Last week we reported that a rare manuscript by Charlotte Brontë was going up for auction. Yesterday, the results of that auction were announced, with the Brontë Society succeeding in its quest to bring the manuscript home to its museum. In addition to auction costs, the Society paid €600,000 to acquire the work.
The manuscript is the fifth and final volume of Brontë’s “little books” now owned by the museum, called “The Young Men’s Magazines” and consisting of a series of original stories and content no larger than a matchbox. (A sixth “little book” once existed alongside the remaining five, but was lost in the 1930s.) Brontë created the tiny digests as a teenager to be “read” by the Brontë’ family’s toy soldiers.
The Brontë Society had previously bid on the booklet in 2011, only to have the manuscript end up in a private collection. To ensure a different outcome at yesterday’s auction, the Society applied to grants, appealed to public fundraising, and called on famous Brontë fans like Dame Judi Dench to help spread the word about the museum’s quest to own the last booklet. The society reportedly received more than £85,000 in donations from the public.
The final booklet will join its siblings on public display at the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Howarth.