New Research and Teaching Tool for 19th-Century Studies Unveiled

By Jeremy Land, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of English

Baylor’s 19th Century Research Seminar (19CRS), an interdisciplinary forum for faculty and students in and outside of Baylor University to present and hear original research in all areas of nineteenth-century studies, is proud to announce the launch of its completely redesigned website. This project was developed in conjunction with Baylor’s English department and the Armstrong Browning Library. In the past, 19CRS’s blog was simply a message board to notify interested parties about upcoming events. The redesigned site will still keep our supporters informed about all the innovative research sponsored by 19CRS; however, the added features are designed to make the site more of a tool for all those interested in studying the nineteenth century.

19CRS has complied an exhaustive list of internet sites to support both research and teaching. Topics range from nineteenth century art to African-American studies to Victorian literature and everything else we could possibly compile.  All of these resources are either peer reviewed by NINES or hosted by a university so that we could guarantee the quality of the materials.  In addition we only selected sites that provide immediate access to records, images, manuscripts, or other digital information useful to scholars, students, and teachers.

In case you were unable to come to our monthly seminars, 19CRS’s new site has begun to catalog our past presenters’ presentations. If you missed a presentation, or perhaps you want to reference something from a lecture in your own research, you can now down load a PDF copy, when available, for your projects. Or if you really enjoyed the current lecture and felt there was not enough time to finish the discussion or were later inspired by what you heard, 19CRS’s blog now offers a discussion forum for interested parties.

Other features include a place for teachers to share syllabi, reviews showcasing important books from Baylor faculty and 19CRS presenters, and the Armstrong Browning Library’s latest acquisitions. Regardless of your level of experience or expertise, we think our new site has something to offer those interested in the nineteenth century. As always, we invite you to share in our new site, offer feedback on improving it, and to join us for our monthly lecture series.

19CRS Blog

Learn more about the 19th-Century Research Seminar here: http://blogs.baylor.edu/19crs/

 

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Beyond the Brownings: The Victorian Letter and Manuscript Collection

By Melinda Creech, Graduate Assistant, Armstrong Browning Library

Beyond-the-BrowningsScholars know the Armstrong Browning Library at Baylor University as a world-class research library devoted to the lives and works of Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. In addition to housing the world’s largest collection of books, letters, manuscripts, and memorabilia related to the Brownings, the library houses a substantial collection of primary and secondary materials related to nineteenth-century literature and culture. The Victorian Letter and Manuscript Collection includes almost 2,500 items from literary, political, ecclesiastical, scientific, and cultural figures in the nineteenth century. Letters, manuscripts, and books from Prince Albert, Queen Victoria, Matthew Arnold, Charles Babbage, J. M. Barrie, William Cullen Bryant, Thomas Carlyle, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Charles Dickens, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Michael Faraday, W. E. Gladstone, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Victor Hugo, Thomas Henry Huxley, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, James Russell Lowell, George MacDonald, John-Henry Newman, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Christina Rossetti, William Michael Rossetti, John Ruskin, Alfred Lord Tennyson, William Makepeace Thackeray, John Greenleaf Whittier, and William Wordsworth will be featured in the exhibit. In future blogs about the exhibit you can find out how Elizabeth Barrett Browning was related to Charles Babbage, where Victor Hugo spent his summer vacation, who was b__k b__ll__ed, and what happened to Miss Brodie’s cow.

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Armstrong’s Stars: “Where is Waco, Texas?”

By Jennifer Borderud, Access and Outreach Librarian, Armstrong Browning Library

Noyes Headline

Account of Noyes’s lecture in the 18 January 1917 issue of the Lariat (The Texas Collection)

In her biography of Dr. A.J. Armstrong, chair of Baylor’s English Department from 1912-1952 and founder of the Armstrong Browning Library, Lois Smith Douglas recounts Dr. Armstrong’s efforts to bring English poet Alfred Noyes to Waco in 1917.  Douglas writes that the poet’s manager initially declined the invitation “with undisguised humor,” asking “‘Where is Waco, Texas?’” (93).

Undeterred by the remark, Dr. Armstrong arranged an additional thirteen speaking engagements for the author of the “The Highwayman” throughout Texas and the Southwest and succeeded in bringing Noyes to Baylor’s campus on 12 January 1917. Waco was Noyes’s first stop on his tour of the United States that year (Douglas 93-94).  Baylor’s student newspaper, The Lariat, wrote of the event:  “It is unprecedented in the history of Texas and the South that a poet belonging to the world’s great poets has visited this section” (“Alfred Noyes to Lecture Here” 1).  Ever the ambassador, Dr. Armstrong enthusiastically introduced Noyes to Baylor and Waco, and over the course of his 40-year career at Baylor, Dr. Armstrong made certain that Baylor and Waco came face-to-face with the world’s dramatic, literary, and musical talents.

