The Armstrong Browning Library annually holds a Browning Day Program to celebrate the lives and works of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. This year out of concern for our community we will not host a gathering. We are disappointed to have to wait to hear from our anticipated speaker, internationally recognized artist, writer, and scholar Barbara Neri, on “Creating Elizabeth Barrett Browning in Lace, Silk and Velvet: The Poetry and Politics of Her Fashionable Photographs” but are grateful that she has agreed to return at a “to be determined” date. In the meantime you can learn about Ms. Neri and her work from her website and in the upcoming issue of the Baylor ITS & Libraries Magazine.
We miss you all and look forward to the day when we can welcome you back into the Armstrong Browning Library.
Each year the Armstrong Browning Library hosts a dinner and meeting of the Fano Club to celebrate Robert Browning’s birthday. The Fano Club was established in 1912 by William Lyon Phelps, a Browning scholar at Yale, and later passed on to Baylor professor A.J. Armstrong in 1943. Its membership shares Robert Browning’s experience of traveling to the small town of Fano, Italy, on the Adriatic coast. There, Browning walked into the Church of San Agostino and saw Guercino’s masterpiece, The Guardian Angel. Inspired by its beauty, Browning penned the eponymous poem that is read by the youngest Fano Club member at each year’s meeting.
This year out of concern for our Fano Club members amidst the ongoing spread of the coronavirus, we will not meet. We will, however, reunite in 2021 to introduce the over 30 new members who joined in 2019, share memories of Fano together, and once again hear Browning’s famous poem. Those interested in joining what has been called “the most exclusive club in the whole world” need only do three things: Visit Fano, see The Guardian Angel painting (which now hangs in the Civic Museum), and send a postcard postmarked from Fano to the Armstrong Browning Library.
While we await next year’s meeting, please consider the following request. We have heard that Fano is one of the areas that has been hit hard by COVID-19. A Fano Club member with family currently living in Fano reached out to tell us of the severity of the conditions there and asked if we would share a link to a GoFundMe campaign to purchase an additional respirator for a hospital in the Marche region of Italy. Here is the link for those who wish to contribute: https://www.gofundme.com/f/coronavirusaiutiamo-gli-ospedali-delle-marche
We look forward to welcoming the Fano Club to the Armstrong Browning Library once again next year and to meeting members new and old.