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Two autograph letters written by Jane Austen to her sister Cassandra Austen


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Two autograph letters written by the novelist Jane Austen to her sister Cassandra Austen, dated 14-15 Jan 1796 and 15-16 Sep 1813.


  • Creation: 1796-1813


1 box

Language of Materials

  • English

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Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MS. 21838, fols. 1-2].

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Full range of shelfmarks:

MS. 21838

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 21838


Two autograph letters written by Jane Austen to her sister Cassandra Austen, 1796 and 1813.

Biographical / Historical

For a full biography of Jane Austen, see entry for Austen, Jane (1775-1817), novelist, in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

Custodial History

The two letters were bequeathed by Cassandra Elizabeth Austen (1773-1845) to her niece Fanny Knight, Lady Knatchbull (1793-1882) and were inherited in turn by Fanny's son, Edward Hugessen Knatchbull-Hugessen, Lord Brabourne (1829–1893). The letters were probably sold in the Puttick & Simpson sale of 26–28 Jun 1893. By 1931, the letters were in the collection of Sir Alfred Joseph Law (1860-1939), nephew of William Law of Honresfield, Lancashire (1836-1901). Sir Alfred died (unmarried) in 1939 and his estate was bequeathed to his cousin Emma Dixon and her descendants. The two letters were included in the Sotheby's sale of the Honresfield Library which was announced in May 2021.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

These letters are owned jointly by the Bodleian Libraries and Jane Austen's House. They were given from the Blavatnik Honresfield Library by the Friends of the National Libraries, 2022.

Existence and Location of Copies

Digital surrogate available in Digital Bodleian.

Separated Materials

The Blavatnik Honresfield Library collection was donated by the Friends of the National Libraries to relevant English and Scottish institutions. Other manuscripts were donated to The Brotherton Library (University of Leeds), The British Library, The Brontë Parsonage Museum, Abbotsford: The Home of Walter Scott, The National Library of Scotland and The Robert Burns Birthplace Museum (National Trust for Scotland). Printed books from the collection were dispersed more widely to libraries across the UK.


  • Deirdre Le Faye (ed.), Jane Austen's Letters (Oxford University Press, 4th edition, 2011).
Catalogue of two autograph letters written by Jane Austen to her sister Cassandra Austen, 1796-1813
Rachael Marsay and Andrew Honey
Language of description
Script of description
Catalogued with the generous support of the Roy Davids bequest
Edition statement
First edition

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom