Posted on: 29 April 2014

Kipling first edition with author's poignant note found
BBC News

A rare first edition of The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling, with a poignant handwritten note by the author to his young daughter, has been discovered.

The book was found by librarians at the National Trust's Wimpole Hall in Cambridgeshire, where Kipling's eldest daughter, Elsie, lived.

The author wrote the inscription to his daughter Josephine, who died in 1899 aged six, said Trust officials.

The book is on display at Wimpole Hall, where Elsie lived from 1938 to 1976.

The inscription reads: "This book belongs to Josephine Kipling for whom it was written by her father, May 1894."

Kipling collection
Kipling did not sign the inscription, but based on many other items in the Kipling archive, the handwriting is believed to be his.

It came to light following a three-year project to catalogue the Hall's extensive library.

Mark Purcell, the Trust's libraries curator, said it was a "very special" book.

"There are nearly 10,000 books in the Wimpole library and this has been a big project to catalogue them all properly, but as one of the nation's favourite children's books of all time, this first edition of the Jungle Book with its rare inscription is very special."

Wimpole Hall curator Fiona Hall added: "This inscription is very touching, especially when you consider that Kipling lost not only Josephine, but also his youngest child, John, who died in the Great War.

"As Kipling's only remaining child, Elsie would have really treasured this book."


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Awesome! :)

"Kipling is a jingo imperialist," declared Orwell. "He is morally insensitive and aesthetically disgusting" (yet at the same time he was also "a shameful pleasure"). A sensitive study of Kipling's Bombay childhood and lifelong interest in India, Kipling Sahib presents the author in a much more forgiving light. This isn't Kipling the Little Englander, this is young "Ruddy", the "little friend of all the world", and Charles Allen is especially fond of an anecdote in which the four-year-old Kipling grabbed the hand of an Indian peasant, saying to his family: "Goodbye, this is my brother." It's the story of how Ruddy transformed himself into Rudyard Kipling, the most celebrated writer of the 1890s. But fame proved scant consolation for the loss of his six-year-old daughter Josephine from whooping cough, and after the triumph of Kim (1900) - the result of his desire to write the great Indian novel - Kipling's powers waned, and he died in 1936, his reputation all but eclipsed. "India," says Allen, "had been the paradise garden of his childhood, his land of lost delight."

Also lost a son in WWI, never found, I believe.