Charlotte Brontë, author of “Jane Eyre,” died on this day in 1885. She was born in 1816 to the Reverend Patrick Brontë (formerly Brunty) and Maria Branwell. Maria died of cancer while her six children were still very young. Charlotte’s father sent her away to school, where conditions were so terrible that Charlotte’s two older sisters died of tuberculosis. Her experiences at this school later served as the inspiration for the fictional Lowood School in “Jane Eyre.” Charlotte’s remaining siblings died in quick succession not long after this, her most famous novel, was published. She reluctantly married the Reverend Arthur Bell Nicholls in 1854, and soon became pregnant. She died of pneumonia while pregnant, just thirty-nine years old.
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