Literary Figure. Born the first daughter and fifth child of Cassandra Leigh and the Rev. George Austen at Steventon, Hampshire, England. Her only sister, Jane, was born some three years later and the two remained exceptionally close throughout their lives. Between 1785 and 1786 the sisters attended the Reading Ladies Boarding School. In 1791, she produced a series of illustrations to accompany Jane's manuscript, "The History of England." In 1794, she became engaged to Thomas Fowle. He died from yellow fever while on assignment with the Royal Navy in the West Indies in 1797. She would never marry. After the death of her father in 1805, she, her sister, and their mother moved to Southampton where they lived with their brother Frank for several years, before moving to a cottage on their brother Edward's property. She is credited with two portraits of her sister, one dated 1804, and the second, and more famous, was created about 1810 which can now be seen at the National Portrait Gallery in London. Jane died in her arms in 1817 and although over one hundred letters addressed to Cassandra from Jane have survived, which have helped to illustrate details in Jane Austen's life, Cassandra reportedly destroyed many more of their letters, most dated after 1795, even as she made it her duty to ensure that the last of her sister's novels were published. She arranged for the printing of both "Persuasion" and "Northanger Abbey." Though she lived alone for the rest of her life, she made sure that her many nieces and nephews learned about their Aunt Jane. She died at 72 and was buried at St Nicolas churchyard in Chawton, Hampshire beside her mother.
Bio by: Iola