Compiled by Philip Kelley & Betty A. Coley
In 1913 it took Sotheby’s of London six days to auction away the vast collection of possessions accumulated by Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning and by their son, Pen, who had died in the previous year. The “bible” of that sale was Sotheby’s meticulously drawn-up catalogue known as The Browning Collections. Compiler-editors Kelley and Coley begin with that catalogue and go on to develop a definitive list of primary Browning source material. In all there are nearly 7,000 separate listings. About half the items have been located, in 237 collections. Along with the pertinent information (as to locations, etc.) in the listings themselves, the volume provides generous introductory material, cross-referencing, and a 60-page index. Illustrations depict over 200 items.
“This was clearly an immensely arduous labor, and the result is commensurably staggering; this book presents so much new information and offers it in so many valuable ways that it must be pronounced indispensable. No one, from this time forth, should attempt to research or write on the Brownings without The Browning Collections at hand.” — Bulletin of Bibliography