Bram Stoker, Himself
A Collection By and About Bram Stoker
“I myself am of an old family” – Count Dracula (1897)
A Dublin University Weekly
Vol. VI – No. 4 Thursday, 20th November 1958 Price 3d.
June 1, 1866
GRAND WALKING MATCH – Yesterday, a grand walking match came off in the park of Trinity College for prizes consisting of a silver cup, an electro-plated cup and a “pewter.” The distance to be gone over was seven miles, and the start took place at five minutes to three o’clock in extremely wet weather. Mr. A. Stoker came in winner in an hour and eight minutes. Mr. F. Smith came in second, and Mr. Hart third. There were twelve gentlemen entered for the race, and eight started.
Bram Stoker follows Sir Henry Irving into the waiting cab outside the Lyceum Theatre
The Houston Daily Post
Houston, Texas : 6 March 1897
Points about People
Bram Stoker, who stands in Henry Irving’s place to the outside world, has accompanied him on all his trips to this country. He is an athletic man, with pointed blonde beard and the shoulders of a college oarsman. He is an Oxford graduate, and a man particularly adapted to the various duties which he is called as Irving’s personal representative.
(Correction by BSE, Bram Stoker graduated from Trinity College Dublin.)
Bram Stoker, who accompanied Henry Irving to this country, writing of American homes, says that every man builds his own house according to his own wants, the consequence being a general picturesque effect, and the creation of almost a new order of architecture. He particularly mentions Michigan Avenue, Chicago, as a street of great beauty.
The Current, Edgar L. Wakeman 1886
A series of sketches attributed to Bram Stoker were exhibited at the Dublin Sketching and Painting Club in 2012 to mark the centenary of his death. Stoker was one of 12 founding members of the club when it was set up in 1874. The sketches were found in the home of the eldest Stoker brother, Sir William Thornley Stoker, himself well-known as a patron of the arts.
“Bram Stoker is known as the writer who created ‘Dracula’ but he must have had some skill as an artist to have been on the committee for the Dublin Sketching Club, some of whose members were RHA artists. Despite that, his artistic record is slight.” - Tom Scott, president of The Dublin Painting & Sketching Club.
James Whitcomb Riley, popular poet, suggests his friend meet Bram and his brother, Dr. George Stoker. “Then they can professionally put their heads together – ‘talk shop’ and think it science – ignore us entirely, or hypnotize and cut us up all unbeknownst.”
Letter to Bram Stoker from Mark Twain
“My Dear Stoker,
I am dating this because it is not to be mailed at present.
When it reaches you it will mean that there is a hitch in my machine-enterprise–a hitch so serious as to make it take to itself the aspect of a dissolved dream. This letter, then, will contain [the] cheque for the $100 which you have paid. And will you tell Irving for me–I can’t get up courage enough to talk about this misfortune, myself, except to you, whom by good luck I haven’t damaged yet–that when the wreckage presently floats ashore he will get a good deal of his $500 back; & a dab at a time I will make up to him the rest.
I’m not feeling as fine as I was when I saw you there in your home. Please remember me kindly to Mrs. Stoker. I gave up that London lecture project entirely. Had to–there’s never been a chance since to find the time.
I am taking it for granted you still abide at 17 St. Leonard’s Terrace Chelsea”
From Wallace’s American Trotting Register, 1895
Bram Stoker ’81, bay horse foaled 1881 by Col. Bullock 8M7, dam Western Belle by Robert McGregor 617 etc.
(See Western Belle Vol. V1IL)
Bred by William J. Davis, Crown Point, Ind.
BSE note: William J Davis was a Chicago theater manager, who bred trotting horses, fox-terriers and collies on his 1100 acre farm in Indiana.
