Baylor’s Armstrong Browning Library isn’t just a great place for students to study during finals; yearround, it stands as a 60-year-old monument to Baylor’s dedication to both outstanding teaching in the classroom and top-tier academic research. The library’s name sums up its history, recognizing one of Baylor’s most beloved professors, Dr. A. J. Armstrong, and the library’s purpose as the world’s largest collection of books, letters, manuscripts, and memorabilia pertaining to poets Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning, of course, is most known for her Sonnet 43 from Sonnets from the Portuguese, which begins, “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” Baylor researchers were pleased to discover recently a notebook written by Elizabeth and containing the earliest known draft manuscript of Sonnet Five from that same collection. Skillfully deciphering the 170-year-old handwriting, ABL Director Rita Patteson found in the notebook numerous works in draft form, including three previously unpublished poems.
Today through Saturday, the library is hosting its annual Browning Festival, held each year around the anniversary of Robert Browning’s birth. The highlight of this year’s event is an address by Dr. Scott Lewis, president of London’s Browning Society. Lewis is working on a biography of Armstrong and will speak about the former Baylor professor’s life and research. The library (both the building and its contents) as well as the festival are some of the jewels of Baylor’s campus!
Sic ’em, Browning researchers!