THE BRONTE Parsonage Museum is bidding to bring home the last of Charlotte Brontë’s ‘little books’.

The miniature magazine, handwritten by Charlotte when she was 14, will complete a set of five that were written when she lived in the Parsonage and are still in existence.

Literature lovers are being urged to help raise cash to ensure the Bronte Society can outbid rivals when the book is auctioned in Paris on November 18.

When the book last came up for auction, at Sotheby's in 2011, the society was outbid by an investment scheme that no longer operates.

It is estimated that the price this time will reach £650,000 before it finally goes under the hammer.

The society describes the remaining ‘little book’, written in 1830, as an extremely rare, immensely significant piece of history.

Before coming to light in 2011, the tiny manuscript, which features three intricately hand-written stories, had been in private ownership since it left Haworth following the deaths of the Brontes. 

‘The Young Men’s Magazine’ was a series of six tiny booklets, of which five are known to survive.

Produced by Charlotte Brontë at home at the parsonage in Haworth, they document an imaginary world created by the family.

The item up for auction is the fifth in the sequence, and as the Bronte Parsonage Museum already holds the other four, the acquisition of this exceptional unpublished work would complete a world class collection.

The inspirational and rarely seen book is also of immense scholarly interest, clearly showing Charlotte’s development as a writer and revealing early themes that carry over into her published work, including Jane Eyre. 

Kitty Wright, Executive Director of the Bronte Society, said: “This extraordinary manuscript slipped through our fingers in 2011 so we are especially determined to make the most of this second opportunity to bring it home to Haworth. 

"It is expected to sell for at least £650,000 and we’ve been working hard for many months applying to trusts and foundations. 

"This is the final and public phase of our campaign and we urge lovers of literature everywhere to support us now, so that we can go to the auction with a competitive bid and prevent the little book from disappearing into a private collection.”

The book, which measures no more than 35mm x 61mm, consists of 20 pages and comprises three stories, ‘A letter from Lord Charles Wellesley’, ‘The Midnight Song’ and ‘Journal of a Frenchman [continued]’.

It has a brown paper cover and contains more than 4,000 delicately hand-written words in a meticulously folded and stitched magazine. 

This particular little book describes a murderer driven to madness after being haunted by his victims, and how ‘an immense fire’ burning in his head causes his bed curtains to set alight, a clear precursor of a famous scene between Bertha and Edward Rochester in Jane Eyre, which Charlotte would publish 17 years later.

Ann Dinsdale, Principal Curator at the Brontë Parsonage Museum, said: “These little books are enormously important to both visitors and scholars. 

"The four that we are fortunate enough to own are some of our most popular exhibits and to see this volume of The Young Men’s Magazine reunited with the others in our collection would be wonderful. 

"If we are successful, it would be one of the most important things to happen in the 30 years I’ve worked at the parsonage; a real highlight.”

Dame Judi Dench, President of the Bronte Society, said she had long been fascinated by the little books created by the Brontes when they were children. 

She added: "These tiny manuscripts are like a magical doorway into the imaginary worlds they inhabited and also hint at their ambition to become published authors. 

"It’s very moving to think of 14 year-old Charlotte creating this particular little book at home in Haworth Parsonage and I hope that everyone will help the Brontë Society to bring it back to Yorkshire where it belongs.”

To lend support to the campaign to bring The Young Men’s Magazine home to Haworth, people should call on 01535 642323 or visit bronte

The Bronte Society is one of the oldest literary societies in the English speaking world and was founded in Bradford in 1893.  The society is a registered charity and an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation.  Its vision is ‘to bring the Brontes to the world and the world to Yorkshire’.

The Bronte Parsonage Museum was the home of the Bronte family from 1820 to 1861 and was gifted to the Bronte Society in 1928. 

The museum houses the world’s largest collection of artefacts and documents associated with the Bronte family and their work, and continues to inspire scholars, writers and artists.