Almost every day as I drag myself out of bed (I am not a morning person), I wish that I could spend the day curled up with a book and a lovely cup of coffee. Today, however, I am recommending that we all take at least a few moments, select our favorite Jane Austen novel (everyone should have at least one!!!), and drink a cup of tea to celebrate and remember this extraordinary woman who is still so very much alive 200 years after her death on July 18, 1817.
From films, tv shows, to new novels based on or inspired by her originals, the lovely Jane is very much present in our world. You can join a society and you don’t even have to live in the UK to do so … the Jane Austen Society of North America even has an Eastern Pennsylvania Region chapter.
Here is a watercolor portrait, presumably of Jane Austen … we don’t know who painted it or when, but it was found in Volume I of a three-volume edition of Emma (London: J. Murray, 1816), held by the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. (call number: PR4034.E5 1816). The watercolor can be found in box 1, folder 35 in our Miscellaneous Manuscripts collection.