J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Brief Glimpse of Jane Austen at the Bod, 1 March

On Thursday, and for that day only, the Bodleian Library at Oxford University will display two items related to author Jane Austen.

One is the portrait made public last year, said to show Austen as an adult. Its authenticity is under debate. For many decades the only Austen portrait accepted as authentic was a watercolor made by her sister when they were both teenagers.

The second item is a needlework sampler dated 1787, when Austen was eleven. (The Guardian reports the stitches are so worn it looks like it’s dated 1797.)

Both the sampler and the portrait are in private hands, so folks don’t get to see them often. They’re on display Thursday because that’s World Book Day.

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