Among the correspondence bequeathed to Goucher by Alberta Burke are letters from book dealers and scholars, as well as invoices and receipts for her acquisitions. She did not usually keep copies or drafts of her own letters. An exception is this heavily revised draft of a letter that she wrote in 1948 to Percy Muir, one of her trusted dealers in England. Here, we can see her choosing carefully how to express herself on a subject very dear to her heart: her motives for collecting Austen. “I have never bought anything for my Jane Austen collection because it was ‘valuable’ or because I thought that someday it would be worth more than at the present. . . . The J.A. collection is the perpetual pleasure of my life. I have bought each thing because I felt I could not live without it, and because Jane Austen is ‘St. Jane’ in my private hagiology.”
For more about this letter and about Alberta Burke’s collecting, see Juliette Wells, “Alberta H. Burke, Austen Omnivore,” in Everybody’s Jane: Austen in the Popular Imagination (2011).