frontispiece from 1898 Boston edition of Mansfield Park

Frontispiece from an 1898 Boston edition of Mansfield Park.

Surely we can’t let the 240th anniversary of Jane Austen’s  birth pass by without at least  a moment of recognition.  Some of the treasures housed in the Rare Books and Manuscripts collection are first editions of Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey, and Emma, all happily acquired within the last decade.

Although these first editions did not contain any illustrations, like the charming image on the right from a late nineteenth-century American edition, they are pristine examples of the multi-volume novels published during Austen’s lifetime.  In just a week we celebrate another milestone  –  200 years since the release of Emma.

Emma - first edition

Emma, 1815