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Robert Browning Collection: Box 2

BROWNING BOX 2 (formerly Browning 1): Acquisitions Correspondence and Scholarly Enquiries

Acquisitions Correspondence:

Letters from the Revd. A. J. Whyte Litt. D | about his gifts to the Library, 1930 etc. [contained in envelope]

1. ALS from ARTHUR WHYTE to SIR ARTHUR WALLACE CAMBRIDGE. Cosgrove Rectory, Burton Leonard, Yorks[hire], 27 January 1923. 1L. Whyte offers Balliol College Robert Browning’s personal photograph album which he received from Professor William Knight who ‘had it from Browning’s daughter-in-law’ [i.e. Fannie].

2. ALS from WHYTE to SIR ARTHUR WALLACE CAMBRIDGE. Cosgrove Rectory, Burton Leonard, Yorks[hire], 17 March 1924 [?should be 1923]. 1L. Whyte has agreed with Balliol library to donate Browning’s photograph album to the college and arranges to meet Cambridge on 2 April.

3. ANS [on a postcard with two halfpenny postal stamps and an Upper Tadmarton, 3 Nov. Postmark] from WHYTE to R[oger Aubrey] B[askerville] MYNORS. Tadmarton Rectory, Banbury, Oxford, 3 Nov [19??]. 1L. Whyte will be in Oxford on Wednesday after 12.30 and wants to know if Mynors can meet with him to show him the library.

4. ALS from WHYTE to ‘SIR’. Cosgrove Rectory, Burton Leonard, Yorks[hire], 28 Jan. [1929?].  1L. Whyte offers the college an unframed drawing of Mrs Browning’s home ‘Hope End’; the drawing was made before the house was pulled down.

5. ALS from WHYTE to ‘SIR’. Cosgrove Rectory, Burton Leonard, Yorks[hire], 2 Feb. 1929. 1L. Whyte sends Balliol the drawing of Hope End and asks whether they would also be interested in acquiring his collection of books on Sordello and first editions of early Browning works.

6. ALS from WHYTE to MYNORS. Cosgrove Rectory, Burton Leonard, Yorks[hire], 15 Feb. [1929]. 1L. Whyte encloses a letter from the artist acknowledging the fee paid for the Hope End picture and promises to forward any other interesting items among Knight’s collection of Browning’s papers.

7. ALS from H. H. LINES to PROFESSOR WILLIAM KNIGHT. 7 Albany Terrace, Worcester, 3 Jan. 1881. 1L. Receipt for two sovereigns paid for the two pictures of Hope End along with a letter in which Lines expresses talks about Hope End as an ‘eccentric old mansion’, now ‘as a dream’. [This is the enclosed letter mentioned in 6.]

8. ALS from WHYTE to MYNORS. Tadmarton Rectory, Banbury, Oxford, Oct. 28 [19??]. 1L. Whyte offers the college more books by Browning.

9. ALS from WHYTE to MYNORS. Tadmarton Rectory, Banbury, Oxford, 1 Nov. [19??]. 1L. Whyte is glad that Balliol will accept the Browning books and suggests that Mynors pick his own time to visit the rectory to view them.

10. ALS from WHYTE to MYNORS. Tadmarton Rectory, Banbury, Oxford, 10 Nov. [19??]. 1L. Whyte sends Mynors a couple of additional Browning volumes which he has rediscovered while ordering his books.

11. ALS from WHYTE to MYNORS. Tadmarton Rectory, Banbury, Oxford, 6 Feb. [1931]. 1L. Whyte proposes to leave another volume of Browning’s newspaper cuttings for Mynors next time he is in Oxford.

12. ALS from WHYTE to ‘SIR’. Tadmarton Rectory, Banbury, Oxford, 7 Feb. [193?; must be after 15 Feb 1929, see letters 5 and 6]. 1L. Whyte encloses a photograph of Hope End to accompany his earlier gift ‘some time ago’ of pictures of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s home. [Photocopy included as well]

13. Sepia photograph of Robert Browning, note on the reverse ‘From the Rev. A. J. Whyte D Litt’.


Correspondence concerning the Fanny Carey bequest

1. ANS from FANNY CAREY to [STRACHAN DAVIDSON] on a calling-card. 2. Oct. [1912]. 1L. Requests a short interview.

2. ALS from STRACHAN DAVIDSON to CYRIL BAILEY. 4 Oct 1912. 1L. Request for Bailey to keep the papers concerning the request among the library’s private records since the Misses Carey have made clear in their visit that they do not want the bequest made public during their lives.

3. ALS from FANNY CAREY to [CYRIL BAILEY?]. 1912. 1L. Marked ‘Copy’. Promises to enclose a descriptive list of the contents of her bequest to the college library.

4. ALS from FANNY CAREY to CYRIL BAILEY. 20 Jan. 1913. [Fair copy of 3.] Promises to enclose a descriptive list of the contents of her bequest to the college library.

5. ALS from FANNY CAREY to STRACHAN DAVIDSON. 20 Jan. 1913. Carey sends the descriptive list of the bequest’s contents to Strachan Davidson: 1L. List of items to be bequeathed by Miss Fanny Carey to Balliol College.

6. ALS from CYRIL BAILEY to FANNY CAREY. 21 Jan. 1913. Bailey has been passed the list by the master and thanks Carey for her generous gift.

7. TLS from ?Harry? WALLIS to the master [ARTHUR LIONEL SMITH]. 13 Aug. 1921. 1L. Wallis requests that the master sign a receipt for the bequest.

8. ALS from H. J. DYER to A. W. PICKARD-CAMBRIDGE. 13 Aug. 1921. 1L. Dyer encloses the letter from A. E. Morton (solicitor), of 10 Aug. 1921 informing the Master of the death of Fanny Carey on 23 July 1921 and enclosing the extract from her will relating to the Browning bequest to Balliol.

9. ALS from H. J. DYER to G. A. WALKER. 8 Oct. 1921. 1L. Dyer confirms that the box arrived safely on 15 August and explains that both Pickard-Cambridge and the Master [Arthur Lionel Smith] are away from Balliol but that the latter will return that evening.

10. ALS from MRS SMITH to A. W. PICKARD-CAMBRIDGE. 12 Oct. [1921]. 1L. Mrs Smith confirms that the books arrived.

11. LS from ?Harry? WALLIS to A. W. PICKARD-CAMBRIDGE. 13 Oct. 1921. 1L. Wallis thanks Pickard-Cambridge and Mrs Smith for their letters and asks whether he ought to send three additional personal belongings of Browning (‘a Glass Letter-weight, Silver Sugar Tongs, and Brass Taper-holder) to the library at Balliol.

12. TLS from WALLIS to A. W. PICKARD-CAMBRIDGE. 15 Oct. 1921. 1L. Wallis will forward the additional items to Balliol and requests a signed receipt for the books and relics.

13. ANS from WALLIS to A. W. PICKARD-CAMBRIDGE. 24 Oct. 1921. 1L. Wallis thanks Pickard-Cambridge for the receipt.

Formerly ‘Miscellanea from Miss Carey’s Bequest, 1921’ now includes other pieces ‘Memorial’?

Robert Browning holograph: a copy of John Forster’s account of Charles Dickens’s response to Browning’s The Blot in the ‘Scutcheon  copied from Vol. II, chapter 2, p. 24 of Forster’s Life of Dickens.  The Blot was ‘withdrawn after three performances’ but, according to Forster, however, Dickens was very impressed with it ‘It is full of genius, natural and great thoughts, profound and yet simple and beautiful in its vigour’. Browning notes at the foot of the page: ‘I was never “told” of the above and ^now^ read it for the first time thirty years after the telling would have been useful to me.  RB’. The extract is dated 1842 thus Browning is presumably writing in 1872.

ALS from ARTHUR H. BROWNING to JOWETT with reply from JOWETT to ARTHUR H. BROWNING interlineated over the original letter. [Jan 1842]. 1L folded to make a four-page booklet. Jowett comments on Browning’s 3.5 page Greek exercise and urges him to make it better.

1. Order of service for the funeral at Westminster Abbey of Robert Browning at 12 noon on 31 Dec. 1889

2. ANS from SARIANNA and ROBERT BARRETT BROWNING to MISS CAREY. 1903. Sarianna’s handwritten note sent from Italy in a small card bearing a picture of a rose on the front wishes Miss Carey a happy new year.

