Reflections from a Summer Intern – Stories from Victorian Letters: Drawings in Victorian Letters

By Katie Mackenzie, Museum Studies Summer Intern

During my internship, I have discovered that some of my most favorite things to find in Victorian letters are little drawings or sketches. It is especially fun when they relate to and help illustrate the story that the letter is telling. I am so excited to be able to share some of these drawings with you through the blog!

The first drawing that I will share with you comes from a letter written on December 24, 1869 by an Englishwoman named Rose Georgina Kingsley. She writes her letter to her little brother Grenville Kingsley. Rose was living in Trinidad and most of her letter consists of her excitedly describing the fantastic plants and animals that she has seen there. Rose included a drawing in her letter of one of the animals she had found in her room – a spider, drawn life size to the one she saw. On the letter it is almost 4 inches across. Rose comments that, for Trinidad, this giant spider is actually small! Below is an excerpt from the letter on the spider,

I found [letter torn] spider in my room as big as this. But that is considered quite tiny here!!

Letter from Rose Georgina Kingsley to Grenville Kingsley. 24 December 1869. Drawing of a spider.

You will notice that Rose’s drawing does not depict the correct number of legs for a spider, but I still wonder if the spider could be identified. Do you recognize this spider?

The next letter that I will share with you may be especially interesting to those who love music. This letter was between two musicians, from N. J. Heineken to Miss Hodge. The letter is not dated but believed to have been written in the Victorian era. Unfortunately, I was not able to find any more identifying information about the musicians. Heineken writes Miss Hodge to praise her music as well as to offer her advice. Heineken seems to admire Miss Hodge’s music very much. He writes, “I have been much pleased with your truthful and ingenious song.” When referring to particular parts of Miss Hodge’s song, Heineken draws musical notations. It is amazing to see these musical notations, as it could give us clues as to what Miss Hodge’s song sounded like. An example of Heineken’s drawing can be seen below.

Letter from N.J. Heineken to Miss Hodge. Undated. Musical notations.

The last letter I will share with you contains a sketch by the Scottish artist Sir George Reid. Reid wrote to Mrs. Tom Taylor, nee Laura Wilson Barker, on February 18, 1879. Laura was the wife of the English playwright Tom Taylor. One of his most famous plays is Our American Cousin. In his letter, Sir George Reid, describes to Mrs. Taylor how harsh the winter was in Scotland that year. Reid writes,

We have had a trying and tedious winter here. For weeks the snow lay a foot and a half deep – it vanished at last slowly and led me to think that the winter was over. Yesterday and today it is back to the old story – snow has fallen steadily since morning and now lies 6 or 8 inches deep –

Along with his description of the winter weather, Reid adds a sketch of a man he names as Macdonald, whom Reid is painting a portrait of. Reid could have possibly been referring to the Scottish author, George Macdonald, whom Reid is known to have created portraits of. Macdonald is depicted outside sitting in his carriage, bundled up to protect himself from the cold. His face is barely visible peeking out underneath his hat.

Letter from G.W. Reid to Mrs. Tom Taylor. 18 February 1879. Sketch of Macdonald.

These three drawings provide amazing illustrations of the stories the letters tell. They all help to bring to the past to life. Rose’s letter helps us to see what she saw, by depicting a life sized spider; Heineken’s musical notations give us clues to Miss Hodge’s song; Reid’s sketch helps us imagine the bitterly cold Scottish winter in 1879.

This will be my last blog for my internship at the Armstrong Browning Library. I had so much fun discovering all the amazing stories to be found in the Armstrong Browning Library’s Victorian letters this summer. Thank you for letting me share these stories with you!

They Asked For a Paper–Chinese Manuscripts at the ABL

Borrowing its title from a collection of essays by C. S. Lewis, this series, They Asked For A Paper,”  highlights interesting items from the Armstrong Browning Library’s collection and suggests topics for further research.

By Melinda Creech
Manuscripts Specialist, Armstrong Browning Library

In preparing the Victorian Letters and Manuscripts of the Armstrong Browning Library for digitization, I came across these five Chinese manuscripts, which according to the note on the items, were donated by Dryden Linsley Phelps, nephew of William Lyon Phelps. William Lyon Phelps was Emeritus Professor of English Literature at Harvard University and a distinguished Browning scholar. The Fano Club was begun by Phelps. The club is a group of people who have traveled to Fano, Italy, viewed the guardian angel painting, L’Angelo Custode, (1640) by Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, in the Civic Museum, and sent back to the Armstrong Browning Library a postcard from Fano. The club meets for dinner on Robert Browning’s birthday, May 7, and for a reading of Browning’s poem, “The Guardian Angel,” performed by the youngest member of the club. Phelps commissioned and donated a copy of the painting of “The Guardian Angel” to the ABL. Robert Browning’s desk chair, a gift to Phelps from his students, has also been on loan to the ABL since 1989.

William Lyon Phelps’s nephew, Dryden Linsley Phelps, was a Baptist missionary to China at the West China University, Chen-tse, Szechuan, China, a translator, and a mountain climber. Dryden Linsley Phelps’s son was also named William Lyons Phelps II, in honor of his distinguished uncle.

Letter from Dryden Linsley Phelps to Dr. A. J. Armstrong. 1 August 1946.

In this letter to Dr. A. J. Armstrong, Dryden Phelps thanks Armstrong for a Browning Christmas card and shares that he intends to pass the card along to the Chinese bishop who had “done considerable study of Browning.”

Thank you most heartily for the Browning Christmas Cards. I am tremendously happy to have these. I am taking them to China, and shall use them out there. One of them next Christmas will surely go to Bishop Dong Ch’eng-chih, in my first Chinese Browning Class, who has done considerable study of  Browning.

These Chinese manuscripts were a gift to the ABL from Dryden Phelps, the Baptist missionary to China.

Chinese Hymn based on Isaiah 43: 5-7

This hymn is based on the text from Isaiah 43: 5-7.

Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west;

I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth;

 Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.  (KJV)

Chinese Hymn, “Then Welcome Each Rebuff.”

Translation of Chinese Hymn, “Then Welcome Each Rebuff.”

This handwritten hymn is based on Robert Browning’s poem, “Rabbi Ben Ezra.”

Then, welcome each rebuff
That turns earth’s smoothness rough,
Each sting that bids nor sit nor stand but go!
Be our joys three-parts pain!
Strive, and hold cheap the strain;
Learn, nor account the pang; dare, never grudge the throe! (31-36)

The next three manuscripts are translations of Alfred Tennyson’s poem, “Flower in a Crannied Wall.”

Flower in the crannied wall,
I pluck you out of the crannies,
I hold you here, root and all, in my hand,
Little flower—but if I could understand
What you are, root and all, and all in all,
I should know what God and man is.

Alfred Tennyson, “Flower in a Crannied Wall.” Translated into Chinese.

Alfred Tennyson, “Flower in a Crannied Wall.” Translated into Chinese. Verso.

Alfred Tennyson, “Flower in a Crannied Wall.” Translated into Chinese.

Alfred Tennyson, “Flower in a Crannied Wall.” Translated into Chinese.

The Armstrong Browning Library would be grateful for translations of any of these manuscripts? Does anyone recognize the signatures on the two translations of “Flower in a Crannied Wall?” Are there other Chinese Hymns that are based on texts of Robert Browning’s poems? Does anyone know when these manuscripts came to be gifted to the Armstrong Browning Library? Could anyone suggest a date for any of these manuscripts?

They Asked For A Paper–Letter Fragment from the Captain of the HMS Terror

Borrowing its title from a collection of essays by C. S. Lewis, this series, They Asked For A Paper,”  highlights interesting items from the Armstrong Browning Library’s collection and suggests topics for further research.

By Melinda Creech
Manuscripts Specialist, Armstrong Browning Library

Francis Rawdon Moira Crozier (16 August 1796 – after 1848?)

On September 12, 2016 the wreck of the HMS Terror was discovered in Terror Bay, King William Island, in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago.

The HMS Terror had began her career as a bomb vessel, engaged in the War of 1812. In fact, it was the vision of the HMS Terror bombarding Fort McHenry that inspired Francis Scott Key to write “The Star Spangled Banner.” In 1836, the ship was refurbished for exploration, making trips to the Arctic (1836) and to the Antarctic (1839). After her trip to the Antarctic, she was again refurbished at Woolwich for a trip to the Arctic through the Northwest Passage.

HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, the two ships used by Sir John Franklin on his 1845 ill-fated search for the Northwest Passage. The ships became trapped in ice at King William Sound (Victoria Strait) for three years, leading to the deaths of all 135 men.

She set sail on May 19, 1845, but never returned. A message, dated April 22, 1848, and signed by Captains Crozier and Fitzjames, was found at point Victory stating that they were abandoning both the Terror and the Erebus. Mystery enveloped the fate of the ship and her crew until the discovery last year. Visit the Royal Museum Greenwich to find out more about the discovery of the HMS Terror.

