Page last updated at 23:03 GMT, Thursday, 8 April 2010 00:03 UK

Kipling first edition with author's poignant note found

Jungle Book first edition
The first edition is on show to the public

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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