At a visit to the State Library of South Australia, with my local Jane Austen group, we were privileged to see some of their rare books not normally on view. Most prized of these was a three volume First Edition of ‘Emma’. After holding them and gazing at the pages in awe, we were intrigued by the question of how did the three volumes come to be in Adelaide? The Library knows that they belonged to Mary Teesdale-Smith and were donated to the Library after her death. Apparently the books sat on the shelves in her sunroom exposed to the sun streaming into the room for many years. Her family believe that the books were brought from England, by a member of the Teesdale-Smith family, but don’t have verification. Now the family and the Library staff are on the trail looking for more evidence to solve this puzzle.
Other ‘treasures’ we saw included an early diary and copy of ‘Cecilia’ by Fanny Burney, letters of Samuel Richardson, a 1799 Fourth edition of ‘The Mysteries of Udolpho’ by Ann Radcliffe, stories by Maria Edgeworth, and early letters and another fragment of a novel by Jane Austen.
To thank the Librarian Sara for giving up some of her personal time for us, we gave her a box of chocolates and a copy of my card game ‘Jane Austen’s Sweethearts’. It was decided to add the game to the library’s South Australiana collection where it can be available to researchers and interested Austen fans. Needless to say, I am absolutely thrilled that my game has been catalogued and is now part of their collection.