Letter from Captain F. R. M. Crozier to Sir Thomas, 28 March [1842]. Page 1

Letter from Captain F. R. M. Crozier to Sir Thomas, 28 March [1842]. Page 2.

We at the Armstrong Browning Library have also re-discovered in our collection a fragment of a letter probably written in 1842, shortly before Captain Crozier began his fateful voyage. The letter states:

My dear Sir Thomas,

Thanks for yours of 26th which I received this day on my return from Ireland. I was before perfectly satisfied, and believe me my confidence has not been in the least shaken by Commander Beadons test, and very strange…

 

…write him so soon as I get a little of my bustle over.

It is possible that Sir Thomas was Sir Thomas Hamilton, 9th Earl of Haddington, who was the First Lord of the Admiralty at the time. Commander Beadon was conducting tests of lifebuoy in February and March of 1842 (Transactions of the Society, Instituted at London, for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce Royal Society of Arts Great Britain, Vol 54 (1843), 121). However, part of the letter is missing.

There is another interesting inscription in pencil at the bottom of the page:

Capt. Crozier —who commanded the same ship as Sir John Franklin’s expedition & was lost with him in 1843-6 . My brother was lost with him.

This letter was found with other letters removed  from an album of letters and autographs collected by Mr. Lewis R. Lucas. However, no one with the surname Lucas was found among the crew lists of either the Terror or the Erebus.

Mystery still shrouds the letter fragment. Who was Sir Thomas? Can we date the letter by Commander Beadon’s lifebuoy tests? What was very strange? What was Captain Crozier’s bustle? Who has the rest of the letter? Whose brother was lost in the expedition of the Terror?

 

They Asked For a Letter–An Unpublished Letter from Sir Walter Scott

Borrowing its title from a collection of essays by C. S. Lewis, this series, They Asked For A Paper,”  highlights interesting items from the Armstrong Browning Library’s collection and suggests topics for further research.

By Melinda Creech
Manuscripts Specialist, Armstrong Browning Library

Henry Raeburn [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

In the DeCastro Album, on the same page as the Leigh Hunt letter, is an unpublished letter from Sir Walter Scott, Scottish historical novelist, playwright and poet, to Samuel Shepherd, a British barrister, judge and politician who served as Attorney General for England and Wales and Lord Chief Baron of the Scottish Court of Exchequer, dated 4 October, 1825.

Letter from Sir Walter Scott to [Samuel Shepherd], 4 October 1825, page 1.

Letter from Sir Walter Scott to [Samuel Shepherd], 4 October 1825, page 2.

Letter from Sir Walter Scott to [Samuel Shepherd], 4 October 1825, intergral address.

Letter from Sir Walter Scott to [Samuel Shepherd], 4 October 1825, integral address

The letter reads:

My dear [Lord]

Lady Shepherd & Miss Runnington as well as your Lordship gave us hopes that you would look in upon Conundrum Castle this year The season promises still a few fine days rather a bonus upon these we have had already which have for Scotland been an ample dividend. New Lord & Lady Gifford [under] the Solicitors pilotage propose us the honour of a visit on [friday] 7th and as they are I believe Friends of Lady Shepherds & yours Lady Scott & I would be much flattered by your meeting them under this roof and I hope Miss Runnington will do us the honor to accompany you Should you agree to this proposal your Lordship had better write a note on Thursday to secure horses

What a melancholy conclusion to our poor friend the Chief Commissioners final hopes and expectations I am sure your Lordship would feel it [surrely] [sic] He is I understand in general correspondence resigned though his firmness is broken occasionally—as who can wonder—with bouts of acute distress.

 

[Page 2]

Lady Scott & Ann give our respectful compliments to Lady Shepherd & Miss Runnington and am always my dear Lord

Most truly & respectfully yours

Walter Scott

Abbotsford Melrose

4 October

 

[Envelope]

OCT

5

1825

 

MELROSE

 

Right Honorable

The Lord Chief Baron

&c &c &d

Edinh

[Edinburgh]

In fact, Lord and Lady Shepherd did visit Scott in October of 1825, along with ” a large houseful” of others. (Scott, Walter et al. The Letters of Sir Walter Scott. Vol. 9. New York: AMS Press, 1971, 233-4.)

What was the “melancholy conclusion” to the “final hopes and expectations” of Scott’s “poor friend the Chief Commissioner”?

Does this letter add any names to the list of Scott’s acquaintances?

What is the story behind the “Castle Conundrum”?

Are there additions or corrections to the transcription?

They Asked For A Paper–Notes in Hartley Coleridge’s Poems

Borrowing its title from a collection of essays by C. S. Lewis, this series, They Asked For A Paper,”  highlights interesting items from the Armstrong Browning Library’s collection and suggests topics for further research.

By Melinda Creech
Manuscripts Specialist, Armstrong Browning Library

Poems by Hartley Coleridge With a Memoir of His Life by his Brother, 2 Vols. London: Edward Moxon, 1851.

These two volumes of the poems of Hartley Coleridge, the eldest son of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and a biography written by Derwent Coleridge, the third child of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, also contain markings on many passages and several notes apparently written by an acquaintance of the Coleridges.

“Add – A copy of [Barnes] Works & Such we found in the kitchen of the Nab – with pencil annotations during summer of 1850 R. S. (ccxiv)

Mrs. Richardson told me in 1851 that Hartley often thought many of Wordsworth’s pieces “too [poetic]”. 1857. Was it so? (19)

No such thing as Annihilation in Nature! R. S. 1857. (59)

I had this once to translate into Latin at Rugby, but did not know then it was H. C.’s. (65)

I think this [Elizabeth] was the daughter of Sir R. Fleming I had the pleasure of dancing with at the [Sunblinde] Ball in summer of 1850. R. S. (98)

Mrs. Richardson spoke to me of this as very beautiful. H. C. had read it to her. (114)

Cf: Tennyson’s “In Memoriam,” Sonnet –

The volumes bear a bookplate of William John Robertson, a translator of French poems of the nineteenth century.

Who is this R. S. and how did he know the Coleridges?

They Asked For A Paper

Borrowing its title from a collection of essays by C. S. Lewis, this series, They Asked For A Paper,”  highlights interesting items from the Armstrong Browning Library’s collection and suggests topics for further research.

By Melinda Creech
Manuscripts Specialist, Armstrong Browning Library

In 1962 C. S. Lewis published a collection of twelve essays simply entitled They Asked For A Paper. It would be his last publication. He died the following year. I have borrowed Lewis’s title for this blog series which will suggest research topics for scholars interested in mining the treasures of the Armstrong Browning Library.

As we have processed the books, letters, and manuscripts here at the ABL, provocative questions and fascinating details have come to light. The faculty and staff are often heard repeating, “Somebody should write a paper about that.” Because that task has proved monumental for our small staff, we are inviting you to tackle some of the questions that have been unearthed.

Over the next few months I will be offering suggestions for research projects based on the holdings at the ABL. Please feel free to contact us for more details, or, better yet, come and visit us at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and have a hands-on experience with the books, letters, and manuscripts in our archives. The topics will include not only the Brownings, but also many other figures from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Be sure to “SUBSCRIBE!” to the blog on the right-hand side of the screen to keep up with all the possibilities.

So, since you asked…

 

Armstrong’s Stars: Katharine Cornell

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 who 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 Geoff Hunt, Audio and Visual Curator, The Texas Collection.

Andrew Joseph Armstrong, and Katharine Cornell at Armstrong Browning Library, Baylor University

Katharine Cornell and A.J. Armstrong enjoy a moment of laughter on the dedication day of Armstrong Browning Library, Baylor University, on December 3, 1951. Cornell was the main speaker at the event, along with Baylor President W.R. White. Jimmie Willis photographic collection, 4×5 photo negative 1038.

While A.J. Armstrong’s stars included celebrities with little to no connection to the Brownings—his primary area of interest—some had very deep affiliations with the poets. In fact, a few of the stars played them!

Katharine Cornell visited Baylor twice, both times in relation to her role as Elizabeth Barrett Browning in Rudolf Besier’s play, The Barretts of Wimpole Street. The part became her signature role, one she started playing in 1931. According to her 1974 New York Times obituary, “The Barretts” ran for a year on Broadway, and then Miss Cornell shepherded her company on a 20,853-mile tour of the United States, a daring venture in the Depression…” Cornell was “actress-manager” for this performance, and her husband, Guthrie McClintic, was director.

Of course, Armstrong could not miss an opportunity to have this production come to Baylor, and the tour made a stop in Waco in 1934. In her obituary, Cornell is quoted saying, “‘The Barretts’ never played to an empty house—the receipts would be something like $33,000…so we came back having more than broken even. We really felt prideful.” Additionally, Cornell, along with Brian Aherne (playing Robert Browning), performed this production for servicemen and women during World War II in USO Camp Shows.

