These diary papers were discovered, still enclosed in the small box, by Charlotte's husband, the Reverend Arthur Bell Nicholls, in 1895 - many years after the entire Brontë family had died. He sent them to a Brontë biographer144 with a note which read:
'The four small scraps of Emily and Anne's MSS I found in the small box I send you. They are sad reading, poor girls!'mick-armitage/anne/diaries
Mr Brontë had died in 1861, at which point the Parsonage contents had been sold off and moved out. Many items had gone with Charlotte's husband Arthur Bell Nicholls to his new home in Ireland; others had been given to friends and servants as keepsakes. The sisters' manuscripts, letters and personal belongings began to appear in salerooms, and many fetched high prices on the American market.
- Arthur Bell Nicholls had taken part of the collection to Ireland with him when the Brontë household was broken up in 1861 and he had guarded it, selling nothing for over thirty years.
- After Mr. Brontë’s death Mr. Nicholls removed it to Ireland. Being of opinion that the only accurate portrait was that of Emily, he cut this out and destroyed the remainder. The portrait of Emily was given to Martha Brown, the servant, on one of her visits to Mr. Nicholls, and I have not been able to trace it. There are two portraits of Branwell in existence, both of them in the possession of Mr. Nicholls. One of them is a medallion by his friend Leyland, the other the silhouette which accompanies this chapter. They both suggest, mainly on account of the clothing, a man of more mature years than Branwell actually attained to. gutenberg
- Over the years that followed, most of the Brontës’ early poems and stories were first published (under Shorter’s assumed copyright) by either Shorter or Wise, but none of the manuscripts ever saw the inside of the South Kensington Museum. Wise vandalized Nicholls’ collection and sold it, scattering it across the globe. kleurrijkbrontesisters/what-happened-after-death-of-charlotte