Guide to the San Diego Browning Society Records MS 265

Finding aid prepared by Jennifer Ho
Collection processed as part of grant project supported by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) with generous funding from The Andrew Mellon Foundation.
San Diego History Center Document Collection
1649 El Prado, Suite 3
San Diego, CA, 92101
November 16, 2011

Title: San Diego Browning Society Records
Identifier/Call Number: MS 265
Contributing Institution: San Diego History Center Document Collection
Language of Material: English
Physical Description: 1.5 Linear feet (3 boxes)
Date (inclusive): 1946-1992
Abstract: This collection contains items pertaining to the San Diego Browning Society, whose members read and analyzed the writings of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning.
creator: San Diego Browning Society.

Biographical / Historical Notes

The San Diego Browning Society was founded in 1946 by Mrs. Oliver W. (Estelle Grace) Pierce, a retired speech coach from Minneapolis who moved to San Diego in 1931. According to the society’s by-laws, its purpose was to “promote the study, understanding and appreciation of the works of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and to relate them to the Victorian Age in which they were a vital influence.” Its members consisted of college faculty, prominent local citizens of varied professions, and any San Diegans who simply enjoyed poetry and were interested in its promotion. During the Society’s monthly meetings, members delivered readings of Browning poems and original papers about aspects of the Brownings’ lives and the time and environment in which they lived. Some meetings included lectures given by guest speakers. They also held events, such as annual holiday dinners, birthday parties for the Brownings, and special programs such as a Browning-related movie screening and an interpretive music concert based on a Robert Browning poem. Due to decline of membership and interest in this literary period, the society disbanded in 1992.

Scope and Content

The collection contains items relating to the administration and activities of the San Diego Browning Society. Administrative items include by-laws, membership listings, meeting minutes, financial reports, and correspondence. Many of the meeting minutes records books have newspaper clippings and other miscellaneous items pasted into the books. Activity-related items include program booklets, program notices and event programs.


Items in the collection are arranged by subject.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number 920929.

Conditions Governing Use

The San Diego History Center (SDHC) holds the copyright to any unpublished materials. SDHC Library regulations do apply.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Jennifer Ho on November 16, 2011.
Collection processed as part of grant project supported by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) with generous funding from The Andrew Mellon Foundation.

Preferred Citation

San Diego Browning Society Records, MS 265, San Diego History Center Document Collection, San Diego, CA.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Some notebooks have loose pages. All loose materials from meeting minutes record books have been removed, but are retained in the same folder with the original book. (November 16, 2011)

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Armstrong Browning Library.
Browning, Elizabeth Barrett, 1806-1861
Browning, Robert, 1812-1889
Livingstone, William
Neill, Diana
Pierce, Oliver W. (Grace Estelle), Mrs.
San Diego Browning Society.
Shouse, Claude F., Sr.
Small, Carmen H.
Small, W. Emmett
English literature -- 19th century
San Diego (Calif.)

Box-folder 1:1

By-laws, 1982 August 19–1985 May 28 and undated

Box-folder 1:2

Membership rosters, 1979 April–1991

Box-folder 1:3

Meeting minutes (bound), 1946 May 8–1953 December 7

Box-folder 1:4

Meeting minutes (bound), 1954 January 5–1957 April 14

Box-folder 1:5

Meeting minutes (bound), 1957 May 12–1960 May 11


Photograph of club members
Box-folder 1:6

Meeting minutes (bound), 1960–1963 March 10

Box-folder 2:1

Meeting minutes (bound), 1963 October 13–1966 April 17

Box-folder 2:2

Meeting minutes (bound), 1966 May 15–1980 May 18

Box-folder 2:3

Meeting minutes (bound) and notes, 1983 February 6–1987 May 17


Financial reports
Correspondence to members
Meeting plans and notes, December 15-16, 1984
Box-folder 2:4

Meeting minutes (bound), 1987 October 18–1992 May 18


Financial reports
Membership listings
Box-folder 2:5

Financial reports and records, 1978 October 1–1988 April 17


Financial records for event: “Barrets of Wimpole Street”
Box-folder 2:6

Treasurer’s record book and notes, 1965 June 7-1970

Box-folder 2:7

Bank statements, cashed checks, etc., 1964 June 8–1982 February 14

Box-folder 2:8

Bank statements, cashed checks, etc., 1981 December 18–1987 December 31

Box-folder 2:9

Bank statements, cashed checks, etc., 1988 January 1–1989 December 29

Box-folder 3:1

Bank statements, cashed checks, etc., 1989 December 30–1992 June 30

Box-folder 3:2

Correspondence, 1961 February 15–1992 August 11 and undated


Correspondence regarding members dues, meetings, membership and reminders; administrative matters such as meeting location and bank account; and announcing closure of club.
Box-folder 3:3

Program booklets, 1950-1965

Box-folder 3:4

Program booklets, 1965-1992

Box-folder 3:5

Program notices, 1968 November–1983 March 31

Box-folder 3:6

Guest book, 1982 June 20–1991 November 17

Box-folder 3:7

Outreach and publicity, 1971 October 17–1988 May 7 and undated

Box-folder 3:8

Essay on Browning, undated

Scope and Content

Essay by club president Diana Neill regarding the effect of Browning’s life on his poetry.
Box-folder 3:9

Mrs. Oliver Willard Pierce, 1953 November 15–1955 March


Wooden plaque in honor of club founder and president emeritus, Mrs. Oliver Willard Pierce
Laminated news clipping