3. Undated book flyer for The Life of Robert Browning by Mrs Sutherland Orr, published by Houghton, Mifflin & Company. [unclear for which edition, 1891, 898, or 1908]

4. Press clipping bequeathed by Miss Carey from The Athenaeum 3 Oct. 1908; review of Charles W. Hodell’s translation of the source text for Browning’s The Ring and the Book, The Old Yellow Book.

5. Press review bequeathed by Miss Carey from The Standard of Frederic G. Kenyon’s edition of the letters between Browning and his friend: Robert Browning and Alfred Domett.

6. Four press clipping and an autograph note by EV Quinn (Balliol Librarian).  The cuttings relate to additions to the reading materials available to Browning scholars; these include: notice of an unpublished letter by Browning to be sold at auction and notice of Country Life’s publication of an early unpublished poem of Browning’s ‘A Forest Thought’.

7. Order of service for evening prayer on 7 May 1912 at Westminster Abbey.  This service of commemoration of Robert Browning’s birth (7 May 1812) was held on the centenary of his birth.

8. Card admitting bearer to the Robert Browning centenary on 7 May 1912 at Westminster Abbey; addressed to ‘Miss Henrietta Carey’ of ‘Trent Leigh | Nottingham’.

9. Blank postcard showing the a photograph of the Palazzo Rezzonico in Venice [the home purchased by Pen and Fannie after their marriage].

10. ANS on a postcard from Italy from J. M. Blake to Miss F. C. Carey; it was sent from Florence (Firenze) on 4.8.[19]16. Blake thanks Carey for her letter and her sympathy with ‘the Browning scheme’.

11. Typed, undated, prospectus of The Browning Foundation in Florence, Italy. The poet Herbert Trench is listed as the chairman; Trench did not move to Settigano until 1911, thus this document presumably post-dates his move. [?perhaps included with letter below]

12. ALS from J. M. BLAKE to the MISSES CAREY.  The Browning Foundation, Florence, Italy, 22 Apr. 1916.  Blake asks the Careys to leave any Browning treasures that they may own to the foundation and asks them to write to the foundation’s secretary in order to be kept ‘in touch with the movement’.

13. Invitation (in original envelope) from the Mayor of St Marylebone for Vincent Quinn of Balliol College to attend the Elizabeth Barrett Browning Centenary Exhibition at St Marylebone Central Public Library on 30 May 1961.  See BOX 4 for a sepia photograph of that exhibition.

14. Photocopy of pp. 30-37 of Fannie Barrett Browning’s Some Memories of Robert Browning [1928] with an envelope addressed to the ‘Chief Librarian of Balliol College’, postmark 7 Aug. 1970.

15. [1904] privately printed copy of the poem ‘A Miniature’; reprinted from The Sibyl ed. by members of Rugby School, No 16, 1 April 1893, attributed to Browning. Single sheet folded once to form a four-page booklet (Browning, Robert item 56 in The Norman Colbeck Collection of Nineteenth-Century and Edwardian Poetry and Belles Lettres).


Miscellaneous Acquisitions Correspondence

ALS from H. G. HEWLETT to ROBERT BROWNING. 24 ???ing Gardens S. W., 3 Jul. 1872. 1 L. Letter accompanying the portrait of Guido Franceschini.  Envelope marked ‘(Portrait of Guido Franceschini) | Robert Browning Esq. | 19 Warwick Crescent’.

The lock of Browning’s hair

1. ALS from KATHERINE BRONSON to DR POPE. Sunday [n.d.]. 1L. Letter to accompany Bronson’s gift of a locket containing a lock of Browning’s hair cut by her at Asolo at Browning’s command less than two months before his death.  Bronson explains that she had also sent such a locket to Dr Jowett in 1890. Accompanied by envelope ‘Letter from Mrs Bronson to Dr Pope’.