It was thus fitting that when Armstrong’s efforts came to fruition at the dedication of the Armstrong Browning Library on December 2 and 3, 1951, Cornell would be a part of the festivities. The library was a $2 million facility and called “a shrine to the poet, Robert Browning.” Armstrong stated it is “not far below the Taj Mahal in beauty.” For such a special occasion, the dedication called for a grand ceremony.

Katharine Cornell and group at the Armstrong Browning Library, Baylor University, Waco, TX

Left to right: Baylor President William Richardson White, Andrew Joseph Armstrong, Katharine Cornell, Marrs McLean, former Baylor president and Texas governor Pat M. Neff. This photograph was taken on the dedication day of Armstrong Browning Library, Baylor University, on December 3, 1951. Jimmie Willis photographic collection photo negative 1045.

Well-known in the world of Browning enthusiasts, and those of the stage and Broadway, Katharine Cornell was the main speaker for the event. Waco Hall was the venue for Cornell’s appearance in what A.J. Armstrong called the “the cultural and literary dedication program” for the new Armstrong Browning Library. Although Basil Rathbone played Robert Browning in the 1934 touring production, Brian Aherne was the original Robert, “brought from his native England by Miss Cornell,” and he came with Cornell to the dedication.

On the day of the event, Ms. Cornell received an honorary Doctor of Laws during a dedication convocation. Aherne, as well as notable Baylor figures D.K. Martin, Marrs McLean, Herbert Dunnico, and A.J. Armstrong, received the same honor. Robert Roussel of the Houston Post, upon witnessing a portion of the dedication, commented: “It was indeed an inspirational day… All the humane arts were represented, and the theatre was as handsomely served as it could have been with Katharine Cornell and Brian Aherne as its messengers.”

Katharine Cornell Portrait, Armstrong Browning Library, Baylor University

Katharine Cornell portrait by the artist Alexander Clayton. The painting depicts the actress in the role of Elizabeth Barrett Browning. The item was unveiled at Waco Hall on February 9, 1956, and hangs in the Austin Moore-Elizabeth Barrett Browning Salon, Armstrong Browning Library, Baylor University. Photo by Geoff Hunt.

Roussell uses the term “messengers,” and Katharine Cornell rightly served the part as one for the Brownings’ legacy. That legacy lives on in the portrait that adorns the wall of the Armstrong Browning’s Austin Moore-Elizabeth Barrett Browning Salon, as well as her other donations such as the shadow box depicting a scene from the “Barretts” stage production. Further, her impact far beyond Baylor as “messenger” for Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning in her role in the “Barretts” made many audiences more familiar with their poetic works while entertaining and bringing joy to many along the way.

Sources

“Baylor Opens World Shrine to Poets…,” Waco Tribune-Herald (Waco, TX.), Dec. 2, 1951.

“Broadway Stars To Be Here For Browning Dedication,” Waco Tribune-Herald (Waco, TX.), Nov. 4, 1951.

Campbell, Reba. “Waco Dedicates Its Taj Mahal,” Waco Tribune-Herald (Waco, TX.), Dec. 4, 1951.

“Death Claims Dr. ‘A’,” Baylor-Line, v.16 (March-April, 1954): p. 5.

Roussel, Hubert. “Some Out-of-Town Drama With Cornell In a Leading Role,” The Houston-Post (Houston, TX), Dec. 9, 1951.

Katharine Cornell Papers, Armstrong Browning Library, Baylor University.

Thomas E. Turner, Sr., Papers, Accession #2200, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

Whitman, Alden. “Obituary: Katharine Cornell is Dead at 81,” The New York Times (New York City, NY), June 10, 1974.

Learn more about Armstrong’s Stars in previous posts, and see more photos of Katharine Cornell’s 1950 visit to Baylor in our Flickr slideshow below.


Created with flickr slideshow.

 

Beyond the Brownings–William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-1863)

Thackerary ABL 2Courtesy of the Armstrong Browning Library

Written by Melinda Creech, Graduate Assistant, Armstrong Browning Library

William Makepeace Thackeray is most remembered for his satiric novel Vanity Fair (1847-48). He also became editor of the very successful Cornhill magazine in 1860. Although during the nineteenth century Thackeray’s popularity ranked second only to Dickens, today he is much less read and is known almost exclusively for Vanity Fair.

