|First page from the Leiden library catalog
(collection of Leiden Regional Archive)
|Page from the catalog with the works of Currer Bell
The pictures are from a catalog of one of the 19th century ‘reading libraries’ (“leesbibliotheek”) in Leiden, my hometown. At some point then there were about a dozen or so at the same time, usually established by booksellers. People could borrow books, to read them at home. This 1850s catalog gives an idea of the popularity of the Brontës in The Netherlands. As the obviously fake Acton Currer Bell novel does especially. A novel under that name would sell. But it also shows the confusion in the early 1850s about the identity of Currer, Acton and Ellis Bell.