Posted on December 16, 2021 at 12:00 PM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

What excellent news to share on Jane Austen’s birthday: a charity has raised enough money to purchase a literary collection, including Austen memorabilia, and keep it accessible to the public.

The BBC reports that the Friends of National Libraries raised over £15 million (almost $20 million) to acquire the collection known as the Honresfield Library.

Among the items in this collection: handwritten manuscript of Emily Brontë’s poems, with pencil edits by Charlotte Brontë; a first edition of Wuthering Heights; letters from Austen to her sister Cassandra; and an assortment of papers belonging to poet Robert Burns.

The Honresfield Library had been set to go to public auction, but the Friends of National Libraries successfully pleaded for a delay in that so that it could raise money to bid.

Friends of National Libraries comprises the British Library, the National Library of Scotland, the Bodleian Libraries at Oxford, the Brotherton Library at the University of Leeds, and house museums dedicated to Austen, Walter Scott, Burns, and the Brontës. 

The group promises that the Honresfield items will remain permanently in the public domain and always accessible to the British public. 

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Categories: Today in Books

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