Beyond the Brownings–George MacDonald (1824-1905)

MacDonald at ABLCourtesy of the Armstrong Browning Library

Written by Melinda Creech, Graduate Assistant, Armstrong Browning Library

George MacDonald, Scottish author, poet, and Christian minister, was a leading figure in the field of fantasy writing for children, influencing many other authors such including W. H. Auden, C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, Walter de la Mare, E. Nesbit, and Madeleine L’Engle. MacDonald is best-known for his fantasy novels,  Phantastes, The Princess and the Goblin, At the Back of the North Wind, and Lilith, and his fairy tales, “The Light Princess”, “The Golden Key”, and “The Wise Woman.” He mentored Lewis Carroll, author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865). Carroll was encouraged by the enthusiastic reception of the Alice stories by MacDonald’s eleven children.

The Armstrong Browning Library holds five letters written by George MacDonald, one manuscript, and over fifty books, eleven volumes from MacDonald’s personal library, three presentation volumes, and many first editions.

MacDonald-to-Paton-2-1webMacDonald-to-Paton-2-2webLetter from George MacDonald to Joseph Noel Paton. 31 December 1867.

MacDonald makes an appointment with Paton, assuring him of the importance of the meeting by saying

Let the 16th be as a law of Medes and Persians which altereth not. No lecture shall be permitted to intrude upon the consecrated hours.

MacDonald-to-Paton-1web MacDonald-to-Paton-2webLetter from George MacDonald to Joseph Noel Paton. [January 1868].

MacDonald consoles Paton at the loss of a friend, reminding him that his

 …friend was of more value than the sparrow that cannot fall to the ground without our Father. Macdonald-to-Rooker-1webMacdonald-to-Rooker-2webLetter from George MacDonald to John Rooker. 21 July 1895.

MacDonald makes an appointment with Rooker, reminding him that

We—that is the old ones of us—are too tired, by not of life, now to make what you call a long day of it. But we shall have time for something of a talk.

George-MacDonald-in-Whittier-Albumcroppedweb

George MacDonald. 29 October 1872. “The lightning & thunder. They go and they come;” In the Whittier Autograph Album.

This album, once the property of Elizabeth Whittier Pickard, niece of John Greenleaf Whittier, contains letters, autographs, and inscriptions from Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Julia Ward Howe, J.T. Fields, Phoebe Cary, U.S. Grant, Emily Faithfull, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry W. Longfellow, Daniel Webster, William Cullen Bryant, P.T. Barnum, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and others, and includes this inscription by George MacDonald  and an autograph by Louisa MacDonald. George MacDonald’s inscription is from a poem called “A Baby-Sermon,” published in The Poetical Works of George Macdonald. London: Chatto & Windus, 1893.

The lightning & thunder

         They go and they come;

But the stars and the stillness

         Are always at home.

 MacDonald-The-Vicar's-Daughter-1web MacDonald-The-Vicar's-Daughter-2webGeorge MacDonald. The Vicar’s Daughter. An Autobiographical Story. London: Sampson Low, Marston, Searle & Rivington, 1881.

 This presentation copy is inscribed by the author to his son-in-law.

MacDonald-A-Threefold-Cord-1webMacDonald-A-Threefold-Cord-2webMacDonald-A-Threefold-Cord-3webGeorge MacDonald. A Threefold Cord: Poems by Three Friends. London: Mr. W. Hughes, 1883.

This volume contains the author’s signature. The dedication to his son, Greville Matheson MacDonald, reads: “…I give this book,/ In which a friend’s and brother’s verses blend/ With mine.” The poems in the volume were written by George MacDonald, John MacDonald, and Greville Matheson.

Beyond the Brownings–Prince Consort Albert, Consort of Victoria, Queen of Great Britain (1819-1861)

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Prince of Wales ABLCourtesy of the Armstrong Browning Library

Written by Melinda Creech, Graduate Assistant, Armstrong Browning Library

Prince Consort Albert, consort of Victoria, Queen of Great Britain, married his first cousin at the age of twenty. They had nine children. He was eventually involved in many public causes and running the household, estate, and office of the Queen. He died early at the age of forty-two. The Queen mourned deeply for him the rest of her life, another thirty-nine years.

The Armstrong Browning Library owns a letter from Prince Albert to Lord Palmerston dated 28 June 1859, shortly after the Queen had asked Lord Palmerston to become Prime Minister of England.

Prince-Albert-to-Palmerston-1webPrince-Albert-to-Palmerston-2webLetter from Prince Consort Albert, consort of Victoria, Queen of Great Britain to Henry John Temple Palmerston, Viscount. 28 June 1859.

This letter discusses the Queen’s appointment of Sir William Dunbar as a Lord of the Treasury and the particulars surrounding his swearing in ceremony.

Beyond the Brownings–Victoria, Queen of Great Britain (1819-1901)

NPG P1700(31a); Queen Victoria by Gunn & Stuart© National Portrait Gallery, London

Written by Melinda Creech, Graduate Assistant, Armstrong Browning Library

Victoria, Queen of Great Britain, ruled the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death, a reign of sixty-three years and seven months, longer than that of any other British monarch and the longest of any female monarch in history.

Victoria, the daughter of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, her German-born mother Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, came to the throne at the age of eighteen, after her father’s three elder brothers had all died, leaving no legitimate, surviving children. Victoria married Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, her first cousin in 1840. They had nine children who all were married into royal and noble families across the continent.

The Armstrong Browning Library owns two letters from Queen Victoria. Both letters are addressed to Henrietta Montalba. Henrietta was a British sculptor. She studied at the Royal College of art with Princess Louise, daughter of Queen Victoria. In 1882 Princess Louise painted Henrietta Montalba’s portrait. Montalba corresponded with Robert Browning, and the ABL owns seven letters from Robert Browning  to Henrietta Montalba. She also sculpted a bust of Browning in 1883.

Queen-Victoria-1-Sept-1886-1web Queen-Victoria-1-Sept-1886-2webQueen-Victoria-1-Sept-1886-3webQueen-Victoria-1-Sept-1886-4webLetter from Queen Victoria to Henrietta Montalba. 01 September 1886.

In this letter the Queen thanks Henrietta Montalba for the bust she has sculpted of Dr. Mezger, a memento of the time she spent in Amsterdam. Dr. Mezger was a Dutch physician who attended to the Queen’s health with a regimen of massage.

The intertwined letters of Victoria’s name embossed in gold on her stationery is particularly beautiful.

Queen-Victoria-1-Sept-1886-4-logo

Queen-Victoria-20-October-1886-1web

Queen-Victoria-20-October-1886-2web

Queen-Victoria-20-October-1886-3webQueen-Victoria-20-October-1886-4webLetter from Queen Victoria to Henrietta Montalba. 20 October 1886.

Queen Victoria sends Henrietta a photograph as a souvenir of their meeting at Gothenburg, Sweden.

Montalba-to-Queen-1webMontalba-to-Queen-2webMontalba-to-Queen-3web Letter from Henrietta Montalba to Queen Victoria. 28 October 1886.

The Armstrong Browning Library also owns a return letter from Henrietta Montalba to Queen Victoria, thanking her for

Your kind letter and most charming portrait which I have just received. It occupies no corner in my room, but a most prominent place where my eyes constantly fall on it.

 

Beyond the Brownings–Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-1895)

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NPG Ax38172; Thomas Henry Huxley by Elliott & Fry© National Portrait Gallery, London

Written by Melinda Creech, Graduate Assistant, Armstrong Browning Library

Thomas Henry Huxley was an English biologist who supported Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. His famous debate with Charles Wilberforce promoted a wider acceptance of evolution. He also coined the word “agnostic” to describe his position with regard to theology. Huxley wrote on many issues relating biology to the humanities, particularly evolution and ethics.

The Armstrong Browning Library owns four letters written by Huxley and eight books authored by him. Huxley-to-Bonney-1web

Huxley-to-Bonney-2webLetter from Thomas Henry Huxley to T. G. Bonney. 05 November 1882.

In this letter to the English geologist, T. G. Bonney, Huxley discusses their participation in the Darwin Commission.

Huxley-Man's-Place-in-Nature-1web Huxley-Man's-Place-in-Nature-2webHuxley-Man's-Place-in-Nature-3webThomas Henry Huxley. Evidence as to Man’s Place in Nature. London; Edinburgh: Williams and Norgate, 1863.

 In this first edition volume, Huxley gives evidence for the evolution of man and apes from a common ancestor. It was the first book devoted to the topic of human evolution.

Huxley-Organic-Nature-1webHuxley-Organic-Nature-2webHuxley-Organic-Nature-3web

Thomas Henry Huxley. On Our Knowledge of the Causes of the Phenomena of Organicnature. Being Six Lectures to Working Men, Delivered at the Museum of Practical Geology. London: Robert Hardwicke, 1863.

Huxley developed his ideas on evolution from 1860–63, presenting them in lectures to working men, students, and the general public. In 1862 a series of talks to working men was printed lecture by lecture as pamphlets and later bound up as a little green book. This volume is a first edition of those lectures. The Table of Contents describes the six lectures which were delivered by Thomas Henry Huxley.

 

 

Beyond the Brownings–James Russell Lowell (1819-1891)

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Lowell-at-ABL-1webCourtesy of the Armstrong Browning Library

Written by Melinda Creech, Graduate Assistant, Armstrong Browning Library

James Russell Lowell was an American Romantic poet, critic, editor and diplomat associated with the Fireside Poets. The Fireside Poets, whose popularity rivaled English poets, used conventional meter, making the poems suitable for family reading by the fireside. Lowell and Elizabeth Barrett Browning corresponded, sharing volumes of poetry and an interest in anti-slavery issues. Later when Lowell visited in England and Europe, letters were exchanged with Robert Browning about their social engagements.

The Armstrong Browning Library’s holdings related to James Russell Lowell include twelve letters, one Elizabeth Barrett Browning manuscript of Lowell’s poems, and one previously unpublished manuscript poem by Lowell, and over seventy books, some rare.

Lowell-to-Wister-2-1webLowell-to-Wister-2-2webLetter from James Russell Lowell to Mrs. Wister. No date.

In this letter, addressed  to the mother of Owen Wister, American author and “father” of Western fiction, Lowell apologizes for disparaging her age at their last meeting.

The last chapter of Ecclesiastes is quite beyond all more modern & occidental attempts as pessimism both in its poetry & its pathos. But even he wished still to say something & to have somebody hear it—so that he was not nearly so ill of as he thought himself & left out the bitterest in his list of the bitter ingredients in the leaf of old age. Now the last thing I presumed (as an old man) to say to you as you went away the other day, was that “you were delightful because you still took an interest in things, “…You are therefore at least ninety degrees from that frightful “wormy sea” which the old navigators found near the northern pole & which navigators who are old enough find still in the arctic latitudes of old age… Lowell-'I-Asked-of-Echo'James Russell Lowell. “I asked of Echo: ‘what’s a good adviser?’” 03 July 1858.

 This poem, written on the back of an envelope, has never been published.

I asked of Echo: “what’s a good advisor?”
And Echo answered confidently “I, sir!”
I called again & asked, “What then’s a mentor?”
And Echo answered straight, “a men-tormenter!”

Lowell-to-FarrarwebLetter from James Russell Lowell to Frederic William Farrar. 7 May 1883.

In this letter to cleric and author F. W. Farrar, Lowell comments about how much he likes Tennyson’s verses.

Lowell-to-Wister-1webLowell-to-Wister-2webLetter from [James Russell Lowell] to Mrs. Wister [Owen’s mother]. 17 October 1883.

 Lowell composes two humorous poems inviting Mrs. Wister to dinner.

 My dear Mrs. Wister,

Will you & your sister,

(I would, but rhyme won’t, say your son.)

Come & eat a poor dinner

With a saint & a sinner

The 18th at 7 + 1?

P.S. ½ past 2.

My dear Mrs. Wister,

Yours burned like a blister

With pinpoints of “slow” & all that,

So, to prove I don’t tingle,

I send you some jingle

If possible ten times as flat.

If you can’t come on my day,

What say you to Friday?

The dinner will be quite as bad:

And, unless you’ve objections

To fastday reflections,

Come both, & make both of us glad!

 Lowell-Echoes-of-Infant-Voices-1web Lowell-Echoes-of-Infant-Voices-2webLowell-Echoes-of-Infant-Voices-4webFelicia Hemans, James Russell Lowell, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, eds. Echoes of Infant Voices. Boston: Wm. Crosby and H. P. Nichols, 1849.

This rare first edition includes poems by Longfellow, Lowell, Emerson, Hemans, and Dickens.

 Lowell-Memorial-RSG-1webLowell-Memorial-RSG-2webLowell-Memorial-RSG-3webLowell-Memorial-RSG-4webLowell-Memorial-RSG-5webLowell-Memorial-RSG-5webLowell-Memorial-RSG-6.webLowell-Memorial-RSG-7webJames Russell Lowell and Ralph Waldo Emerson, eds. Memorial, RGS. Cambridge: University Press, 1864.

 This volume compiled in memory of Robert G. Shaw, contains extracts from Shaw’s letters and poems from Lowell, Emerson, and others.  Shaw, an American military officer in the Union Army during the American Civil War, commanded the all-black 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, which entered the war in 1863. He was killed in the Second Battle of Fort Wagner, near Charleston, South Carolina. He is the principal subject of the 1989 film Glory.

Lowell-Under-the-Willows1webLowell-Under-the-Willows-2webJames Russell Lowell. Under the Willows: And Other Poems. Boston: Fields, Osgood, & Co, 1869.

This volume is a first edition. “Under the Willows,” the second poem in this collection and the poem from which the collection takes its name, is a paean to a willow tree in the month of June.

Beyond the Brownings–Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894)

Oliver_Wendell_Holmes exhibit© National Portrait Gallery, London

Written by Melinda Creech, Graduate Assistant, Armstrong Browning Library

Oliver Wendell Holmes, one of the Fireside Poets, was an influential American physician, poet, professor, lecturer, and author. He, along with his friends, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and James Russell Lowell, made important contributions to the literary world of the nineteenth century. Beginning in the study of law, Holmes switched to poetry, and later to medicine. Later in his life, Holmes returned to the literary field, contributing to Atlantic Monthly, writing essays, and novels.

The Armstrong Browning Library owns six letters, one manuscript, and over eighty books authored by Holmes.

Holmes-Chambered-Nautilaus2webOliver Wendell Holmes. From “The Chambered Nautilus”.  21 February 1874.  In the Whittier Autograph Album.

Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul,
As the swift seasons roll!
Leave thy low-vaulted past!
Let each new temple, nobler than the last,
Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast,
Till thou at length art free,
Leaving thine outgrown shell by life’s unresting sea!

This album, once the property of Elizabeth Whittier Pickard, niece of John Greenleaf Whittier, contains letters, autographs, and inscriptions from Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Julia Ward Howe, J.T. Fields, Phoebe Cary, U.S. Grant, Emily Faithfull, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry W. Longfellow, Daniel Webster, William Cullen Bryant, P.T. Barnum, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and others, and includes an inscription by George MacDonald  and an autograph by Louisa MacDonald.

Holmes-to-Sir-1webHolmes-to-Sir-2webHolmes-to-Sir-3webLetter from Oliver Wendell Holmes to an Unidentified Correspondent. 08 February 1879.

 In this letter, Holmes thanks an unidentified Scottish critic for a positive review of his book, John Lathrop Motley. A Memoir (1879).

I have felt very sensitive about this Memoir, which was in some respects the most difficult and delicate task I had ever undertaken. It has gratified me very much to find that it was kindly received by the family of Mr. Motley, and the friends whose opinion I especially cared for.

