Rabindranath Tagore was an eminent scholar and prolific Indian writer in the latter half of the Nineteenth-Century and first half of the Twentieth-Century. He was born at Jorasanko, Calcutta, India on May 7, 1861. At an early age he showed promise as a writer, specifically of poetry. Rabindranath went on to write over 3000 poems, 2000 songs (including the Indian National Anthem), 8 novels, 40 volumes of essays, and 50 plays. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913 for his most famous work Gitanjali (Song Offerings), which was published in 1910.
In 1906, Rabindranath sent his son, Rathindranath, to the University of Illinois at Urbana to study agriculture. In 1912-1913, Rabindranath spent time himself at the University of Illinois where he became friends with Professor Arthur Seymour and his wife Mayce. Dr. Seymour was the head of the University of Illinois’ International Studies program. In 1926, Dr. Seymour became a professor of French at the Florida State College for Women and served as Head of the Department of Modern Foreign Languages until 1946.
In 1982, The Tagore Collection was donated to Special Collections by the estate of Marion Jewell Hay. Marion Hay became a professor of education at Florida State College for Women in 1929 and retired from Florida State University in 1967.
The majority of the correspondence in the collection is between Rabindranath and Professor Seymour and his wife, as well as other friends and family. Also included in the collection are biographical materials related to Rabindranath’s life in India and the United States, photographs, articles, periodicals, and artwork. To view the finding aid, click here.
Rabindranath died when he was eighty years old on August 7, 1941, at Jorasanko, Calcutta, India. He is remembered as a poet, musician, artist, philosopher, mystic, and teacher.
“STRAY birds of summer come to my window to sing and fly away. And yellow leaves of autumn, which have no songs, flutter and fall there with a sigh.”
Verse 1, Stray Birds by Rabindranath Tagore, translated from Bengali to English by the author, New York: The Macmillan Company, 1916.