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

dinsdag 23 augustus 2016

Preparing Charlotte's 'Thackeray' dress for transit to New York

Bronte Parsonage Museum: We are really looking forward to the opening of the Celebrating Charlotte exhibition at The Morgan Library & Museum next month. Here is Sarah, our Curator, with Ann, our Principal Curator, preparing Charlotte's 'Thackeray' dress for transit to New York.

I wish Charlotte could have known this. Her dress to a museum in New York. And I wish I was curator of the Bronte Parsonage Museum and could touch all these wonderful memories of the Brontes.

Two manuscripts from the library’s ‘Ashley Collection’

From Nick Hollands weblog Anne Bronte:

Thanks to a letter from my publisher, The History Press, I was privileged to be allowed access to two manuscripts from the library’s ‘Ashley Collection’ – manuscripts that are normally kept securely locked away and out of bounds to the public, hand written documents by Emily Brontë herself.

The first lines in the book are:

‘If I might hear thy voice in the hall
But thou art now on a desolate sea
Thinking of Gondal, and grieving for me;
Longing to be in sweet Elbe again,
Thinking and grieving and longing in vain.’

Ashley Manuscripts

A17 — 5768
Collected by T. J. Wise (b 1859, d. 1937) and purchased from his executors after his death. Mainly 19th century literary manuscripts which have since been divided into Ashley MSS (complete manuscripts) and Ashley A and B series (individual items extracted from books into which they had been inserted by Wise).
T. J. Wise, The Ashley Library. A Catalogue of Printed Books, Manuscripts, and Autograph Letters collected by Thomas James Wise, 11 vols. (London, 1922—1936). Wise's own catalogue of his entire collection of manuscripts (except the B series) and books annotated by hand with Ashley MS numbers.


maandag 22 augustus 2016

Charlotte Brontë: An Independent Will, a new exhibition opening at the Morgan Library & Museum.



Charlotte Brontë: An Independent Will September 9, 2016 through January 2, 2017
New York, NY, August 17, 2016 — From the time Charlotte Brontë’s novel Jane Eyre was first published in 1847, readers have been drawn to the orphan protagonist who declared herself “a free human being with an independent will.” Like her famous fictional creation, Brontë herself took bold steps throughout her life to pursue personal and professional fulfillment. Charlotte Brontë: An Independent Will, a new exhibition opening at the Morgan Library & Museum on September 9, traces the writer’s life from imaginative teenager to reluctant governess to published poet and masterful novelist.
The exhibition celebrates the two-hundredth anniversary of Brontë’s birth in 1816, and marks an historic collaboration between the Morgan, which holds one of the world’s most important collections of Brontë manuscripts and letters, and the Brontë Parsonage Museum, in Haworth, England, which will lend a variety of key items including the author’s earliest surviving miniature manuscript, her portable writing desk and paintbox, and a blue floral dress she wore in the 1850s. The centerpiece of the exhibition is a portion of the original manuscript of Jane Eyre, on loan from the British Library and being shown in the U.S. for the first time, open to the page on which Jane asserts her “independent will.” Also shown for the first time in America will be the only two life portraits of Brontë, on loan from London’s National Portrait Gallery.

Read more: themorgan//BrontePressRelease

The Morgan Library

JP Morgan was famous for being a rich and powerful financier.  He arranged the merger of Edison General Electric and Thomson-Houston Electric Company to form General Electric.  He was a big player in the steel and rail road industries, negotiating with such players as Andrew Carnegie and Charles Schwab.   But, as many wealthy power men of the day, JP had other passions besides money.  For JP, it was the written word.  So much so that he built himself a private library to house his insanely large and valuable collection of rare books and ancient manuscripts.

The Morgan Library was completed in 1906 but it wasn’t until after JP’s death (1913, see photo below) that the library was opened to the public, around 1924.  The library still houses many rare books, music manuscripts and has a considerable collection of Victoriana, including one of the most important collections of Gilbert and Sullivan manuscripts and related artifacts but many of the more valuable pieces from his original collection now reside in major museums and other institutions.

One of the most interesting things about the library is its former librarian.  Morgan, a man who never allowed women employees to work at his bank, hired a twenty-something African American woman, Belle de Costa Greene.  Greene became Morgan’s trusted friend and a powerful woman in the world of rare books, manuscripts and art.  She enjoyed a colorful life moving between bohemia and the elite in NYC and beyond.  An enormous accomplishment for a young Victorian woman of color.  However, she was fair skinned, she presented herself as Portuguese and people seemed to look the other way.  You can visit the office where she worked in the North Room of the library.  She later became the first Director of the Morgan Library.
Read all: travelingmom/historical-hotspots-in-nyc-morgan-library-a-museum/

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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