By SCOTT MERRITT/Correspondent | Photo courtesy of Hackney Library
A new and exciting arrival came to Hackney Library in the form of a letter signed and
written by Charles Dickens. The accomplished author is known for many great works such as A
Christmas Carol and A Tale of Two Cities . With such an accomplished repertoire behind him, it
is no wonder that Hackney Library was delighted with receiving such a letter.
Hackney Library obtained the letter through an online auction. A purchase that was made
possible through the donations of longtime Barton benefactor K.D. Kennedy Jr.
“Charles Dickens’ works are very well-known, and we hope a document in Dickens’ own
hand will spark an interest in our unique holdings,” Associate Professor and Library Dean Robert
The letter was placed in the K.D. Kennedy, Jr. Rare Book Room, which collects artifacts
of British and Scottish culture.
“Plus, not many people have had the opportunity to see his fancy signature, much less a
letter written by him. The manuscript is a direct connection to one of the great writers of
literature,” said Cagna
A Dickens scholar has reported the letter was written in 1851. As a member of Queen’s
University in Ireland, he was able to transcribe the letter as follows:
Dear Madame Celeste.
If you happen to have a box disengaged tonight, will you give it to me? I am
ashamed to ask you so suddenly, but we have a friend from the country to
amuse on an hour’s notice. If you have not a spare box, a verbal answer
by my servant, the bearer, will suffice.