Charlotte Brontë’s Rare Childhood Poetry Booklet Will Come Home After Selling for $1.25 Million
A small book of poetry written by English novelist Charlotte Brontë when she was just 13 has been donated to a museum in the childhood home she shared with her two sisters – who were also authors – after the booklet sold for $1.25 million last week.
The Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth, England, a village about 20 miles west of Leeds, announced on Monday that the booklet had been donated to the museum by Friends of National Libraries, a British non-profit organization that helps cultural institutions to acquire rare books, manuscripts and other literature.
The FLA bought the libretto for $1.25 million at the New York Antiquarian Book Fair last week after raising the price to seven figures in less than two weeks after the poetry book was announced for sale.
“A Book of Rhymes” is the last of more than two dozen miniature manuscript poetry books by older sister Brontë to remain in a private collection and contains ten previously unpublished poems in a 15-page booklet smaller than a playing card. .
The booklet had not been seen in public for over a century since it was sold at an auction in New York in 1916 for $520, around $13,000 today, until it went on sale last week at the New York Book Fair (the seller is anonymous, but was described as an American collector).
The Brontë Parsonage Museum has the largest collection of Brontë sisters’ manuscripts in the world, including nine of Charlotte’s miniature poetry books, and seven more on the way since the Blavatnik Honresfield Library’s $20 million sale last year, for which the FNL also helped raise funds.
“It’s always touching when an object belonging to the Brontë family is brought home, and this last little book returning to where it was written when it was thought lost is very special to us.” , said Ann Dinsdale, the Brontë Parsonage. The museum’s senior curator, in a statement.
Brontë was a novelist and poet who grew up in 19th century England in a literary family. Her father, Patrick Brontë, was a priest and author who eventually settled with his family in clergy quarters in Haworth, where the Brontë sisters wrote most of their work and which now houses the Brontë Parsonage Museum. The haunting moors of the surroundings influenced the sisters’ writing. Charlotte is best known for her second novel, Jane Eyre, which was published in 1847. His two younger sisters who survived infancy were also published authors. Emily’s Second Daughter Book The Wuthering Heights is a classic of English literature, while Anne’s youngest daughter The tenant of Wildfell Hall is considered by some scholars to be one of the earliest feminist novels ever published.
Manuscripts and memorabilia related to the life and work of the Brontë sisters are very popular at auction. In 2019, the Brontë Parsonage Museum paid $777,000 for another Charlotte miniature poetry libretto. In December, the FNL helped eight British cultural institutions jointly purchase the Blavatnik Honresfield Library’s $20 million collection, which includes rare Brontë manuscripts and works by other notable British authors like Jane Austen, Robert Burns and Sir Walter Scott.
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