Armstrong’s Stars, a new blog series, is a collaboration between the Armstrong Browning Library and Baylor’s Texas Collection.  Once a month we will feature a story about a celebrity that Dr. Armstrong brought to Baylor.  These stories will highlight an interesting part of Baylor’s history and feature collection materials housed in both the Armstrong Browning Library and the Texas Collection.  Contributions to the blog series will be made by ABL and Texas Collection staff as well as by students from Baylor’s English Department, some of whom are also members of Sigma Tau Delta, Baylor’s English honor society.  We are particularly pleased to have members of Sigma Tau Delta participating in this series as Baylor’s chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, founded by Dr. Armstrong in 1925, sponsored many of these exciting events and ensured their success.

Sigma Tau Delta and Cornell

Members of Sigma Tau Delta with Dr. A.J. Armstrong (seated left of center) and actors Katharine Cornell (seated center) and Basil Rathbone (seated at far right) in 1934; Photo by Farmer, Waco, Texas (Armstrong Browning Library, Sigma Tau Delta Photo File)

Works Cited:

“Alfred Noyes to Lecture Here.”  Lariat 11 Jan. 1917:  1.  Web.  4 Sept. 2014.

Douglas, Lois Smith.  Through Heaven’s Back Door:  A Biography of A. Joseph Armstrong.  Waco, Texas:  The Baylor University Press, c1951.  Print.

To learn more about the life and career of Dr. Armstrong, see:

Lewis, Scott.  Boundless Life:  A Biography of Andrew Joseph Armstrong.  Waco, Texas:  Armstrong Browning Library of Baylor University, 2014.  Print.  Now available here.

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The 2,000,000th Volume

By Rita S. Patteson, Director of the Armstrong Browning Library

When Jennifer Borderud and I chatted with University of Houston librarians Pat Bozeman and Julie Grob at the annual Rare Books and Manuscripts Preconference in Las Vegas in June, we learned a very interesting fact. In 1998, a special edition of Robert Browning’s Men and Women (Hammersmith: Doves Press, 1908) was the two-millionth volume added to the M.D. Anderson Library at the University of Houston.

And what a volume!  It is one of only thirteen copies printed on vellum, hand-decorated and signed by Edward Johnston, and specially bound in 1914 at Doves Press by T.J. Cobden-Sanderson. This two-volume edition contains the bookplates of three noted former owners: “The Doves Press. Ex Libris. Alfred Fowler”; “Ex Libris Cortland Field Bishop”; and “John S. Saks.”  It was sold at Christie’s New York auction house as part of Mr. Saks’ Doves Press collection and presented to the Anderson Library by the current and former University of Houston Libraries staff, with assistance from Detering Book Gallery, Inc.

Excuse me for being jealous!

Page 184, volume 2, of Doves Press Men and Women

Page from Baylor’s Doves Press edition (one of 250 printed on paper), alas, not one of the 13 on vellum!

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Dr. Armstrong’s “Mammoth” Pied Piper Pageant

Ninety years ago on 9 June 1924, Dr. A.J. Armstrong, founder of the ABL and chair of Baylor’s English department from 1912-1952, staged in the middle of Baylor University’s campus what the Waco Times-Herald called in an article on 1 June 1924 a “mammoth” pageant.  The pageant was based on Robert Browning’s poem “The Pied Piper of Hamelin” and featured Baylor students as well as 400 Waco school children under the direction of Lillie Martin, professor of primary education at Baylor.  Parents of the children who participated in this dramatic presentation of Browning’s poem were instructed to provide their children “with a costume for a rat, something on the order of the brownie costumes, one piece with rat ears, a tail which should be stuffed with cotton or excellsior and perhaps wired.  The length of the tail,” the instructions continued, “should vary according to the age of the child.”

Baylor student Annie Lee Truett as the Pied Piper

Baylor student Annie Lee Truett as the Pied Piper

During the pageant, the children, dressed as white, gray, brown, and black rats, remained out of view of the crowd until they were lured by the sound of the Pied Piper’s flute from their hiding places in the doorways of buildings and the bushes around the Burleson Quadrangle.  After scurrying through the crowd, the children once again disappeared as they followed the Pied Piper, played by Annie Lee Truett, later returning to join the crowd as “children” for the remainder of the event.