2. ANS from G. H. Pope to Balliol College. Indian Institute, Oxford, 23 Jun. 1895. Note accompanying the gift of a lock of Robert Browning’s hair, cut three weeks before his death, to be kept with Browning’s manuscript poems at Balliol; the gift is dated ‘Oct 1894’ [? Dating confused]

Photocopies of correspondence relating to the Asolando Manuscript

1. ALS from REGINALD SMITH to the Bursar of Balliol [SIR WILLIAM MARKBY]. 15 Waterloo Place, London, S. W., 30 Oct. 1912. 2L. Smith asks if any paperwork existed to show that Browning’s last poetic manuscript, ‘Asolando’, ought to have been bequeathed to Balliol.

2. ALS from REGINALD SMITH to SIR WILLIAM MARKBY. 15 Waterloo Place, London, S. W., 14 Nov. 1912. 2L. Smith is going to visit Fannie Barrett Browning to discover her view on where the Asolando MS ought to be kept.

3. ALS from REGINALD SMITH to SIR WILLIAM MARKBY. 15 Waterloo Place, London, S. W., 22 Nov. 1912. 2L. Smith forwards a copy of the letter sent by Pen Browning from Asolo to Mr. Kenyon 31 Oct. 1907, regarding the destination of the Asolando MS. Copy of letter follows; 1L.

4. ALS from REGINALD SMITH to SIR WILLIAM MARKBY. 15 Waterloo Place, London, S. W., 2 Dec. 1912. 2L. Smith has heard back from Fannie Barrett Browning to confirm that the Asolo MS will be sold at auction; Smith is upset that ‘’the goodwill of RB and RBB towards Balliol should not be fulfilled’.

5. ALS from REGINALD SMITH to SIR WILLIAM MARKBY. 15 Waterloo Place, London, S. W., 2 Dec. 1912. 2L. Smith expresses his gratitude to Markby.

6. ALS from SIR WILLIAM MARKBY to [Edward] HILLIARD. 7 June 1913. 2L. Markby explains that no evidence of RB’s intention for the Asolando MS was found among Jowett’s papers upon his death; Markby went through Jowett’s papers himself. Jowett’s correspondence (including his letters from Browning, ‘much correspondence’, were burnt according to Jowett’s wishes. Jowett had not instructed Markby on the Asolando MS.

7. ALS from REGINALD SMITH to SIR WILLIAM MARKBY. 15 Waterloo Place, London, S. W., 10 Jun. 1913. 2L. Smith comments on the sale price of the Asolando MS at auction ‘over £1000 in the mallet’.

Fannie Barrett Browning’s letters about Balliol’s Browning holdings

1. ALS from FANNIE BARRETT BROWNING to Dr [Strachan] Davidson. Hotel Rembrandt | Thurloe Place | SW, 2 Jan. 1914. 1L. Fannie has sent Davidson the ‘Ring’ of the ‘Ring and the Book’ from Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s jewellery case.

2. ALS from FANNIE BARRETT BROWNING to the master of Balliol College [Alexander Dunlop Lindsay]. 3414 Garfield Street N. W. Washington DC, 24 Jan. 1928. 1L. Concerning Browning letters at Balliol.


SCHOLARLY ENQUIRIES about Balliol Browning MSS:

Letters from Mr. Hodell about ‘The Old Yellow Book’. 1906-1908
1. ALS from CHARLES HODELL to EDWARD CAIRD (Master of Balliol). The Woman’s College of Baltimore, 24 May 1906. 2L. Hodell double-checks the permissions to publish his transcription of the book (made four years previously) and requests that the book be made available to him again at the Bodleian for a few days in July or August. He outlines the format of the book.

2. ALS from HODELL to BAILEY. The Woman’s College of Baltimore,15 Nov 1906. 2L. Hodell thanks Bailey for letting him know that Balliol has granted permission for his book project and requests that ‘some competent person’ verify his copy of the book.

3. ALS from HODELL to BAILEY. The Woman’s College of Baltimore,17 Jan. 1907. 2L. Hodell is anxious that his manuscript is two weeks late as he is still waiting to hear for verification of his copy from Balliol. He also requests a letter confirming that he is the only person to whom Balliol has granted permission to publish the book.

4. ALS from HODELL to BAILEY. The Woman’s College of Baltimore, 17 Feb. 1907. 2L. Hodell has received Bailey’s letter of 1 Feb, but still awaits the manuscript; he defends his standardisation of abbreviations in the manuscript upon his first transcription, asserting that the college will have no reason to accuse him of ‘careless editing’.

5. ALS from HODELL to BAILEY.  The Woman’s College of Baltimore, 26 Feb. 1907. 1L. Hodell is upset because the manuscript still hasn’t arrived and Mr ?Wellstood? has been ‘very dilatory in the work’.

6. ALS from HODELL to BAILEY. The Woman’s College of Baltimore, [n.d.]. 2L. The manuscript has at last arrived and Hodell is apologetic for his impatience and pleased with the results he has received. He wishes to know whether Balliol would allow him to reproduce the portrait of Robert Browning by his son, Pen Barrett-Browning, for the frontispiece of the book.

7. ALS from HODELL to BAILEY. The Woman’s College, Baltimore, 8 Apr. 1907. 2L. Hodell confirms that he has now received confirmation to reproduce the whole book by ‘photo-lithography’ or ‘half-tone photographic reproduction’ and requests that Bailey communicate with the Clarendon Press photographer over arrangements to photograph the entire book.

8. LS from HORACE HART to BAILEY. University Press, Oxford, 26 Apr. 1907. 1L. Hart wishes to arrange for the Press’s photographer, Mr. Hannay, to take measurements in order to provide an estimate for the cost of illustrating Mr Hodell’s book.

9. ALS from HODELL to BAILEY. The Woman’s College, Baltimore, 15 May 1907. 1L. Hodell is sending Bailey a trial page of the reproduction of the ‘Old Yellow Book’. Trial page included; 1L.

10. ALS from HODELL to BAILEY. The Woman’s College, Baltimore, 22 Sep. 1907. 3L. Hodell updates Bailey on progress, assuring him that ‘the entire volume should be complete by the end of the year.

11. ALS from HODELL to BAILEY. The Woman’s College, Baltimore, 22 Dec. 1907. 5L. Hodell reports on the book’s progress; the introduction is in galley proof but he does not expect it to ‘see the book in complete form before Mar. 1’.

12. Typed letter, signed from Constance Huntington to BAILEY. Putnam’s Monthly, London Office, 24 Bedford Street, Strand, 4 Jan. 1908. 1L. Constance authorises the publication of Pen Browning’s portrait of Robert Browning in Putnam’s Monthly and has cabled the authorisation to America.

13. ALS from HODELL to BAILEY. The Woman’s College, Baltimore, 27 Oct. 1908. 3L. Hodell is glad to hear that the college approves the reproduction but is disappointed with the lack of a response to the book in England.

14. Offprint from Hodell’s 1908 PMLA article ‘A literary mosaic’ (Vol. 23, No. 3), pp. 510-19.

Letters from Prof. W. Clyde de Vane (author of A Browning Handbook)

1. ALS from DE VANE to ‘the librarian’. 12 Lincoln Street, New Haven, Connecticut, 1 Feb. 1927. 1L. De Vane enquires whether Balliol Library contains Browning’s copy of Angelo Cerutti’s edition of Daniello Bartoli’s [De’] Simboli Transportati Al Morale on the flyleaf of which Browning wrote ‘How They Brought the Good News’.

2. ALS from M[urray] Emeneau to Mynors. Yale University Department of Classics, 1910 Yale Station, New Haven, Conn., 1 May 1930. 1L. Emeneau asks on De Vane’s behalf whether it seems likely that he’d be granted permission to study the Browning collection at Balliol.

3. ALS from DE VANE to MYNORS. 340 Whitney Avenue, New Haven, Connecticut, 28 May 1930. 1L. De Vane thanks Mynors for granting him permission to work on the Browning collection at Balliol and telling Mynors that he will be in Oxford for ten days, starting 13 July. With envelope postmarked 1 Jun. 1930.

4. ALS from DE VANE to MYNORS. 8 Beaumont Street, Oxford, 14 Jul. 1930. 1L. De Vane thanks Mynors for access to the Browning papers and confirms that he would like to see the Browning ‘relics’.


- Dr Claire Williams, February 2013.

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