In our effort to get the word out to as many people as possible, we have formed the Godmersham Lost Sheep Society (GLOSS), a research group of scholars, bibliophiles, and interested people – we seek to locate the rest of the scattered volumes, whether they be in institutional libraries, private collections, or with booksellers and auction houses.
In addition to the books in the present-day Knight Collection, some fifty items listed in the 1818 Catalogue are now in libraries and museums. Jane Austen’s House Museum holds the Godmersham Park copies of Jane Austen’s six published novels, while the Godmersham Park Heritage Centre has Mary Hays’s six-volume Female Biography. The GLOSS group has continued to locate more missing titles: One library in Canada (McGill University), one in England (the British Library) one in Australia (the University of Melbourne), and at least nine libraries in the United States own one or more ex-Godmersham books. The Harry Ransom Center in Texas has four books in its collection, while Stanford University Library has three.
Other works have been sold in recent years by booksellers and auction houses or are currently (in 2018) on offer: the most important such item is a two-volume edition of poems by William Cowper, one of Austen’s favourite poets. Several individuals have generously bought ex-Godmersham titles and presented them to Chawton House Library, where they have rejoined the volumes in the Knight Collection.
How you can help us GLOSSers: Do you have a book on your shelf with a Knight bookplate or, perhaps you live near a public, academic, or museum library: search your library catalogue for the bookplates or “Montagu Knight” in the provenance section for the catalogue record, or contact your librarian for aid. If you do find a book, add it to our shelves: take photographs of the spine, bookplate page, title page, and pages with marginalia. And, if you are interested in selling or donating the book to Chawton’s permanent collection, or contributing financially so we can purchase books as they become available, please contact us via this blog for more information.
[For a full list of contributing institutions and individuals, this far, please visit the Reading with Austen website here: http://www.readingwithausten.com/about.html#about_special-thanks]