 

Holmes-RWE-1webHolmes-RWE-2webHolmes-RWE-3webHolmes-RWE-4webOliver Wendell Holmes. Ralph Waldo Emerson. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1885.

 

This rare edition contains an inscription by Oliver Wendell Holmes: “Rev. Octavius B. Frothingham/with the kind regards of/Oliver Wendell Holmes/Dec. 10th 1884.”

Holmes-Guardian-Angel-1webHolmes-Guardian-Angel-2webOliver Wendell Holmes. The Guardian Angel. Riverside ed. Boston, New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1895.

In 1867 The Guardian Angel, a novel which explores mental health and repressed memory began appearing serially in the Atlantic Monthly. It was published in book form in November of that same year. This book is volume seven of thirteen volumes of Holmes’ writings published as a Riverside Edition in 1895.

Holmes-Poems-1Holmes-Poems-2-1webHolmes-Poems-2-3webHolmes-Poems-2-4webHolmes-Poems-2-5webOliver Wendell Holmes. Poems. Boston: Otis, Broaders, and Company, 1836.

This volume is a first edition and comes from the library of Holmes’ friend, fellow author, and host during some of his English visits, Frederick Locker. The book bears Locker’s Rowfant bookplate, and some notes in text.

Beyond the Brownings–John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892)

Whittier ABLCourtesy of The Armstrong Browning Library

Written by Melinda Creech, Graduate Assistant, Armstrong Browning Library

John Greenleaf Whittier, one of the Fireside Poets, was a Quaker poet and an abolitionist. He was influenced by the Scottish poet, Robert Burns. Whittier is most remembered for his poem “Snow-Bound.”

The Armstrong Browning Library owns eighteen Whittier letters, two manuscripts, and over eighty books authored by Whittier.

Whittier-to-Smith-1webWhittier-to-Smith-2webWhittier-to-Smith-3webWhittier-to-Smith-4webLetter from John Greenleaf Whittier to Mary E. Smith. 2 March 1833.

In this letter to his dear friend Mary E. Smith, Whittier quotes his poem “Lines on a Portrait” and “To ___,” a poem by his sister, Elizabeth H. Whittier.

Whittier-Memory-and-Hope-5webWhittier-Literary-Recreations-2webJohn Greenleaf Whittier. Literary Recreations and Miscellanies. Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1854.

This volume is a first edition presentation copy from the publisher.

Whittier-Memory-and-Hope-1webWhittier-Memory-and-Hope-2webWhittier-Memory-and-Hope-3webWhittier-Memory-and-Hope-4web[John Greenleaf Whittier, et al]. Memory and Hope. Boston: Ticknor, Reed, and Fields, 1851.

This volume, a book of poems referring to childhood, also includes poems by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, James Russell Lowell, Maria Lowell, Mary Howitt, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Lydia Maria Child, Letitia Elizabeth Landon, John Quincy Adams, William Wordsworth, Alfred Tennyson, and others.

 

Armstrong’s Stars: Amy Lowell

“Armstrong’s Stars” is a collaboration between the Armstrong Browning Library and Baylor’s Texas Collection. Once a month we feature a story about a celebrity that Dr. A.J. Armstrong brought to Baylor. These stories highlight an interesting part of Baylor’s history and include collection materials housed in both the Armstrong Browning Library and the Texas Collection.

This month’s story was contributed by Ph.D. candidate Jeremy Land. 

In 1920 Baylor began preparing for its Diamond Jubilee celebration. Primarily under the direction of Dr. A. Joseph Armstrong, Baylor invited a series of famous literary and cultural figures to travel to Texas and partake in the celebration. Among the first to arrive was the poet Amy Lowell.

By the early ‘20s Amy Lowell had already established herself as one of America’s leading female poets, an innovative writer, a noted critic, and promoter of American verse. Even the Lowell family name had become associated with academic excellence and American letters by the time Ms. Lowell accepted her honorary degree from Baylor (Amy Lowell’s brother was the president of Harvard and her first cousin, James Russell Lowell, was a famous American poet from the nineteenth century). Thus the decision to ask Ms. Lowell to come and speak at Baylor was a natural part of the university’s mission to bolster its presence in the academic world.

