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Tiny Bronte book heads home to Yorkshire after New York sale

LONDON (AFP) – A miniature book of poems written by a 13-year-old Charlotte Bronte will return to her windswept Yorkshire home after it was bought for USD1.25 million by a British consortium, the buyers said recently.

Smaller than a playing card, the 15-page manuscript dated 1829 is a collection of 10 unpublished poems that was unveiled in New York last month after more than a century hidden away.

Titled A Book of Ryhmes (sic) by Charlotte Bronte, Sold by Nobody, and Printed by Herself, the volume is hand-stitched in its original brown paper covers.

Friends of the National Libraries, a British literary charity, confirmed it had raised the USD1.25 million, meaning that “inch for inch, (it) is possibly the most valuable literary manuscript ever to be sold”.

It will be donated to the Bronte Parsonage Museum in Haworth, Yorkshire, where the Jane Eyre novelist grew up with her siblings including young sisters Emily and Anne.

The museum’s Chief Curator Ann Dinsdale thanked all the British benefactors who came together to fund the purchase after the charity was offered first refusal by the anonymous sellers in New York.

“It is always emotional when an item belonging to the Bronte family is returned home,” she said in a statement.

“And this final little book coming back to the place it was written, when it had been thought lost, is very special for us.” The book had not been seen in public since November 1916, when it sold at auction in New York for USD520.

A miniature of the unpublished manuscript titled ‘A Book of Rhymes by Charlotte Bronte, Sold by Nobody, and Printed by Herself’ written by English novelist and poet Charlotte Bronte on display at the New York Antiquarian Book Fair in New York City on April 21. PHOTO: AFP