The Round-Up 1926 Published by the Senior Class of Baylor University

1926 was an important year in the history of the Browning Collection. It was only one year after the London Times described the collection of Browning materials at Baylor the largest Browning Collection in the world, a distinction it has retained. In 1926 the Senior Class produced the “Browning Edition” of the University’s yearbook, dedicated to Dr. Andrew J. Armstrong, English Department Head from 1912 to 1952, and founder of the Browning Collection, which he gave to the University in 1918.

Because he is a Browning Scholar of world-wide fame, being “made up of an intensest life,” and having devoted that life to the spirt of Baylor and of Browning, with the result that they are synonymous in the minds of men at home and abroad.

And because he has given Baylor the Browning collection, a priceless pearl of truth and beauty, which will inspire in future generations to plunge, to strive, and to attain–

We, the Senior Class of 1926 , dedicate the Browning Edition of the Round-Up.”

The second and third pages of the Round-Up feature four poems about Robert Browning, including “Browning in Texas” by the British poet Edwin Markham, one of about forty poets that Dr. Armstrong ultimately brought to the campus.

Browning in Texas

Browning, your soul ranged over land and seas

Seeking this import of the march of man:

You were at home with folk of all degrees,

From Paracelsus down to Caliban.

But did you ever in your circling sweep

Behold this young dominion of mankind

Which for all coming centuries will keep

Tokens and trophies of your Orphic mind?

Texas! Did that name whisper in your brain

When you were searching life with peering eyes?

Ah, she is spacious as your song’s domain;

And like it, she is archt with starry skies.

Being great herself–wing-thrilled from every pole–

She folds in her own the greatness of your soul.

Excerpts from Robert Browning’s poetry are scattered throughout the yearbook, beginning with the Epilogue to Asolando:

“One who never turned his back but marched breast forward,

Never doubted clouds would break,

Never dreamed, though right was worsted, wrong would triumph,

Held we fall to rise, are baffled to fight better, sleep to wake.”

The above quote is followed by a photograph of the last formal portrait of Robert Browning, completed by his and Elizabeth’s only offspring Pen (Robert Barrett Browning) in May/June 1889. Shown just below the portrait is the sculpture “The Clasped Hands,” cast by the American sculptor, and Browning friend, Harriet Hosmer in 1853. Excerpts from other Robert Browning poems in the Round-Up include: “The year’s at the spring” from Pippa Passes, “The Guardian Angel,” “Rabbi ben Ezra,” “Love Among the Ruins,” “The Pied Piper of Hamelin,” the Invocation to his masterwork “The Ring and the Book,” dedicating the work to Elizabeth’s memory, “How They Brought the Good News from Ghent to Aix,” and “Paracelsus.” Included are photographs of the original three stained glass windows placed in The Browning Room at its completion in 1924 and moved to the Armstrong Browning Library & Museum in late 1951. The Library & Museum now has 62 stained glass windows.

If you get simple beauty and nought else,

You get about the best thing God invents.

R. Browning, A Death in the Desert 




Work a little history into your travels on the Lone Star literary tour

Dallas Morning News, 5/11/12

“Texas and literature: It may not be a word combination that leaps into most minds — like Texas and cowboys or Texas and bluebonnets. But Texas has spawned writers of its own, nurtured non-native writers smart enough to have moved here, and played host to those just passing through.”


“Armstrong Browning Library & Museum: The ABL&M, on the Baylor University campus, is a place especially for romantics: a museum and library devoted to Victorian poets Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. It houses what the university describes as the world’s largest collection of books, manuscripts and memorabilia pertaining to the Brownings. The late Dr. A. J. Armstrong, head of Baylor’s English department [from 1912 t1952], collected many of the items himself. Opened in December 1951, the building itself is an architectural treasure. You’ll see many of the Brownings’ personal items, such as jewelry, furniture and art. The library is also a research center for scholars.” [Brownings and Victorian Period research]

“Corner of Speight and 8th Street on the Baylor campus; Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.; closed Sunday. Free. 254-710-3566; ”

Other institutions and collections described include: Austin, O Henry House and Museum; General Land Office Building; Lorenzo de Zavala State Archive and Library Building; San Antonio, Menger Hotel; Kyle, Katherine Ann Porter Literary Center; San Marcos, Wittliff Collections of Texas State University (Southwestern Writers Collection; Gallery of Southwestern and Mexican Photography, etc.); Abilene, National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature; Archer City, Booked Up, Larry McMurtry’s huge used book store; Cross Plains, Robert E. Howard House (creator of Conan the Barbarian) and Howard Collection in Cross Plains Library.

Dr. A — Travelin’ Man

Dr. Armstrong was an inveterate traveler who went to Europe 30+ times. His first trip to Italy occurred in June 1909. During that first trip he met Robert Wiedeman Barrett (Pen) Browning, the poets’ only offspring and stayed three days with him in Asolo. Pen had purchased the property, a derelict house and tower, that his father had tried to buy toward the end of his life. Pen had the house and tower rebuilt and spent the last years of his own life living there.

Over the years, Dr. Armstrong, in addition to visiting Europe many times, visited South Africa, Greece, the Netherlands, India, Germany, Japan, China, Gibraltar, South America and other countries. His travels filled his life with rich memories — of the torch-bearers lighting their torch at Mt. Olympus and racing to the amphitheater in Berlin to begin the Olympic games; of the Wagnerian Festival; of opera in St. Mark’s Square; of Michelangelo’s David in Florence; of the Sistine Chapel in Rome; of the Taj Mahal at sunrise and Gibraltar at sunset; of a moving mass in St. Peter’s; of the unforgettable Oberammergau Passion Play; of Goethe’s home at Weimar; of the vault of Liszt at Bayreuth; of the colossal Christ of the Andes overlooking two countries; of the great Victoria Falls of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe); of lions on the Serengeti and thousands of hippopotamuses on the White Nile.

Dr. and Mrs. Armstrong founded Armstrong Educational Tours in 1912, the year Dr. A. came to Baylor as English Department Head. Due to his dedication to Robert, his works, and his love of traveling, it was natural for him to begin taking groups in the summer to follow in the footsteps of Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning — in England, France and Italy, especially. Mrs. Armstrong managed the tour company from offices in France and Waco and issued the publication Armstrong Travel Courier. Approximately four thousand people took the carefully organized Armstrong Tours in a period of twenty years. Former President Brooks of Baylor once introduced his peripatetic English department head as ” the man who makes his living directing a travel bureau so that he can afford to be a college professor.”

In addition to meeting such famous people as Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. A. made it a point to visit missionary friends in Japan, China, India, Africa and South America, many of whom he corresponded with for many years. He also made an effort to contact his former students in those and other countries. One of his favorite memories was of the former student who rode a motorcycle one thousand miles each way from Curitiba to Sao Paulo to visit with his beloved professor.