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UK libraries and museums unite to save ‘astonishing’ lost library from private buyers

The Guardian: “From the British Library to the Brontë Parsonage Museum, a consortium of libraries and museums have come together in an “unprecedented” effort to raise £15m and save an “astonishingly important” set of literary manuscripts for the nation. The plans were formed after the announcement last month that the “lost” Honresfield library was to be put up for auction at Sotheby’s this summer. Almost entirely inaccessible since 1939, the library was put together by Victorian industrialists William and Alfred Law at the turn of the 20th century, and is a literary treasure trove that had experts dancing with excitement – and warning that action needed to be taken to prevent it being sold piecemeal to private collectors. The initiative to prevent the “priceless” manuscripts by authors including the Brontë sisters, Jane Austen, Walter Scott and Robert Burns from falling into private hands is being led by the charity Friends of the National Libraries (FNL). It includes institutions such as the Bodleian, the British Library and the National Library of Scotland; and smaller organisations such as Abbotsford, the home of Walter Scott in Melrose; Jane Austen’s House in Chawton; the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth; and the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway…”

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