How Do I Love Thee? Ever More – Thanks to Digital Imaging

Sometimes an email just won’t do.

The simple act of putting pen to paper to immortalize one’s love is a beautiful, time-honored way to express one’s love, today or on any day.  But, unlike love, paper doesn’t last forever.  Thanks to digital imaging technology, some of the most famous letters throughout history will endure as long as the love that inspired them.

Perhaps the most famous of all literary love stories is the one shared by Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning.  Today, all 585 of their original letters are available online as high-resolution images through Baylor University’s Digital Collections.

Digital Imaging of the love letters between Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning, from the Baylor University Library Digital Collection

Dear Miss Barrett, I just shall say, in as few words as I can, that you make me very happy…

Honoring the spirit of romance, the Browning (Digital) Collection was “opened” to the public on Valentine’s Day, 2013.  According to a press release from Wellesley College, the collaboration between Baylor University and Wellesley College grew out of a shared desire “to preserve the original Browning letters and to increase the public’s access to these revelatory documents.  This event marked the largest digitization effort of love letters ever undertaken.”

“Every digitization project that makes accessible texts of, or texts related to, important writers is an occasion for applause. But there is something extra special about the digitization of correspondence between one of the greatest and one of the most popular of poets.”

~Leslie Brisman, Karl Young Professor of English at Yale University, as quoted on

Today, everyone can view high-resolution images of the handwritten notes and corresponding envelopes. In addition to zoom and rotate functions, a search feature allows users to locate keywords in each of the letters.

Looking for more romantic inspiration?  Check out our collection of some of the greatest love letters ever written.  We were surprised by several – are you?  Let us know which ones you found the most fascinating, inspiring or just plain awesome!






This entry was posted in Articles, Digital History and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply