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- Brontë Society acquires envelope addressed by Charlotte Brontë

Envelope to Ellen Nussey acquired by auction
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The Brontë Society has acquired an envelope addressed by Charlotte Brontë at a private auction in Wiltshire.
The envelope, post-marked 30 January 1849, is addressed to Ellen Nussey, Charlotte’s life-long friend.  Charlotte’s sister Emily died the previous month and the envelope has a black border and the remains of a black seal.   Anne Brontë had recently been diagnosed with TB and it appears that Ellen has written a pencilled note on the envelope, stating that the contents discussed Anne’s condition.

Charlotte and Ellen met each other at Roe Head School near Mirfield in 1831 and wrote to each other regularly until Charlotte’s death in 1855.  
Ann Dinsdale, Principal Curator at the Brontë Society said: ‘The envelope is significant because it attests to the lifelong friendship which existed between Charlotte Brontë and Ellen Nussey.  The two women lived almost 20 miles apart and visits were often difficult to arrange due to the lack of available transport or family obligations, so letters became the primary means of keeping in touch. Charlotte’s correspondence with Ellen was a huge support to her through the terrible loss of her brother and her two much-loved sisters over a nine month period.’

Ms Dinsdale continued: “Although the Brontë Society has a significant number of Charlotte’s letters, the collection does not include one which corresponds with this particular envelope, so we now know that there was a letter which is now missing, or that the date assigned to an existing letter is incorrect.”

The envelope was discovered in the attic of a collector in the United States.  A second envelope auctioned at the same time by Henry Aldridge and Son in Devizes was purchased by an unknown bidder from the south of England. 

The item will go on display next year at the Brontë Parsonage Musuem in Haworth, which houses the world’s largest collection of Brontë papers and personal possessions. 
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