Amy Lowell at Baylor Commencement

Amy Lowell, second from the left, about to accept an honorary degree during the commencement ceremony at Baylor’s Diamond Jubilee celebration (Texas Collection)

Before she even arrived, there seemed to be great anticipation and discussion about Ms. Lowell’s coming to Waco. Every aspect of her journey was up for speculation and debate. Even her hotel room, which was reported to cost more than $30 a night, caused quite a shock among the students on campus (“Another Treat in Amy Lowell” 1). Yet the promise of her appearance prompted several student groups to greet her with excitement. Baylor’s Calliopean, at the time the second oldest women’s literary society in Texas, honored Lowell with membership before she even arrived, an honor she was happy to receive (“Calliopeans Honor Famous American Poet” 3; “Calliopean Society Has Long History Behind It” 5).

When Lowell did finally arrive in Waco, she apparently lived up to people’s expectations. She was reported to be equal parts exciting house guest and engaging scholar. In one example of her irrepressible spirit, Lowell encouraged Mrs. Armstrong to speed through Cameron Park as fast as possible, and when Mrs. Armstrong suggested the police might object, Lowell is reported to have replied, “Damn the police. I’ll pay the fine” (Douglas 114-115). However when it came time for Ms. Lowell to engage Baylor’s students and their academic pursuits, she was a most gracious and well received visitor. When she was not giving a formal lecture on the nature of modern poetry, she was reported to sit in the open air smoking a cigar and indulging undergraduates and their questions about modern literature.

Perhaps because her visit to Baylor must have been rather colorful, Amy Lowell developed a fondness for central Texas. In a letter to A.J. Armstrong dated April 11, 1924, Lowell claimed her poem “Texas” was inspired by Waco’s lone skyscraper (probably the ALICO building in downtown Waco) set against the central Texas landscape (Douglas 116). And until her death in 1925, Lowell and Dr. Armstrong continued to write, share ideas, and reminisce about her time in Texas. So impressed was she by Baylor and Dr. Armstrong that even after her death her estate saw to it that Baylor and Dr. Armstrong both were notified of her passing (“Death of Amy Lowell is Mourned by Many” 1).

Works Cited

“Another Treat in Amy Lowell.” The Lariat 3 June 1920: 1. Web. 7 Nov. 2014

“Calliopeans Honor Famous American Poet.” The Lariat 6 May 1920: 3. Web. 7 Nov. 2014

“Calliopean Society Has Long History Behind It.” The Lariat 20 May 1920: 5. Web. 7 Nov. 2014

“Death of Amy Lowell is Mourned by Many.” The Lariat 14 May 1925: 1. Web. 7 Nov. 2014

Douglas, Lois Smith. Through Heaven’s Back Door: A Biography of A. Joseph Armstrong. Waco, TX: Baylor UP, 1951. Print.

 

Beyond the Brownings–Charles Dickens (1812-1870)

Dickens ABLCourtesy of The Armstrong Browning Library

Written by Melinda Creech, Graduate Assistant, Armstrong Browning Library

Charles Dickens, who enjoyed unprecedented fame during his lifetime, is considered the greatest novelist of the Victorian period. He confronted social issues through such memorable works as Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, Bleak House, Hard Times, A Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations, and A Christmas Carol.

The Armstrong Browning Library owns twelve letters written by Charles Dickens and over 240 books, some of which are rare editions. Although Dickens corresponded with the Brownings, the ABL does not own any of their letters. However, there are three Dickens books inscribed by Robert Browning in the collection, as well as Dickens’ copy of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s verse-novel Aurora Leigh.

Dickens,-10-Jan-1848-1webDickens,-10-Jan-1848-2web Letter from Charles Dickens to William Gregory. 10 January 1848.

In this previously unpublished letter, Dickens expresses his pleasure in meeting Mr. Gregory and promises to renew their acquaintance again soon. William Gregory was Professor of Chemistry at the University of Edinburgh and an enthusiast for phrenology and mesmerism. Dickens also confesses to writer’s block at the end of the letter.

I am perfectly stupified with a bad cold, and a blank quire of paper intended for the manuscript of Dombey No 17. is staring very hard in my miffed face.

Dickens-to-Locker-1webDickens-to-Locker-2webDickens-to-Locker-3webLetter from Charles Dickens to Frederick Locker. 13 June 1869.

In this letter Dickens explains that he has been traveling with some American friends and asks Locker to give his regards to Tennyson.

I have been for the last ten days perpetually journeying and sightseeing with some friends from America…. If this should reach you while Tennyson is [by] you, pray give him my love and tell him I am heartily sorry to have missed your kindly offered opportunity of meeting him….

Dickens-Manuscripts-of-Christmas-Carolcover-webDickens-Manuscripts-of-Christmas-Carol-2webDickens-Manuscripts-of-Christmas-Carol-3webDickens-Manuscripts-of-Christmas-Carol-4webDickens-Manuscripts-of-Christmas-Carol-5webCharles Dickens. The Christmas Carol: A Facsimile Reproduction of the Author’s Original Ms. London: Elliot Stock, 1890.

This large volume contains facsimiles of the original manuscripts of Dickens’ Christmas Carol. A first edition, it is one of only fifty copies and the first facsimile done of this work.

Dickens-Little-Dorrit-1webDickens-Little-Dorrit-2webDickens-Little-Dorrit-3webDickens-Little-Dorrit-4webCharles Dickens. Little Dorrit. London: Chapman and Hall, 1863.

This volume was in the Brownings’ library and bears the inscription: “To dearest Pen on his birthday, March 9 ‘64. RB. 19 Warwick Crescent.”

Dickens-A-Christmas-Carol-1webDickens-A-Christmas-Carol-2webDickens-A-Christmas-Carol-3webDickens-A-Christmas-Carol-4Charles Dickens. A Christmas Carol in Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas. Edition sanctioned by the author. Leipzig: Bernh. Tauchnitz Jun, 1843.

This volume is an extremely rare first Continental edition.  The Armstrong Browning Library also owns the first  British edition of this classic, published in London in 1843 by Chapman and Hall, as well as the four additional “Christmas books” published by Dickens in subsequent years.

Beyond the Brownings–Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)

Tennyson ABL-1exhibitCourtesy of the Armstrong Browning Library

Written by Melinda Creech, Graduate Assistant, Armstrong Browning Library

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892), poet laureate during most of Queen Victoria’s reign, has continued to be one of the most popular British poets. He is well known for his short lyrics such as “Break, Break, Break,” ”The Charge of the Light Brigade,” ”Tears, Idle Tears,” and ”Crossing the Bar.” In Memoriam A. H. H. was written to commemorate the death of his close friend Arthur Henry Hallam, who was engaged to Tennyson’s sister, Emily. Idylls of the King, a cycle of twelve narrative blank verse poems, retells the Arthurian legend.

Tennyson corresponded with Robert Browning, and the Armstrong Browning Library owns four letters written by Tennyson to Browning. The Library also owns thirty-six letters written by Tennyson to various other Victorian correspondents, and three manuscripts. Over 160 books related to Tennyson are owned by the ABL, many of them rare editions. Two of the books were owned by members of the Brownings’ family. The collection also contains a voice recording of Tennyson.

Tennyson-to-UnkownwebLetter from Alfred, Lord Tennyson to an Unidentified Correspondent. Undated.

In this previously unpublished letter, Tennyson thanks this unidentified correspondent for their “able & conscientious translation” of his poems. By the end of Tennyson’s life, his poems had been translated into Italian, German, French, Dutch, Danish, Latin, Spanish, Hungarian, Swedish, Czech, Ancient and Modern Greek, Norwegian, Polish, and Serbian.

