A great new website is up and running, featuring the letters of Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning. Baylor and Wellesley have teamed up to present actual images of the letters in their collections. Hurrah, hurray! The letters are “browsable and searchable by date, author, and first line of text.” Other research centers and universities, with Browningana holdings, are being asked to join the initiative — so who knows how much this will grow as time passes.
Wellesley has the original 573 “love” letters (beginning “10 January 1845, with a letter address to ‘dear Miss Barrett’ and continued until a week after their marriage…”).
Here is Elizabeth’s letter dated 11 January 1845 – all eight pages are represented individually; as well as the two sides of the envelope! Scan the page, enlarge the image, move on to a full-screen view – complete with typescript, or have text alone:
Postal historians must be getting their first looks at such as this 11 January 1845 envelope:
The New York Times gives a fine overview in this article by John Williams; but I highly recommend you simply immerse yourself in the world of working with primary materials such as manuscripts (ie, the Austen Fiction Manuscripts Project), diaries, and letters like these. A true gift of a web collection!
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This blog has featured a couple of other “project” websites. The ones that come to mind are:
- Martha Ballard’s Diary
- the correspondence of Abigail Adams
- the correspondence of Walter Scott
- John Waldie’s Theatre Commentaries
Happy to hear about projects — ongoing, proposed, or up-and-running — from readers!
UPDATED: How could I forget these sites, which I use but evidently haven’t mentioned on this blog:
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“These digitized letters are as authentic online as if you pulled them out of an evelope “
— Darryl Stuhr