The Literary World, “British Books”, Vol 96, Publisher’s Circular Ltd 1912
The Late Mr. “Bram” Stoker
Mr. “Bram” Stoker as he was familiarly called, though his Christian name was Abraham, died on April 20th, in London, in his 65th year, after a long illness. Civil servant, journalist, novelist, author, and private secretary to the late Sir Henry Irving, Mr. Stoker led always a busy life, pursuing more than one calling at once. His most imposing literary work is his “Personal Reminiscences of Henry Irving,” published five years ago; but the work by which he has achieved fame is undoubtedly that remarkable book of fiction, in the shape of letters, entitled “Dracula,” a vampire story, that has passed through numerous editions. Mr. Stoker’s latest book, “The Lair of the White Worm,” which appeared at Christmas somewhat after the same model, but it exhibited signs of the breakdown in his health, which has now had a fatal termination. Its predecessor, “The Lady of the Shroud,” was a charming mystery story of the Balkans; and an earlier one, “Lady Athlyne,” was a clever romance, based on the Scotch marriage law. Although not in the front rank of novelists, Mr. Stoker was a. great favourite with novel readers, and could be depended upon to supply interest and sensation, coupled with literary style.
[“Bram” Stoker was a most genial, charming man; a shilling edition of his “Dracula” has only just been published —ED. P.C. ]
Indianapolis, Ind., U.S.A., Aug. 19
Bram Stoker, Esq., Lyceum Theatre –
Dear Mr. Stoker,
Dr. Franklin Hayes, through life My loyal friend and chum, is just starting Your way, and promptly upon his arrival In London I want you two to meet, as
I feel assured that such an acquaintance
can but add to your mutual great store
Also I much desire, for like reasons, that he meet your brother, the doctor, at your hands. Then they can professionally put their heads together –“talk shop” and
think it science – ignore us entirely, or
hypnotize us and cut us up all unbe-knownst.
As ever faithfully yours,
James Whitcomb Riley
The Escape of Lions From the Menagerie at Birmingham
5 October 1889
From Studio to Stage: Reminiscences of Weedon Grossman
Weedon Grossman (1912)
While touring with Irving I met George Alexander and Bram Stoker in New Street, Birmingham, one day, outside a small hall where a showman was announcing at the top of his voice that they were u just about to commence.” A magnificent African lion was pictured waltzing with the lion tamer. Alexander decided to see the performance, went in, and was charged sixpence. I followed, paying the same amount, but Bram Stoker was only asked fourpence—why I have never known. Bram Stoker was always well dressed, and looked worth the sixpence, but perhaps the showman thought he was poor as he was dressed in black. We all stood round the lion’s cage in a back-yard, where a tent had been erected, and the trainer, dressed in pink fleshings and a spangled belt, informed us briefly that” the lion was the largest and the fiercest it had ever been his good fortune to master.” A little boy said, ” ‘As he ever ate anyone?” The lion tamer, though a little annoyed at being interrupted, condescended to inform the lad that the noble beast had been responsible for the deaths of several human beings, both black and white, and many were injured during his capture. He then drew the curtains aside, and we were all bound to admit that the lion was a magnificent creature. He seemed in a very bad temper, perhaps it was the look of the house, the audience consisting of only nine persons, all told.
The noble beast was snarling and giving us a good view of his great teeth, and when he pressed against the bars of the cage they seemed to give with his weight. In fact, it all looked very dangerous, and I was turning over in my mind whether I wouldn’t have a cigarette outside, when the lion tamer seized a strong whip, opened the cage door, and leapt in. He struck the usual professional attitude, and then slashed the whip several times at the lion’s legs, who in response sprang at him, throwing him to the ground. For a moment we thought it was part of the business, but only for a moment; in another second, with extraordinary acrobatic skill, the tamer had twisted from under the lion and was out of the cage, but unfortunately he omitted to close the door after him. I have often seen a crowd leave a theatre hurriedly after a bad performance. I have seen guests at a party rushing for the door to get to the supper rooms when a gentleman has announced that he will recite “The Pit’s Mouth ” or “The Pride of Battery B.” But never have I seen a place emptied with such rapidity as that tent was. I did not wait to ask for my money back—there being no performance—nor did anyone else, I fancy. In three seconds I was in New Street, where I saw George Alexander and Bram Stoker jumping on to a passing bus, Stoker shouting to the conductor, ” Don’t stop for us, please, we can jump on.” I went into the nearest shop, it was an estate agent’s, and I closed the door after me because of the draught—for no other reason.
George Alexander—now Sir George—and a member of the County Council, may deny the veracity of this story, but it is absolutely true. Ask Lady Alexander, I am sure she will stand by me.
