Thursday, October 30, 2008

In Search of Literary San Antonio

In July of 2008, my wife and I visited friends San Antonio, Texas. While we were there, my friend, Tom Davis a professor at San Antonio College, helped me track down three literary sites in San Antonio. The first two locations we visited were the residences of Robert Frost and his family members during the winter of 1936-37. Frost and his wife decided to take a break from their winters in Key West, Florida when his daughter moved to Mexico. However, due to an unusually harsh winter, Frost decided not to return to San Antonio after that year.

Robert Frost was born in San Francisco in 1874 and moved to Lawrence, Massachusetts. He was enrolled at Dartmouth College in 1892, and later spent some time at Harvard His first professional poem, "My Butterfly," was published on November 8, 1894, in the New York newspaper The Independent. In 1895, Frost married Elinor Miriam White and together moved to England in 1912. While in England, Frost published two full-length collections of poems and returned to the United States in 1915. By the nineteen-twenties, he was the most celebrated poet in America -- his work is principally associated with the life and landscape of New England. Frost was awarded four Pulitzer Prizes for his books of poetry. He died in Boston on January 29, 1963.

For more on Robert Frost, the Frost Cottage in Key West, and the Robert Frost Poetry Festival see my Eye On Literature posting of TUESDAY, MARCH 11, 2008:
The Robert Frost Cottage in Key West, Florida

Click here to watch the You Tube Video 

The third literary landmark in San Antonio we visited was the O. Henry House. O. Henry was the pen name of William Sydney Porter whose short stories are famous for their ironic endings. He was born in 1862 on a plantation in Greensboro, North Carolina. In 1882, he moved to Texas, where he held various jobs, including that of a ranch hand. Two years later, he moved to Austin, and in 1887, he married a local girl, Athol Estes, who was only seventeen years old. In 1895, Porter was accused of embezzlement for the time he worked as a teller at the First National Bank of Austin. Although he denied the charges, he was arrested and skipped bail before the trial began. O. Henry spent part of 1895-1896 in San Antonio, Texas working on his magazine The Rolling Stone. The house itself was relocated from the old Lone Star Brewing Company site to the corner of Laredo and Dolorosa and is managed by the San Antonio Conservation Society. In May of 1999 the restored O. Henry House was reopened to the public.

For more on O. Henry and his time in Austin, Texas, visit my posting at: