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"Waxing Eloquent-The Armstrong Browning Library" Top 5 Page for this destination Waco Things to Do Tip by VeronicaG

Waco Things to Do: 84 reviews and 192 photos

  The Armstrong Browning Library
by VeronicaG

We arrived at the elegant doors of the Armstrong Browning Library a short time after they closed for the day. How disappointing, for I wanted to delve into the psyche of one of literature's most romantic couple, Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

This graceful depository for the 'world's largest collection of Browning material' was conceived by Dr. A.J. Armstrong, who became a great fan of poet, Robert Browning, while still a child.

I found the story behind the Library's conception very interesting. While touring Italy in 1909, Dr. Armstrong made it a point to meet, 'Pen' Browning, son of Robert and Elizabeth. A short stay with Pen fired Armstrong's passion to collect anything related to Robert, Sr.

Two years later Pen died leaving no heir, so the other members of the family had to auction the poet's effects to pay creditors. However, a list was kept on who obtained which item at auction and through the years these materials were traced and purchased whenever possible, for Dr. A's collection.

Dr. Armstrong donated a small batch of Browning's books to Baylor in 1918 and from that point on the collection expanded each year.

In 1943, the school's President offered $100,000 to be applied towards creating a permanent home for the growing collection if Dr. A would match it. He more than matched it and the Armstrong Browning Library was completed on December, 1951 at the cost of $1.75 million dollars.

FYI: Architects Eggers and Higgins of New York designed the main floor, The library was completed with the help of 'artisans and craftsmen under the direction of chief architect and engineer, Wyatt C. Hedrick of Ft. Worth and builder S.B. Swigert Contruction Company of Waco, Texas.'

19th century contemporaries of Browning, Charles Dickens, Matthew Arnold, John Ruskin, George MacDonald and Joseph Milsand are also included in this collection of 19th century literature.

Hours are Mon.-Fri. 9am-5pm and Sat. 9am-12 Noon. Admission is free.

Address: Corner of 8th & Speight Ave., Waco, Tx
Directions: at Baylor University
Phone: 254-710-3566

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Jul 25, 2008
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