Humanities: Harvard Library Shares Digital Files of Nine of Rare Childhood Brontë Manuscripts Online
From the Harvard Gazette:
The tiny, hand-lettered, hand-bound books Charlotte and Branwell Brontë made as children surely qualify. Measuring about 2.5 by 5 centimeters, page after mini-page brims with poems, stories, songs, illustrations, maps, building plans, and dialogue. The books, lettered in minuscule, even script, tell of the “Glass Town Confederacy,” a fictional world the siblings created for and around Branwell’s toy soldiers, which were both the protagonists of and audience for the little books.
In 1829 and 1830, Charlotte and Branwell cobbled the pages together from printed waste and scrap paper, perhaps cut from margins of discarded pamphlets. They wrote with steel-nibbed pens, which tend to blot, yet the even script demonstrates their practiced hand.
Only about 20 volumes of Brontë juvenilia are known to remain. Harvard holds nine, the Brontë Museum at the family home in England owns a few, and the remaining are scattered among museums and private collectors.
Until recently, juvenilia — works produced by an author or artist while still young — were viewed as oddities by scholars and collectors. Today they are understood to provide valuable and rare insight into an author’s development.
Read the Complete Article
Nine Brontë volumes held by Harvard. This guide
includes links to full text of each volume.
Direct to Specific Titles
By Charlotte Brontë:
- Scenes on the great bridge, November 1829
- The silver cup: a tale, October 1829
- Blackwoods young mens magazine, August 1829
- The poetaster: a drama in two volumes, July 1830
- The adventures of Mon. Edouard de Crack, February 1830
By Patrick Branwell Brontë:
- Branwells Blackwoods magazine, June 1829
- Magazine, January 1829
- Branwells Blackwoods magazine, July 1829
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Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com. Gary is also the co-founder of infoDJ an innovation research consultancy supporting corporate product and business model teams with just-in-time fact and insight finding.