Happy Birthday, Jane Austen!

by Brenda S. Cox

Happy Jane Austen’s Birthday! 247 years and still going strong (at least through her books)!

Born Dec. 16, 1775, Jane was a month later than expected. Her father joked that he and his wife had become “bad reckoners” in their “old age”–he was 44 and Jane’s mother was 36. Jane was their seventh child, but only the second girl. The delivery went quickly and safely.

It was a very cold winter, so Jane was baptized privately at home the next day, and not presented in church (St. Nicholas’ at Steventon, where her father was rector) until April 5, 1776.

One rendition of the parsonage at Steventon, where Jane Austen was born. (It is no longer standing.)

Jane Austen Society groups around the world are celebrating today and tomorrow, so see what your local group is doing! Here are a couple of online events that look fun:

Jane Austen’s House, Chawton, Hampshire, England (virtual)

What is it about Jane? at the New York Public Library (virtual)

Also, a brand-new volume of Persuasions On-Line is now available, with great articles from this year’s AGM, and other delights! Easily accessed by everyone, thanks to JASNA’s generosity! You’ll find out about gender and the decorative arts, the education of daughters, information and privacy in S&S and P&P, “Kitty, a Fair but Frozen Maid” in Emma, costume design in Austen films, my own article:  “Faith Words in Sense and Sensibility: A Story of Selfishness and Self-Denial,” and many more fascinating topics. 

Happy Birthday, Jane!


PS My new book, Fashionable Goodness: Christianity in Jane Austen’s England is available on amazon and at Jane Austen Books, and could be a great birthday or Christmas present! 🙂


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