The Brontë Society, believed to be the earliest literary society in the English speaking world, was established in Bradford on December 16, 1893, at a Town Hall meeting attended by more than 50 people. Its reach is now global, with members in America and Australia.
The society is devoted to the legacy of the literary sisters, whose work includes Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre, and it also runs the Brontë Parsonage museum in Haworth, which attracts thousands of scholars and book lovers from across the world.
A series of events celebrating the 120th year will be launched in London on February 19.
The chairwoman of the Brontë Council, Sally McDonald, said: “Members of the Brontë Society are very proud to be celebrating their 120th anniversary this month and will be celebrating not only in Haworth but around the world.
“We see ourselves as having a unique role, being simultaneously a literary society and a charity that owns and runs a world-renowned museum – what an achievement, what a responsibility. From the start members have come together to promote interest in the lives and works of the Brontës but today activities are not limited to Haworth.”
She added: “The society is delighted that members in London, Northern Ireland, Europe, America, Canada and Australia each put together annual programmes of activities – the editor of our newsletter lives in New England and the editor of our academic journal is based in Calgary.”
The Brontë Society’s executive director, Ann Sumner, said: “We are delighted that the Society is flourishing and looking forward to a year of exciting activity to mark such a special anniversary.”