The Armstrong Browning Library holds thirteen letters written by Thackeray and over sixty books authored by Thackeray, some rare or copies of editions the Brownings had in their library.

The letters and books below give a glimpse into Thackeray’s work as an editor for Cornhill and his relationship with Frederick Locker-Lampson. Additionally, the ABL has thirty-two Victorian letters in which Frederick Locker-Lampson is a correspondent and twelve books authored by Locker-Lampson, including two, with Locker’s signature, which were in the Brownings’ Library. There are also ten Locker-Lampson letters in the Browning Collection.

Thackeray-Locker-London-Lyrics-1Thackeray-Locker-London-Lyrics-2Frederick Locker-Lampson. London Lyrics. New ed., enl. and finally revised. London: Henry S. King & Co, 1876.

Locker quotes Thackeray’s opinion of his poetry in the Notes to the 1904 edition of his poetry collection, London Lyrics.

 …Thackeray believed in me, and used to say, ‘Nevermind, Locker—our verse may be small beer, but at least it’s the right tap.’

  Thackeray-to-Locker-1Thackeray-to-Locker-2Thackeray-to-Locker-3Letter from William Makepeace Thackeray to Frederick Locker. 22  January 1861.

Thackeray regrets that he was not able to be present to support Locker-Lampson on the previous Saturday due to “spasm fits.” The embossed crest of the stationery is for the Garrick Club. The letter may regard Locker-Lampson’s rejection from the Garrick Club.

I hope you bear your of Saturday equanimously. I ought to have been here to prevent it for you were only b—k  b—ll—d [black balled] because there was nobody there to speak for you and there should have been such a friend.

Thackerary-FebThackerary-Feb2

Letter from William Makepeace Thackeray to Frederick Locker. 11 February 1861.

Thackeray asks Locker-Lampson to change the last line of his poem, “My Neighbor’s Rose,” from “And god go with her” to “And joy go with her,” claiming that:

 The name of Allah jars rather in the pleasant little composition, and I never like using it if it can be turned or avoided.

Thackeray-Locker-poem-1Thackeray-Locker-poem-2Letter from William Makepeace Thackeray to Frederick Locker. No date.

This letter contains the first stanza of Locker’s poem, “A Human Skull,” with Thackeray’s correction. The poem was Locker’s first contribution to Cornhill, published December 1860. The letter on the verso reads:

My dear L.

that isn’t a good verse—I have mislaid proof 1. –will you recorrect please—and what do you think of the 4 lines on t’other side.

 

Beyond the Brownings–Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

Ralph Waldo Emerson ABLCourtesy of The Armstrong Browning Library

Written by Melinda Creech, Graduate Assistant, Armstrong Browning Library

Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American essayist, lecturer, poet, and leader of the Transcendentalist movement in the middle of the nineteenth century. He is most known for his essays on Nature and Self-Reliance. Emerson was also a mentor and friend of fellow Transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau.

 The Armstrong Browning Library owns three letters written by Emerson. Ninety Emerson books, some rare editions or editions inscribed by Emerson himself, also belong to the library’s holdings. Emerson’s Poems (1884), owned by Robert Browning, is part of the Browning Collection at the ABL. The volume belonged to Robert Browning and contains his signature on the second fly-leaf.

Emerson-Poems-1Emerson-Poems-3Emerson-Poems-4

Ralph Waldo Emerson. Poems. New and rev. ed. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Co, 1884.

Emerson-to-Quincy-1webEmerson-to-Quincy-2Emerson-to-Quincy-3Letter from Ralph Waldo Emerson to Edmund Quincy, Esq. 2 December [1864].

Emerson invites Edmund Quincy, a famous abolitionist, and his friends Mr. and Mrs. Langel to visit.

We will give you a little dinner at 1,’oc & show you meadows & ponds.

 Emerson's-EssayswebRalph Waldo Emerson. Essays. Boston: James Munroe and Company, 1841.

This volume is inscribed by Emerson, “Lucy C. Brown, with the grateful regards of R.W.E. 1848.”

Emerson's-Harvard-Address Ralph Waldo Emerson. An Address Delivered Before the Senior Class in Divinity College, Cambridge, Sunday Evening, 15 July, 1838. Boston: James Munroe and Company, 1838.

Emerson’s address outraged the Protestant community by discounting the miracles of the Bible and questioning the deity of Christ. He was not invited to speak at Harvard for thirty years. This volume bears the inscription on the cover: “/with the affectionate regards of/R.W.E.” Dewey was an American Unitarian minister.

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.