Just in time for Valentine’s Day earlier this week, some of the most famous love letters ever were made available for viewing in their original handwritten form, thanks to a joint digitization project between Baylor and Wellesley College. Nearly 600 letters from poets Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning, owned and housed at Wellesley, are now available for viewing online (along with some 800+ other Browning letters owned by BU) through Baylor Libraries’ digital collection.
An Associated Press story on the project was carried by more than 400 media outlets worldwide, including The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Huffington Post (with a great video), CBS News, ABC News, NPR, CBC-TV (Canada), The Guardian (UK) and the Belfast Telegraph (UK), and that coverage sent people in droves to the Baylor website.
Between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Feb. 14, the Browning Letters site was viewed more than 100,000 times per hour. Thankfully, Baylor’s servers were up to the barrage of traffic. Since then, several major media outlets have followed up to learn more about Baylor’s role in the digitization process.
The timing of the coverage was even more serendipitous as Baylor prepares to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Robert Browning’s birth. The university’s Armstrong Browning Library is home to the world’s largest collection of books, manuscripts, works of art and other materials related to the Brownings, and as such will host an international conference in November celebrating the Browning bicentennial.
Sic ’em, Baylor Libraries and the Armstrong Browning Library!