Tennyson-to-Patmore-1webLetter from Alfred, Lord Tennyson to Mrs. [Coventry] Patmore. [12 August 1852].

Tennyson says that he knows Mrs. Patmore’s…

kind womanly heart will rejoice in hearing that it is all safely over. She had a very easy confinement & was delivered of what the nurse calls a fine boy yesterday.

This passage refers to the birth of Hallam Tennyson on 11 August 1852, Tennyson’s eldest son.

Coventry and Emily Augusta Patmore named their second son Tennyson and asked the Tennysons to be his godparents. In the letter, Tennyson writes that Emily, his  wife, is anxious that young Tennyson Patmore have his engraved cup for his birthday.

Tennyson-to-M-1webLetter from Alfred, Lord Tennyson  to Edward Moxon. 7 November [1852].

In this previously unpublished letter to his publisher, Tennyson accepts Moxon’s offer to publish his ode and requests that it “not be published until very close to the funeral.” Tennyson is likely referring to his “Ode on the Death of the Duke of Wellington,” which was published on November 16, two days before Wellington’s funeral.

Tennyson-To-the-Queen-1webTennyson-To-the-Queen-2webTennyson-To-the-Queen-3webAlfred, Lord Tennyson. [“To the Queen”]. Autograph  Manuscript. Undated.

This is an early autograph draft, substantially longer than the version published in Poems (1851). “To the Queen” was Tennyson’s first publication as Poet Laureate. The poem was published in 1873 as the epilogue to The Idylls of the King.

Tennyson-Idylls-of-the-King-1webTennyson-Idylls-of-the-King-2webAlfred, Lord Tennyson. Idylls of the King. London: Edward Moxon & Co., 1859.

This copy is signed by Julia Margaret Cameron, famous photographer and friend of Tennyson. Cameron and Tennyson were neighbors on the Isle of Wight. Cameron produced her own copy of Idylls of the King, which included photographs of staged scenes from the poems and a photograph of Tennyson.

Tennyson-Selections-from-the-Worksweb-1Tennyson-Selections-from-the-Worksweb-2Tennyson-Selections-from-the-Works-3webAlfred, Lord Tennyson. A Selection from the Works of Alfred Tennyson. London: Edward Moxon, 1865.

This volume is a first edition inscribed by Tennyson on the half-title to his favorite sister: “Emily Jesse from her affectionate brother A.T.” The book is also inscribed with the ownership signature of Emily’s son Eustace Tennyson D’Eyncourt Jesse. On his bookplate inside the front cover he has written: “This book was given to my dear Mother Emily née Tennyson by her Brother, Alfred Tennyson, Poet Laureate.”

Tennyson-Ballads-1webTennyson-Ballads-2webAlfred, Lord Tennyson. Ballads and Other Poems. London: C. Kegan Paul & Co., 1880.

This volume from the Brownings’ library is inscribed by Robert Browning on the front free endpaper: “Robert Browning/ from Alfred Tennyson./Dec. ’80.”

Tennyson-The-Death-of-Oenone-1webTennyson-The-Death-of-Oenone-2webAlfred, Lord Tennyson. The Death of Oenone, Akbar’s Dream, and Other Poems. London and New York: Macmillan and Co., 1892.

The book is inscribed by Hallam Tennyson, Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s oldest son: “Oct. 1892 to S.A.E. FitzGerald.”

Tennyson-Prolusions-1webTennyson-Prolusions-2webTennyson-Prolusions-3webTennyson-Prolusions-pages-89webTennyson-Prolusions-4webTennyson-Prolusions-5webUniversity of Cambridge. Prolusiones Academicae Praemiis Annuis Dignatae et in Curia Cantabrigiensi Recitatae Comitiis Maximis, A.D. MDCCCXXIX.  Cantabrigiae: typis academicis excudit J. Smith, [1829].

This volume contains Tennyson’s first publication, “Timbuctoo,” a poem which received the Chancellor’s medal at the Cambridge commencement, 1829. The poem is a reworking of one Tennyson wrote at age fifteen called “Armageddon.”