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- Honresfield Library saved for the nation

Rare Brontë manuscripts to return to Haworth
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Friends of the National Libraries (FNL) and a consortium of libraries and writers’ houses including the Brontë Parsonage Museum have just announced that the campaign to save these literary treasures for the nation has been successful.
In an unprecedented rescue of the UK’s literary heritage, FNL has successfully raised over £15 million to acquire the Honresfield Library - now known as the Blavatnik Honresfield Library - for the nation. The collection includes manuscripts by the Brontës, Jane Austen, Robert Burns and Sir Walter Scott and FNL will donate every manuscript and printed book to libraries and writers’ houses across the UK so that they are accessible to everyone.
Ann Dinsdale, Principal Curator at the Brontë Parsonage Museum said, “The acquisition of the Blavatnik Honresfield Library is a significant moment in our nation’s cultural history.  The Brontë Society is immensely proud to have played a part and is very grateful to FNL, our consortium partners and our very generous donors.  To display these literary treasures in the place they were written will be a privilege and the undoubted highlight of my thirty-two years at the Brontë Parsonage Museum.”

Rebecca Yorke, Interim Director of the Brontë Society said, “It has been an honour to be part of the consortium to save these significant items.  We have strengthened existing relationships with both the British Library and the Brotherton Library, University of Leeds and formed new partnerships with other museums and libraries. By working together we have ensured that these literary treasures will be accessible to all for years to come. It is a historic moment for us all.”
Here in Yorkshire we will welcome home an astonishing set of manuscripts and printed books by the Brontës as they have been entrusted to us alongside the British Library and the Brotherton Library, University of Leeds in a new partnership that will make the works accessible to audiences across the UK.
Following a successful fundraising campaign led by Friends of the National Libraries (FNL), the collection coming home to the Brontë Parsonage Museum, which has been in private hands since 1939 and largely unexamined by scholars, includes:

The final little book to complete the second series of the Young Men’s Magazine. This little book, written by Charlotte in 1830, will now join the other five issues which are currently held at the Parsonage. The Blavatnik Honresfield Library includes a further six miniature manuscripts, all crammed with Charlotte’s tiny writing, which will be owned jointly by the Brontë Parsonage Museum, the British Library and the Brotherton Library.

Diary papers written by Emily and Anne Brontë in 1841. Emily’s paper is illustrated with two tiny ink sketches, one showing herself writing in the Parsonage dining room, the other possibly depicting Anne, standing at the window of her employer’s holiday residence in Scarborough.

Ten poetry manuscripts by Anne.

A collection of seventeen important letters by Charlotte to Ellen Nussey, recounting the final years of Branwell’s life and the illnesses and deaths of her sisters.

The Brontës’ much-used, heavily annotated copy of Thomas Bewick’s A History of British Birds, will also return to the Parsonage, where it can be displayed alongside the Brontë siblings’ copies of the miniature wood engravings produced by Bewick.

A collection of brightly coloured shawls, ribbons and fragments of dresses stored in a box marked ‘worn by the Brontë sisters’.

A letter from Charlotte to Martha Brown, discussing the re-roofing of the Parsonage

Books inscribed by the sisters.

A bundle of publications by Patrick Brontë, which had all been treasured by Martha.
The Brontë Parsonage Museum, FNL, and its other consortium members are profoundly grateful to our lead donor Sir Leonard Blavatnik who has, with exceptional munificence, match-funded the sum raised by FNL and the consortium institutions, donating half the purchase price. It is an extraordinary donation, the largest ever given to the UK by an individual for a literary treasure, safeguarding for the nation the most significant collection of manuscripts and books at risk of dispersal for many decades.
In recognition of his great generosity the collection will now be known the Blavatnik Honresfield Library.
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