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First-edition Jane Austen novels added to WSU Libraries’ collection

First-edition novels by Jane Austen are now part of WSU Libraries’ Manuscripts, Archives and Special Collections, thanks to a bequest by late WSU alumna Lorraine (Kure) Hanaway. Photo by Bob Hubner, WSU Photo Services.

Washington State University’s Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections has acquired first editions of the Jane Austen novels “Emma,” “Mansfield Park,” “Northanger Abbey,” and “Persuasion,” thanks to the bequest of WSU alumna Lorraine (Kure) Hanaway, Class of 1949.

“Jane Austen is one of the most loved authors in all of literature. The WSU Libraries had no first editions of her work until now,” said Trevor Bond, associate dean for digital initiatives and special collections. “The books are gorgeous and will support our work to collaborate with WSU faculty to introduce primary sources into classes and research.

Hanaway was an outstanding student and involved in numerous honor societies on campus, Bond added. She served as the editor of the “Evergreen” and in 1948, interviewed the singer and actor Burl Ives when he visited campus.

“I am honored that she would think to leave these books that she cherished to her alma mater,” said Bond.

“Emma,” “Northanger Abbey” and “Persuasion” are largely in their original state, Bond said, with contemporary bindings, bookplates from former owners, and inscriptions. “Emma” and “Mansfield Park” are each published in three volumes, also called “triple deckers.”

“These triple-decker novels were all the rage in Victorian England,” he said. “They were expensive for individuals to buy, but many could join a subscription library, paying a small fee to borrow books. Publishing the novels in three volumes allowed more readers to borrow individual volumes and quickly return them.”

Southcentral Washington roots and the WSC years

According to her obituary, Lorraine (Kure) Hanaway was born March 9, 1927, in The Dalles, Oregon, but was raised in Wapato, Washington, on the family’s dairy and fruit farm, where she worked in the early mornings before school and dreamed of moving to New York and becoming a journalist.

WSU associate dean Trevor Bond leafs through one of the first-edition Jane Austen novels
WSU associate dean Trevor Bond leafs through one of the first-edition Jane Austen novels donated by late WSU alumna Lorraine (Kure) Hanaway. Photo by Bob Hubner, WSU Photo Services.

Research by WSU university archivist Mark O’English shows that Hanaway attended Wapato High School, graduating fourth in a class of 75 in 1945. She came to Washington State College that fall with her older sister, Joann, Home Economics ’47, majoring in journalism.

Hanaway made the honor roll twice, but her university involvement truly stood out. Among her many activities, she served as managing editor for the alumni magazine “Powwow” and was appointed to the Student-Faculty Committee on Fraternity Welfare by WSC President Wilson Compton. She was also elected president of Theta Sigma Phi, the women’s journalism honorary society and selected to be part of “The Big Ten,” the Student-Faculty Committee’s honor for best WSC seniors.

“She was one of those very active students,” O’English said. “A March 17, 1947, somewhat-sexist commentary in the student newspaper on the ideal campus woman noted that she would have the personality of Lorraine Kure.”

A champion of Jane Austen

An old photograph shows Lorraine Kure
A photo of Lorraine Kure taken in 1949 when she was editor of the Daily Evergreen.

Hanaway sought to build a community of individuals who shared her love of the novels and the world of Jane Austen. She was instrumental in the founding of the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA) in 1979. Over the next 40-plus years, Hanaway was active in the organization as head of membership as well as president and co-founder of the Eastern Pennsylvania Region chapter, also serving as its first regional coordinator.

To honor her legacy, after Hanaway’s death in late August at the age of 93, the JASNA Eastern Pennsylvania Region chapter created the Lorraine Hanaway Speaker Endowment to annually sponsor a distinguished speaker to help further Jane Austen awareness and enjoyment.

“Lorraine Hanaway’s love of Jane Austen has left an indelible mark on modern appreciation of Regency literature and life,” said Christopher Duda, chapter regional coordinator. “For nearly half a century, Lorraine Hanaway was one of the leading ambassadors, championing and raising awareness of Jane Austen’s timeless wit, wisdom, and far-too-few published novels. Personally, I will always remember her as one of the kindest souls I have ever met. She will be greatly missed.”

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