Quick Facts

Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Birth Dates and Places:

  • Elizabeth Barrett Browning (EBB): March 6, 1806; Coxhoe Hall, Northumberland, England
  • Robert Browning (RB): May 7, 1812; Camberwell, England (a suburb of London)

Date of Marriage:

  • September 12, 1846, at St. Marylebone Parish Church, London; RB was 34 years old; EBB was 40 years old

Death Dates and Places:

  • EBB: June 29, 1861 (55 years old); Casa Guidi in Florence, Italy; buried in the Protestant Cemetery, Florence
  • RB: December 12, 1889 (77 years old); Palazzo Rezzonico in Venice, Italy, at the son's home; buried on December 31, 1889, in Poets' Corner, Westminster Abbey, London


  • The famous love letters, written between EBB and RB before their marriage, number 573

Due to Mr. Barrett's opposition to their marriage, RB and EBB married secretly and a week later traveled to Florence, Italy, where their son was born in 1849 (EBB was 43 years old)

Robert Wiedeman Barrett Browning (Pen)

Birth Date and Place: March 9, 1849; Casa Guidi in Florence, Italy

Date of Marriage: October 4, 1887; to Fannie Coddington, an American heiress

Death Date and Place: July 8, 1912 (63 years old); Asolo, Italy, where he was first buried and then moved to the English Cemetery in Florence, Italy


  • Pen was 12 years old when EBB died and moved with RB to London shortly after her death
  • Pen studied painting with Jean-Arnould Hyermans in Antwerp, Belgium, and sculpture with Auguste Rodin in Paris
  • Pen and his wife never divorced, but they did not live together after 1893; they had no children so there are no direct descendants of the Brownings

Andrew Joseph and Mary Maxwell Armstrong

Birth Dates and Places:

  • Dr. A. J. Armstrong (Dr. A): March 29, 1873; Louisville, Kentucky
  • Mary Maxwell Armstrong (Mrs. A): September 21, 1882; Buena Vista, Shelby County, Texas

Death Dates and Places:

  • Dr. A: March 31, 1954 (81 years old); Waco, Texas; buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Waco, Texas
  • Mrs. A: September 1, 1971 (88 years old); West Chester, Pennsylvania; buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Waco, Texas

Dr. A's Education, Career, and Travels:

  • Education: B.A. (1902), M.A. (in cursu award, 1904), Wabash College, Crawfordsville, Indiana; five summer sessions at University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois (1903 - 1907); Ph.D. (1908), University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Career before coming to Baylor University: East Texas Baptist Institute (later Rusk Academy), Rusk, Texas (September - December 1902); Luna Training School, Franklin, Kentucky (January - June 1903); Broaddus College, Philippi, West Virginia (September 1903 - June 1904); Illinois Wesleyan College, Bloomington, Illinois (September 1904 - June 1907); Georgetown College, Georgetown, Kentucky (September 1909 - May 1912)
  • Career at Baylor University: interim position in English Department, 1908 - 1909; Chairman, English Department, 1912 - 1952; Director of the Armstrong Browning Library from its completion in 1951 until his death in 1954
  • Travels: meets Pen Browning during his first solo trip to Europe, 1909; conducts first tour to Europe for Temple Tours, 1911; starts Armstrong Educational Tours to Europe and Near East, 1912 (30 plus trips conducted during twenty years); organizes first Browning Pilgrimage in 1926 and the second in 1930

Mrs. A's Education and Career:

  • Education: B.A., Baylor University, Waco, Texas (1901); further work at the University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois (summer 1903)
  • Career: taught English at East Texas Baptist Institute (later Rusk Academy), Rusk, Texas (1901 - 1902); taught high school English in Waco schools (1903 - 1910); maintained offices in Paris (France) and Waco (Texas) for the management of Armstrong Educational Tours (1912 - 1932); advisor to Dr. A (1911 - 1954); Director of the Armstrong Browning Library from 1954 to 1959; consultant and administrator of the Guardian Angel organization (1959 - 1966)

Mrs. A's Contributions:

  • Assisted Dr. A in fund-raising, expanding the Browning Collection, and planning the Armstrong Browning Library; she is credited with a strong influence on the ultimate beauty and elegance of the Library, especially the formation of the Elizabeth Barrett Browning Salon


  • The Armstrongs had one son, Richard Maxwell Armstrong; they ran their own travel agency and led many tours to Great Britain, Italy, and other European countries; profits from their tours were added to the Library building fund; Dr. and Mrs. A, and their assistants, wrote thousands of letters requesting donations to the building fund

The Armstrong Browning Library Building

Groundbreaking: May 7, 1948

Cornerstone Ceremony: February 25, 1950

Dedication: December 1 - 3, 1951

First-floor Renovation: 1995

Dedication of the Garden of Contentment: September 14, 2012

Replacement of Major Air Handler: Fall, 2014

Building Cost:

  • Approximately 1.75 million dollars in 1951, with a 1.5 million dollar renovation in 1995; if the same quality materials and craftsmen could be found today, the building would cost approximately 50 million dollars; that figure does not include the collections and other contents

Succeeding A. J. Armstrong as Directors of the Library

Mrs. Mary Maxwell Armstrong, 1954 - 1959; following the death of her husband

Dr. Jack W. Herring, 1959 - 1984; specialist in Robert Browning and John Milton, former student of Dr. A

Dr. Roger L. Brooks, 1987 - 1994; specialist in Matthew Arnold and Victorian literature, former student of Dr. A

Dr. Mairi Rennie, 1996 - 2002; British subject, specialist in Victorian literature

Dr. Stephen Prickett, 2003 - 2008; British subject, specialist in Victorian literature in relation to Victorian theology

Mrs. Rita S. Patteson, 2009 - 2016; native Texan, specialist in librarianship and in the Armstrong Browning Library

Mrs. Jennifer Borderud, 2017 - present