farm-Poultry

Portrait of John Henry Robinson, Editor of Farm-Poultry
John Henry Robinson (1863 - 1935)

Robinson was a prolific writer in the poultry field at the same time that Frost was working in Derry. Robinson was the editor of The Farm-Poultry when Frost approached the journal through a mail inquiry proposing some "articles a little out of the usual line, but with instructive ideas in them."* After his submission was rejected by Robinson Frost got two articles published in a rival publication, The Eastern Poultryman.

Robinson later reversed his decision and published one of these pieces, "A Just Judge," and nine others. In the issue of The Farm-Poultry which contains the Frost article, "The Question of a Feather," (Volume 14, Number 14, July 15, 1903) Robinson explains his reversal:

By way of giving readers a little light reading for warm weather we present in this issue a bit of fiction, which we imagine many will find as entertaining as we have. A little while ago we reprinted an entertaining little story by the same author which first appeared in the Eastern Poultryman.

Thereby hangs a tale of some interest to those who have MSS. [manuscripts] to offer poultry editors. Some time before Mr. F[rost] wrote us offering articles a little out of the usual line, but with instructive ideas in them. We are always ready to investigate anything offering possibilities of good copy, so we wrote him to send us an article for examination. He did so, and we didn't like it a bit; sent it back. Then picking up a copy of the Eastern Poultryman, we came across what to us was a very interesting story in a style somewhat familiar. We couldn't place it at first, but later recalled that the initials were those of that correspondent whose story weighted with information had been returned. So we wrote him if the story in the Eastern Poultryman was his to send us what plain stories he had, and we would make him an offer for any we could use. From the stories sent we selected three, the one appearing in this issue, and two others which will come at intervals during the summer.

Moral: It is sometimes better to let an editor see all your articles than to send him only those you think ought to suit his paper. -- John Robinson, Editorial Notes, page 309

Robinson later assumed ownership of The Farm-Poultry and became its editor and manager.

*Robert Frost: Farm-Poultryman. Robert Frost. Edited by Edward Connery Lathem and Lawrance Thompson. Dartmouth Publications, 1963, page 13