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My Tilbury Town and
James S. Barstow

My Tilbury Town was privately printed in 1938 by James Stewart Barstow in response to the publication of Herman Hagedorn’s biography of Edwin Arlington Robinson. Because this publication was issued in a limited edition and now is available only at libraries with special collections devoted to Robinson, scanned images of the pages in this brief pamphlet are offered in this website.

James Stewart Barstow was born in Gardiner, Maine, March 12, 1876, youngest son of Peleg N. and Elizabeth (Stewart) Barstow. He graduated from Harvard in 1898 and was for two years literary editor of the Kansas City Star. From 1917 to 1924 he was a master (teacher) at Groton School, and during the rest of his life, he conducted a private tutoring school in New York City. According to Groton School Quarterly (June 1941), “He had rare gifts as a teacher, and was especially successful in teaching boys how to study.” He died at New York City May 11, 1941. A photograph of Barstow appears in the group portrait taken at Camp Cobbossee in August 1897, reproduced above (James S Barstow is highlighted).

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This paragraph appeared in Laura E. Richards, Stepping Westward (New York and London: D. Appelton and Company, 1931), Chapter XI, “A Posey of Friendship,” pages 377-383. Because of the raging controversy about Gardiner, Maine, being the basis of the Tilbury Poems, Laura Richards floated a trial balloon and asked the poet for his explanation. Robinson crossed out the words “neither of these things is true” and inserted at the end of the paragraph: “This is entirely wrong and absurd, though he says that Gardiner may be responsible, in a shadowy way, for Tilbury Town.”

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