Happy Birthday Jane Austen! Today 239 years ago, the Reverend and Mrs. Austen welcomed their seventh child and second daughter into the world.

We found a quote from the treasured author’s Juvenilia describing the birthday celebrations of a Mr. Johnson:

‘Mr. Johnson was once upon a time about 53; in, a twelve-month afterwards he was 54, which so much delighted him that he was determined to celebrate his next Birth day by giving a Masquerade to his Children and Friends. Accordingly on the Day he attained his 55th year tickets were dispatched to all his Neighbours to that purpose.’ (‘Jack and Alice, a novel’ Juvenilia 13)



We would also like to wish another woman well worth remembering and celebrating a Happy Birthday: Elizabeth Carter, translator, poetess, essayist and correspondent, this formidable bluestocking was born today 297 years ago. Her friend Samuel Johnson described her as “My old friend, Mrs. Carter, could make a pudding as well as translate Epictetus from the Greek, and work a handkerchief as well as compose a poem.”




emily birthday

Last but not least, we have yet another birthday to celebrate today, that of our very own Business and Administration Apprentice, Emily Roynane. Emily joined us in November for a yearlong apprenticeship through which she will gain the workplace skills and experience invaluable for seeking a permanent job. The placement means that Chawton House Library is able to welcome new talent and Emily can learn whilst in a real job, achieving a qualification respected by employers around the world. The birthday girl said: “I am really excited to have joined the team at Chawton House Library. The job market nowadays can be quite challenging and this is a brilliant opportunity for me to gain the experience I need to kick-start my career.”



We hope you will join us in wishing Jane, Elizabeth and Emily the happiest of birthdays. Although most of us are not able to hold a masquerade to celebrate this joyous event, we advise all our followers and friends to have a piece of cake (or a glass of wine, if you prefer) to celebrate these birthdays. But be warned! Do not end your celebration in the same style as the Johnson family by ‘a bottle being pretty briskly pushed around

[…], the whole party not excepting even Virtue were carried home, Dead Drunk’ (‘Jack and Alice, a Novel’).