This unparalleled collection of correspondence written by and to the Victorian poets Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning is made possible through a collaborative project between Baylor University, Wellesley College, The Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M University, Balliol College and the Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford, and others.
Robert Browning (1812-1889)
From his birth on May 7, 1812, Robert Browning was acknowledged to be a very clever child; he had aspired to be a poet from his earliest days in the south London village of Camberwell. His parents supported him in this endeavor until he was in his thirties and married Elizabeth Barrett. He was always true to his vocation but received little public appreciation until the publication of The Ring and the Book in 1868-1869, when he was in his fifties. more...
Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861)
Elizabeth Barrett Browning, christened Elizabeth Barrett Moulton-Barrett, was born on March 6, 1806, into a wealthy family whose fortune came from Jamaican sugar plantations. Her childhood was spent very happily at Hope End, the family’s stately home in Herefordshire, England. The eldest of twelve children, Elizabeth was something of a child prodigy; she was highly intelligent, dedicated, and determined to become a poet. more...
The Browning Letters Collaboration
This collection began as a partnership between the Armstrong Browning Library at Baylor University and Wellesley College in Wellesley, Massachusetts. Both institutions are home to significant collections of Browningiana and collaborated in an effort to make the compelling love story of the two poets available to scholars and enthusiasts around the globe. The project continues to grow as more Browning letters are digitized from partner institutions including Balliol College (Oxford), Ohio State University and the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin.
The enduring jewel of the English Poetry Collection, largest of the Wellesley Special Collections, is the original love letters of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett. Their exchange of 574 letters began on 10 January 1845, with a letter addressed to “dear Miss Barrett” and continued until a week after their marriage, ending with Elizabeth’s note to Robert as they arranged to leave England and travel to Italy [18 September 1846]. The love letters of Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning are among the most famous in literary history and provide significant insights into the lives, thoughts, and works of both poets.
The Armstrong Browning Library of Baylor University (ABL) is a world-renowned repository of research materials devoted to the study of the lives and works of the Victorian poets, Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. ABL houses the largest collection of books, manuscripts, and memorabilia related to the Brownings, as well as a substantial collection of materials on and from the Victorian era. The letters in the ABL collections range from sources that offer literary impact to seemingly insignificant social notes, but each item gives a unique perspective on the lives of two eminent Victorian poets.
For More Information
Read the complete "love letters" correspondence in plain text, chronological form as published in the 1900 publication, "The Letters of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Barrett, 1845-1846." Digital version provided via Project Gutenberg. (www.gutenberg.org)
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This collection is considered an active collection. Items will be added periodically as they are acquired by Baylor University and processed through the Digital Projects Group.