Dracula, one of the most famous literary characters ever created, first appeared in an 1897 novel written by an Irish theatre manager, Bram Stoker. Dracula was a popular, sensational “pot-boiler” that at first attracted only modest critical attention, but became enormously popular when performed on stage and later in film. The Rosenbach preserves Stoker’s outlines and research notes for the novel. There is currently an assortment of these materials on display in the Library–here a teaser that you can sink your teeth into…

Bram Stoker (1847-1912), Dracula: research notes, EL3 f.S874d MS p. 46

Three chapters of Dracula are set in Whitby, a small seaside town where Stoker vacationed in 1890. The Count would arrive in England via Whitby and would first meet Lucy there. The town is overlooked by the ruins of Whitby Abbey (photographed above) [correction,the photograph was misidentified, it is St. Mary’s Abbey, York] . Founded by St. Hild in the seventh century, Whitby Abbey was sacked by the Danes in the ninth century and then again by Henry VIII. It was supposedly haunted by the ghost of St. Hild, and another of Stoker’s notes records this legend. This is and other assorted notes, were among the materials Bram Stoker carried with him for the 7 years he spent imagining and writing the now legendary novel, Dracula.

This display is part of the Rosenbach’s 2008 Dracula Festival, a seasonal celebration featuring a series of events inspired by Stoker’s classic novel and iconic figure. Events for 2008 include:

  • A Reading and Book Signing of “The New Annotated Dracula” by Leslie Klinger on October 22, at 6:00pm.
  • A series of Stoker-themed Hands-On Tours on October 22, 25, and 29, at 3:00pm. The October 25 tour will feature a talk by Elizabeth Miller, who co-annotated the new publication “Bram Stoker’s Notes for Dracula” with Robert Eighteen-Bisang. This new publication features the first ever reprinting of all 124 Stoker notes from the Rosenbach collection, as well as a foreword, written by former Associate Director, Michael J. Barsanti.
  • The 6th annual Dracula Parade around Rittenhouse Square, artistically produced by Spiral Q Puppet Theater, featuring hordes of howling wolves, swooping bats, and larger-than-life characters from the novel Dracula, on October 25 at 5:30pm.
  • Monster’s Ink: The Bogeymen in Sendak’s Closet, a Gallery Talk on all things ghoulish and scary in the work of Maurice Sendak as seen in the exhibition There’s a Mystery There: Sendak on Sendak, on October 29, at 6:00pm.

For more information about the 2008 Dracula Festival, click here.