Franklin D'Olier Reeve
Biography of Franklin D'Olier Reeve
Franklin D'Olier "F.D." Reeve (September 18, 1928 - June 28, 2013) was an American academic, writer, poet, Russian translator, and editor. He was also the father of "Superman" actor Christopher Reeve. He was the grandson of the first American Legion national commander, Franklin D'Olier.
Reeve was born in Philadelphia, the son of Anne Conrad D'Olier and Richard Henry Reeve. He was brought up outside New York City. Reeve worked in the wheat fields for a while during college and, after graduation, was a Hudson River longshoreman for a while. He graduated from Princeton University (1950) and Columbia University (1958), and in 1961 was one of the first exchanges between the American Council of Learned Societies and the USSR Academy of Sciences. In the late summer of 1962 he accompanied Robert Frost to Russia for his meeting with Nikita Khrushchev, where Reeve served as Frost's translator.
Reeve started his academic career teaching Russian language and literature at Columbia University. After teaching at Columbia, Reeve moved to Wesleyan University in 1962 as chairman of the Russian Department. In 1967, he joined Wesleyan's inter-disciplinary College of Letters where he taught literature, humanities and creative writing until his retirement in 2002. During the course of his career he had visiting appointments at Oxford University, Yale, and Columbia.
Since 1994 he lived in Wilmington, Vermont with his wife the novelist Laura Stevenson. Reeve was an officer of the Poetry Society of America, the founding editor of "Poetry Review," the secretary of Poets House in its formative years, and was associated with the New England Poetry Club and the New York Quarterly. He published over two dozen books of poetry, fiction, criticism, and translation.
Reeve died on June 28, 2013 at Dartmouth Hitchcock Hospital in Lebanon, New Hampshire from complications from diabetes. He was 84 and is survived by his fourth wife, Laura C. Stevenson, a novelist: his son Benjamin; a daughter, Alya, and two sons, Brock and Mark, all from his second marriage; two stepdaughters, Katharine O’Connell and Margaret Staloff; his sister, Anne Reeve Childs; his brother, Richard; and 18 grandchildren.
He was urged to prepare for success: "You never can tell,
he was told over and over; "others have made it;
one dare not presume to predict. You never can tell.
Who's Who in America lists the order of cats
in hunting, fishing, bird-watching, farming,
domestic service- the dictionary order of cats
who have made it. Those not in the book are beyond the pale.