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Robert Peter Tristram Coffin family correspondence

Identifier: M207

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Scope and Contents

Letters from Robert P. Tristram Coffin to his mother, Alice M. Coffin, and his sister, Annie Coffin (Mrs. Harold Sanborn). Some letters include a page from Ruth Coffin. There is also a 1954 postcard from Coffin to his niece, Mary Margaret Sandborn [Ewert]. The letters describe family matters and aspects of daily life including descriptions of Coffin's travel, comments on the world events, news of exams taken, lectures attended, and poems sold. There are also seven photographs of Coffin dating from 1915 to the 1940s. For additional Coffin material in Bowdoin College Special Collections & Archives, see the Robert Peter Tristram Coffin Collection and the Robert Tristram Coffin National Parent-Teacher Magazine correspondence.


  • Creation: 1915-1954, undated


Access Restrictions

No restrictions.

Biographical / Historical

Robert Peter Tristram Coffin (Bowdoin 1915) was a Bowdoin College english professor (1934-1955), writer, and Pulitzer Prize winning poet. He was the sixth child in a family of ten children. His brothers were Levon, John, Ben, and Franck. His sisters were Alma, Annie, Alice, Arline, and Virginia. He married Ruth Phillip in 1918; they had four children, Mary-Alice, Margaret (Peggy), Robert Peter Tristram, Jr., and Richard. Coffin was a Pulitzer prize winning poet, writer, and English professor. He was graduated from Brunswick high school and Bowdoin College (Class of 1915), then attended Princeton (A.M. 1916), and as a Rhodes Scholar, Oxford University (A.B. 1920). While in Emgland he served to 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S Army. Coffin began his teaching career as instructor, and then professor of English at Wells College in Aurora, New York (1921-1934). He returned to Bowdoin as Pierce Professor of English (1934-1955), was a visiting lecturer at several colleges and universities from the 1930's through 1950's, and a Fulbright scholar at the University of Athens in 1953-1954. Robert P. Tristram Coffin died January 20, 1955. He was predeceased by his wife, Ruth Coffin, on April 5, 1947.


0.25 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Letters from Robert P. Tristram Coffin, primarily to his mother, Alice M. Coffin, and his sister, Annie Coffin (Mrs. Harold Sanborn).


Arranged chronologically.

Guide to the Coffin, Robert Peter Tristram Coffin Family Correspondence
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library, Brunswick, Maine 04011 Repository

3000 College Station
Brunswick Maine 04011 USA
(207) 725-3288