Crowd at Pied Piper Pageant

Crowd at the Pied Piper Pageant. Dr. Armstrong is the man in white holding a little boy in his lap. (Photo: Whayne H. Farmer, Waco, Texas)

The pageant, which according to the Waco News Tribune on 10 June 1924 drew a crowd of several thousand from Waco and all over Texas, was one part of a larger program that featured the dedication of three stained-glass windows for the Browning Room in Carroll Library.  Mrs. Moselle Alexander McLendon presented Baylor with a window based on Browning’s “Pied Piper” poem.  Mrs. J.V. Brown on behalf of San Marcos Academy presented a window representing Browning’s “How They Brought the Good News from Ghent to Aix.”  And Mrs. E.D. Head, speaking for Mrs. Carrie C. Slaughter of Dallas, presented a window depicting Browning’s poem “The Guardian Angel.” The windows, designed by the Haskins Studio of Rochester, New York, were received by Baylor President Samuel Palmer Brooks.

Pied Piper Window

The Pied Piper Window, Leddy-Jones Research Hall, Armstrong Browning Library

The presentation was preceded by an operetta of The Pied Piper of Hamelin by R.H. Walthew and was sung by Baylor Professor W.N. Payne, Mrs. Royal C. Stiles, Mrs. Harold T. Dawson, and Mr. C.S. Cadwallader.  Professor Robert Markham accompanied the performance on the piano.  The crowd was invited to view the windows in the Browning Room at the conclusion of the program.  The three windows presented to Baylor at the 1924 Pied Piper Pageant can now be seen in the Leddy-Jones Research Hall of the Armstrong Browning Library.

 

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Selection for Margarett Root Brown Chair in Robert Browning and Victorian Studies Announced

During the Armstrong Browning Library’s annual Browning Day celebration on May 7, Pattie Orr, Vice President for Information Technology and Dean of University Libraries, publicly announced the selection of Dr. Joshua King, Associate Professor (effective August 2014) of English at Baylor University, as the next holder of the Margarett Root Brown Chair in Robert Browning and Victorian Studies.

Brown Chair Announcement

Dean Pattie Orr announces the selection of Dr. Joshua King as holder of the Margarett Root Brown Chair in Robert Browning and Victorian Studies

As Chair, Dr. King will serve as a scholar-in-residence for the Armstrong Browning Library, researching and publishing on materials related to the Library’s holdings and attending and designing scholarly and outreach events to promote the Library’s standing as a world center for Victorian studies.

Since its establishment by the Brown Foundation in 1971, this position has been held by members of the Baylor faculty as well as visiting international scholars. Past Chair holders include Dr. Jack W. Herring (1971-1984), Dr. Roger L. Brooks (1987-1994), Dr. Mairi Rennie (1996-2002), Dr. Stephen Prickett (2003-2008), and Dr. Kirstie Blair (2012).  Dr. King will begin his three-year term as Chair this summer (2014) and will be eligible for additional terms thereafter.

Browning Day Program 2014

Browning Day Program 2014

In addition to Dean Orr’s announcement, this year’s Browning Day, celebrating Robert Browning’s 202nd birthday, featured music organized by ABL Artist-in-Residence Carlos Colón and performed by Chris Martin, recognition of D.M. Edwards in appreciation of the D.M. Edwards Library Internship Endowed Scholarship Fund, and a presentation on The Browning Letters project.  The presentation, given by Darryl Stuhr and Eric Ames from Baylor University, Ian Graham from Wellesley College, and Anna Sander and Fiona Godber from Balliol College, was followed by a reception in the Library’s Seminar Room.  Visit the Baylor University Libraries Digital Collections Blog to learn more about the presentation and The Browning Letters project.

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…from America: The Brownings’ American Correspondents–Moncure Daniel Conway (1832–1907)

Daniel Moncure ConwayMoncure Daniel Conway was an American abolitionist, Unitarian clergyman, and author. His life took many turns. He moved from being the son of a wealthy slaveholder in Virginia, to a Methodist minister, and to an outspoken abolitionist with transcendental tendancies. He traveled to England to become an advocate for abolition and to Venice, spending most of the remainder of his life in England as minister of the South Place Chapel, occasionally traveling back to the United States. In England, having become a journalist and a literary agent, he admired the poetry of Robert Browning and became a close acquaintance. After his wife died, he moved to France, devoting his life to the peace movement and to writing. He died alone in Paris.

RB-to-ConwayLetter from Robert Browning to Moncure Daniel Conway. 20 December 1881.

In this letter Browning explains the origin of a story he had recounted in the epilogue to his book, The Two Poets of Croisic, about a cricket and a singer, explaining that the story came from a Greek myth.

La-SaisiazRobert Browning. La Saisiaz: The Two Poets of Croisic. London: Smith, Elder and Company, 1878.

The story that Browning was explaining to Conway in the letter appears in the “Epilogue” to The Two Poets of Croisic.

Tell the gazer “’Twas a cricket

         Helped my crippled lyre, whose lilt

Sweet and low, when strength usurped

Softness’ place i’ the scale, she chirped?

