Fans of history and poetry are hoping the city of Methuen gets a $3,000 grant to preserve an attendance log that poet Robert Frost used when he taught grammar school more than a century ago.
The bound volume is in need of the care of preservationists and the city has applied for a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services for the money. The book is currently being stored in a city hall vault.
The volume was first discovered about 20 years ago by Michael Hughes, a Methuen High School history teacher, and handed over to the Methuen Historical Society where it was stored in the basement of the Masonic Lodge on Broadway. Mathew A. Kraunelis, chief of staff to Manzi and a Frost fan, rediscovered the volume earlier this year.
"It's very important,'' Mayor William M. Manzi III said in a telephone interview today. "It's actually more than a book just with a signature in it. It's actually in Robert Frost's hand."
The log details student attendance for Frost's class at the city's Second Grammar School in 1893. He taught for just one year in the same system as his mother, Isabelle, whose handwriting is also found in the attendance register.
Manzi said the grant may not cover all the cost. Donations are being accepted by City Hall and the Methuen Historical Society. Donations can be sent to the society's Frost Account care of the mayor's office, 41 Pleasant Street, Suite 306, Methuen, MA 01844.
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