Chawton House Library

Moving the Collection

The Collection has grown steadily in recent years and is still growing. Currently housed in Redmond, Washington, in the care of Katherine Moulton, Librarian, the Collection comprises several literary manuscripts and over 8,000 printed books, published between 1600 and 1830.


The Collection is particularly strong in fiction by women from around 1740, an area which attracts considerable international scholarly interest. As the major eighteenth century libraries tended not to collect women’s fiction, some of the books in the Collection are very rare, even unique copies.

Authors represented include well known figures such as Jane Austen, Francis (‘Fanny’) Burney, Maria Edgeworth, Sarah Fielding, Eliza Haywood, Lady Caroline Lamb, Mary Lamb, Charlotte Lennox, Hannah More, Ann Radcliffe, Mary Shelley, Mary Martha Sherwood, Frances Sheridan, Charlotte Smith, and Mary Wollstonecraft, as well as many more obscure writers, such as Laetitia Matilda Hawkins, Susannah Maria Cooper, and Elizabeth Byron.

Over 400 works in the Collection are anonymous, offering the tempting challenge of determining unknown identities and authorship.


The plan is to move the Collection from Redmond to Chawton early in 2003, once the fitting-out of the stacks is completed, and to prepare the Collection and library computer system for the opening in the summer of that year.

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