Armstrong Browning Library

By: Jack W. Herring

Type: General Entry

Published: 1976

Updated: September 29, 2018

The Armstrong Browning Library building was dedicated on December 3, 1951, having cost $2 million. Andrew Joseph Armstrong, chairman of the English Department at Baylor University, presented to the university, soon after joining its faculty, his personal collection of Browning materials. This was the beginning of the Armstrong Browning Library, which for many years was maintained in the Browning Room of the Carroll Library. Armstrong continued to purchase, and frequently received as gifts, many additions to the collection-books, paintings, furniture, and other mementoes of Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. The library has 2,000 original letters and other manuscripts written by and to the Brownings. The collection includes all of the first editions of both poets and most of the books, periodical articles, pamphlets, and other publications that deal with them. Primary and secondary materials for the use of scholars are constantly being added to the collection.

The library has become known as a source of information about the Brownings and researches and acknowledges hundreds of questions each year. It publishes Studies in Browning and His Circle and the Baylor Browning Interests Series. The library building has two floors. The main floor is divided into the Martin Entrance Foyer, the Leddy-Jones Research Hall, the Hankamer Treasure Room, and the McLean Foyer of meditation. The upper floor includes the Austin Moore-Elizabeth Barrett Browning Salon, the Mary Armstrong Seminar Room, the Charles G. Smith Graduate Research Complex, the International Room, the Browning Classroom, and offices for the director and librarian, workrooms for the library staff, and study carrels for visiting scholars.

A statue of Pippa (modeled from Pippa Passes) is in front of the building, and bronze-paneled entrance doors depict themes from ten of Browning's poems. Fifty-four stained-glass windows are designed to illustrate poems and themes by Robert or Elizabeth Barrett Browning. The Cloister of the Clasped Hands in the McLean Foyer of Meditation contains Harriet Hosmer's cast of the clasped hands of the two poets; the Sturdivant Alcove in the Leddy-Jones Research Hall contains the Pied Piper window; letters and manuscripts are displayed in the Hankamer Treasure Room. The Browning Corridor has more than twenty-five different likenesses of Robert Browning. A balcony overlooks the McLean Foyer of Meditation; the entire library shows outstanding workmanship in the walnut paneling, marble, hand-painted ceilings, and parquet floors.

Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Jack W. Herring, “Armstrong Browning Library,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 16, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

September 29, 2018