The Armstrong Browning Library’s holdings related to Conway include three books and four letters.

 

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…from America: The Brownings’ American Correspondents–Cornelius Mathews (1817–1881)

cornelius mathewsCornelius Mathews was an American writer, best known for his crucial role in the formation of a literary group known as Young America in the late 1830s. He called for a new literary style that would express a distinctly American identity. He corresponded with Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Charles Dickens. He was the first to publish Barrett Browning’s works in America.

Mathews-to-Barrett-1Mathews-to-Barrett-2Mathews-to-Barrett-3 Letter from Cornelius Mathews to Elizabeth Barrett Browning. 30 January 1844.

In this letter Cornelius Mathews thanks Elizabeth Barrett Browning for her letter and reports about the publication of her work in America.

 A collection of ‘English Poetry’ is to be made in this country [by Mr R. W. Griswold] & that to a friend of mine is deputed, at my request, the charge of your writings, Mr. Horne’s & Mr. Browning’s & I hope you will live to be pleased when you see what is done & said in your & their behalf.

EBB-to-Mathews-1EBB-to-Mathews-2EBB-to-Mathews-3 Letter from Elizabeth Barrett Browning to Cornelius Mathews. [26] March 1844.

In this letter Elizabeth Barret Browning thanks Mathews for his interest and help in publishing her poems in America.

I am at the end of my paper & have yet to thank you warmly & gratefully for your kind interest about the American edition of my poems.

Elizabeth went on to make an acknowledgment of Mathews contribution to the publication of her work in America in the preface to the first edition of her poems published in America.

The Armstrong Browning Library’s holdings related to Mathews include eight Browning letters and three  manuscripts.

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…from America: The Brownings’ American Correspondents–James Thomas Fields (1817–1881)

JamesTFieldsby cameronJames Thomas Fields was an American publisher, editor, and poet. He joined with William Tichnor in creating a publishing and bookselling firm, first known as Ticknor and Fields, and later known as Fields, Osgood & Company. Fields became the publisher of leading contemporary American writers, with many of whom he developed a personal relationship. In addition to being a publisher, Fields also wrote poetry, and after his retirement, he was a popular lecturer. Fields published Robert Browning’s poetry.

Browning-to-Fields-1Browning-to-Fields-2Letter from Robert Browning to James Thomas Fields. 12 July 1868.

In this letter Robert Browning discusses with Fields the procedure of getting the proofs to him for the American publication of his poetry.

JTFields-to-BrowningLetter from James Thomas Fields to Robert Browning. 12 November 1868.

In this letter Fields assures Robert Browning that his revisions have been made and expresses his pride in being allowed to publish Browning’s poems:

 I cannot tell you what a satisfaction it is to me personally, to have the opportunity of putting my name on the title page with yours in this new venture.

This book of James T. Fields’ own poetry was inscribed by the author as a gift to his friend, Judge Richard Fletcher of Boston.

JTFields-Poems-1

JTFields-Poems-2James Thomas Fields. Poems. Boston: William D. Tichnor and Company, 1849.

The Armstrong Browning Library’s holdings related to Fields include more than fifteen books and three letters.

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…from America: The Brownings’ American Correspondents–Daniel Sargent Curtis (1825–1908)

414px-Antonio_Mancini_-_Daniel_Sargent_CurtisDaniel Sargent Curtis was among the Brownings’ cohort of American friends living in Italy. In 1881 Daniel Sargent Curtis rented the Palazzo Barbaro in Venice and  purchased it in 1885. Curtis and his wife Ariana repaired and restored the Palazzo Barbaro and hosted many artists, musicians, and writers. The palace became the hub of American life in Venice with visits from Henry James, James Whistler, Robert Browning, and Claude Monet. Palazzo Barbaro was used as a location in the 1981 Brideshead Revisited TV series.

Curtis-to-Browning-1Curtis-to-Browning-2Curtis-to-Browning-3Curtis-to-Browning-4Letter from Daniel Sargent Curtis to Robert Browning. 27 March 1886.

In this letter Curtis discusses his purchase of the Palazzo Barbaro in Venice.

Browning-to-Curtis-1Browning-to-Curtis-2Browning-to-Curtis-3Letter from Robert Browning to Daniel Sargent Curtis. 4 June 1886.

In this letter Browning presents further discussion of the Palazzo Barbaro. He also discusses meeting and being favorably impressed by Oliver Wendell Holmes, an American jurist who served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1902 to 1932, and as Acting Chief Justice of the United States January–February 1930.

Palazzo_Barbaro_gran_canal_san_marcoPhotograph of the Palazzo Barbaroon the Grand Canal in Venice.

The Armstrong Browning Library’s holdings related to Curtis include six letters and a diary of his conversations with Browning from 1879 to 1885.

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