I've dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas: they've gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the color of my mind.
Emily Bronte
Wuthering Heights

maandag 15 december 2014


Viola Case, a pioneer schoolteacher in Victoria, organized the Bronté Club, the oldest women's literary club in Texas, in 1855. The organization, originally named the Victoria Literary Club, was a literary society for the girls of her school, the Victoria Female Academy. The members collected eleven volumes of current literature, which were kept in a dry goods box under Mrs. Case's bed. On a certain day of each week the books were taken out and distributed to the girls. This embryonic lending library was the beginning of the Bronté Library, the predecessor of the Victoria Public Library. Until 1975, when it was placed under the management of the city and county of Victoria, the library was governed by the Library Committee of the Bronté Club.
During the 1860s the Bronté Club is said to have devoted more time to war relief than to literary study. The club was probably generally dormant until 1868, when the Sorosis Club was organized in New York City in protest against the all-male Press Club of New York City, which gave a banquet for the visiting Charles Dickens and invited no women. This event seems to have stirred up women's club spirit across the country. Though started as a school society, the Bronté Club was reorganized as a community club in 1873, became a school society again in 1878, and in 1880 was changed to a community club again. In 1880, because the literary club needed new members and wanted a more distinctive name, it accepted for the first time older girls and young married women and changed its name to Bronté Literary Club, in honor of Charlotte Brontë.
When the national movement for federation of women's clubs began, the Bronté Club sent a delegate, Mrs. A. B. Peticolas, wife of Alfred Brown Peticolas, to the first meeting of the Texas Federation of Women's Clubs, held in Tyler in 1898. The club's calendar for that year shows it as a member of this state organization, which joined the national General Federation of Women's Clubs in 1899. On May 9, 1884, the Bronté Club had authorized the Junior Bronté Literary Club, a new group that was reorganized as the Currer Bell Study Club, named after the pseudonym of Charlotte Brontë, on May 1, 1951.
The Bronté Club dropped "literary" from its title in its Year Book of 1901–02, although it continued to emphasize literature in its programs. The Year Book of 1905–06 stated that the club's objectives were to promote the "mental and social culture of its members," an "altruistic spirit," and philanthropic endeavors, as well as "the interests of State and Fifth District Federation." Due to its broadened purposes, the club offered a wide variety of programs through the years about subjects ranging from civics to philosophy. Among the Bronté Club's civic projects was the sponsorship of a lecture by Eleanor Roosevelt in December 1940, which a crowd of 2,500 attended. Mrs. Roosevelt subsequently wrote in her column "My Day" about her visit to Victoria and "one of the oldest women's clubs in the country." The club continued to contribute both funds and books to its original civic work, the Victoria Public Library. It was made an honorary member of the library, and an appointed club member serves on the library's advisory board. The Bronté Club celebrated its centennial on April 3, 1973.
Bronté Club Files, Victoria, Texas. Leopold Morris, Pictorial History of Victoria and Victoria County (San Antonio, 1953). Victoria Advocate, April 6, 8, 1923, December 5, 1940. Texas Federation of Women's Clubs Year Book, 1935. articles/BRONTE CLUB

Bronte Parsonage Museum
Interesting to learn that the Bronte Club in Victoria, Texas, is nearly 40 years older than the Bronte Society in Haworth, West Yorkshire!

1 opmerking:

  1. Fascinating history! I think the Bronte sisters would be proud

    The members collected eleven volumes of current literature, which were kept in a dry goods box under Mrs. Case's bed. On a certain day of each week the books were taken out and distributed to the girls.

    Sort of reminds me of the Bronte's hidden , under world..only in this case, the children were reading , not writing !


The Parlour

The Parlour



Charlotte Bronte

Presently the door opened, and in came a superannuated mastiff, followed by an old gentleman very like Miss Bronte, who shook hands with us, and then went to call his daughter. A long interval, during which we coaxed the old dog, and looked at a picture of Miss Bronte, by Richmond, the solitary ornament of the room, looking strangely out of place on the bare walls, and at the books on the little shelves, most of them evidently the gift of the authors since Miss Bronte's celebrity. Presently she came in, and welcomed us very kindly, and took me upstairs to take off my bonnet, and herself brought me water and towels. The uncarpeted stone stairs and floors, the old drawers propped on wood, were all scrupulously clean and neat. When we went into the parlour again, we began talking very comfortably, when the door opened and Mr. Bronte looked in; seeing his daughter there, I suppose he thought it was all right, and he retreated to his study on the opposite side of the passage; presently emerging again to bring W---- a country newspaper. This was his last appearance till we went. Miss Bronte spoke with the greatest warmth of Miss Martineau, and of the good she had gained from her. Well! we talked about various things; the character of the people, - about her solitude, etc., till she left the room to help about dinner, I suppose, for she did not return for an age. The old dog had vanished; a fat curly-haired dog honoured us with his company for some time, but finally manifested a wish to get out, so we were left alone. At last she returned, followed by the maid and dinner, which made us all more comfortable; and we had some very pleasant conversation, in the midst of which time passed quicker than we supposed, for at last W---- found that it was half-past three, and we had fourteen or fifteen miles before us. So we hurried off, having obtained from her a promise to pay us a visit in the spring... ------------------- "She cannot see well, and does little beside knitting. The way she weakened her eyesight was this: When she was sixteen or seventeen, she wanted much to draw; and she copied nimini-pimini copper-plate engravings out of annuals, ('stippling,' don't the artists call it?) every little point put in, till at the end of six months she had produced an exquisitely faithful copy of the engraving. She wanted to learn to express her ideas by drawing. After she had tried to draw stories, and not succeeded, she took the better mode of writing; but in so small a hand, that it is almost impossible to decipher what she wrote at this time.

I asked her whether she had ever taken opium, as the description given of its effects in Villette was so exactly like what I had experienced, - vivid and exaggerated presence of objects, of which the outlines were indistinct, or lost in golden mist, etc. She replied, that she had never, to her knowledge, taken a grain of it in any shape, but that she had followed the process she always adopted when she had to describe anything which had not fallen within her own experience; she had thought intently on it for many and many a night before falling to sleep, - wondering what it was like, or how it would be, - till at length, sometimes after the progress of her story had been arrested at this one point for weeks, she wakened up in the morning with all clear before her, as if she had in reality gone through the experience, and then could describe it, word for word, as it had happened. I cannot account for this psychologically; I only am sure that it was so, because she said it. ----------------------She thought much of her duty, and had loftier and clearer notions of it than most people, and held fast to them with more success. It was done, it seems to me, with much more difficulty than people have of stronger nerves, and better fortunes. All her life was but labour and pain; and she never threw down the burden for the sake of present pleasure. I don't know what use you can make of all I have said. I have written it with the strong desire to obtain appreciation for her. Yet, what does it matter? She herself appealed to the world's judgement for her use of some of the faculties she had, - not the best, - but still the only ones she could turn to strangers' benefit. They heartily, greedily enjoyed the fruits of her labours, and then found out she was much to be blamed for possessing such faculties. Why ask for a judgement on her from such a world?" elizabeth gaskell/charlotte bronte

Poem: No coward soul is mine

No coward soul is mine,
No trembler in the worlds storm-troubled sphere:
I see Heavens glories shine,
And faith shines equal, arming me from fear.

O God within my breast.
Almighty, ever-present Deity!
Life -- that in me has rest,
As I -- Undying Life -- have power in Thee!

Vain are the thousand creeds
That move mens hearts: unutterably vain;
Worthless as withered weeds,
Or idlest froth amid the boundless main,

To waken doubt in one
Holding so fast by Thine infinity;
So surely anchored on
The steadfast Rock of immortality.

With wide-embracing love
Thy Spirit animates eternal years,
Pervades and broods above,
Changes, sustains, dissolves, creates, and rears.

Though earth and man were gone,
And suns and universes ceased to be,
And Thou wert left alone,
Every existence would exist in Thee.

There is not room for Death,
Nor atom that his might could render void:
Thou -- Thou art Being and Breath,
And what Thou art may never be destroyed.

Emily Bronte

Family tree

The Bronte Family

Grandparents - paternal
Hugh Brunty was born 1755 and died circa 1808. He married Eleanor McClory, known as Alice in 1776.

Grandparents - maternal
Thomas Branwell (born 1746 died 5th April 1808) was married in 1768 to Anne Carne (baptised 27th April 1744 and died 19th December 1809).

Father was Patrick Bronte, the eldest of 10 children born to Hugh Brunty and Eleanor (Alice) McClory. He was born 17th March 1777 and died on 7th June 1861. Mother was Maria Branwell, who was born on 15th April 1783 and died on 15th September 1821.

Maria had a sister, Elizabeth who was known as Aunt Branwell. She was born in 1776 and died on 29th October 1842.

Patrick Bronte married Maria Branwell on 29th December 1812.

The Bronte Children
Patrick and Maria Bronte had six children.
The first child was Maria, who was born in 1814 and died on 6th June 1825.
The second daughter, Elizabeth was born on 8th February 1815 and died shortly after Maria on 15th June 1825. Charlotte was the third daughter, born on 21st April 1816.

Charlotte married Arthur Bell Nicholls (born 1818) on 29th June 1854. Charlotte died on 31st March 1855. Arthur lived until 2nd December 1906.

The first and only son born to Patrick and Maria was Patrick Branwell, who was born on 26th June 1817 and died on 24th September 1848.

Emily Jane, the fourth daughter was born on 30th July 1818 and died on 19th December 1848.

The sixth and last child was Anne, born on 17th January 1820 who died on 28th May 1849.

Top Withens in the snow.

Top Withens in the snow.



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