Excerpt from A Long Retrospect by Thomas Anstey Guthrie, aka F. Anstey (1854 - 1934), novelist, journalist, and friend of Bram Stoker
Ch. VII Friends and Acquaintances
Tall and burly, with blunt features, rather small but honest and kindly eyes, and a reddish pointed beard, Bram Stoker would probably not have impressed a first acquaintance as possessing any marked degree of diplomacy. And yet he had more than the average amount or he could not have acted as Henry Irving's business manager for many years with unvarying skill and success. Nor did his genial rather boyish face suggest the slightest taste for the macabre, but he was the author of Dracula, perhaps the most blood-curdling story in the English language.
I've no doubt he thoroughly enjoyed writing it, for he had a pretty taste in vampires. Once when we were walking home from a party together late at night, he said, in the soft Irish accent I cannot attempt to suggest: 'I've an idea for another story. It would open like this: A celebrated Harley Street doctor in his consulting-room, a patient shown in. The patient is a cadaverous-looking man, and evidently is very anxious about his health. For some time he cannot bring himself to speak out, but at last he tells the doctor, who of course is bound by his profession to secrecy, what is troubling him.
'He is a vampire, and has just discovered that his latest victim is in a galloping consumption. So naturally he 's in terror lest his own health may be affected. Now don't you think that's a strong situation, eh?'
It was such a strong situation that I laughed long and loud, until he joined in, and between us I'm afraid we must have awakened many a sleeper in that quiet Chelsea street.
I remember two of Bram's stories of his Irish experiences which he told inimitably. One was of how, when he had undertaken to carve at supper during a dance, one of the maids came up and said, 'If ye plase, Sorr, will ye cot me a slice of beef for the pianner.'
The other was of a visit to a country-house where the large staff of servants begged unblushingly for tips at parting, from the butler down to the page, who said pathetically, 'Ah, spare a copper or two for the pore bottons!'
Bram Stoker Dead at 64
Author, and Manager of Sir Henry Irving, Expired in London.
Bram Stoker, author, theatrical manager, close friend and advisor of the late Sir Henry Irving, died in London last Sunday. For twenty-seven years he was business manager for the famous English actor, in charge of the Lyceum Theatre during Irving’s tenancy of that house.
Mr. Stoker, whose first name was Abraham and who was always known by the diminutive of Bram, was born in Dublin in 1848. His father held an official post in Dublin Castle, and the young man was educated at Dublin university. At the university he took high honors in mathematics, and after his graduation he obtained a post in the civil service, finally becoming an Inspector of Petty Sessions.
His personal relationship with Sir Henry Irving began in early youth, and their business association was formed in 1878, when Irving began his carer at the Lyceum. This association was not ended until the death of the actor, in 1905. After the passing of Irving, Stoker served on the literary staff of the London Daily Telegraph, and also acted as the manager of David Bispham’s light opera, “The Vicar of Wakefield.”
His best-known publication is “Personal Reminiscences of Henry Irving,” issued in 1908. Among his other works, mostly fantastic fiction, are “Under the Sunset,” “The Snake’s Pass,” “The Watter’s Mou,” “The Shoulder of Shasta,” “Dracula,” “The Mystery of the Sea,” “The Jewel of the Seven Stars,” and “The Lady of the Shroud.”
His wife was Florence Agnes Lemon Balcombe, and they had one son. He was a medalist of the Royal Humane Society and a member of the National Liberal, the Authors’, and the Green Room Clubs.
The New York Times
April 23, 1912
Note: copied with original errors.
Corrections: Born in 1847, Florence Anne Lemon Balcombe
1847 – 1912
In the early seventies there was no more popular man in Trinity College. As an athletic he was facile princeps, being one of the finest walkers who ever won the championship. His attainments in science gained him honours in pure mathematics, but his fame was made not in the Examination Hall, but in the Undergraduate Debating Societies.
He was Auditor of the College Historical and President of the Philosophical Societies, a double distinction which it is reserved for few to obtain. The exuberance of his spirits, the friendliness of his manner, and his firm, straight- forward character gained for him a welcome wherever he went. Mr. Stoker was born in Dublin on the8th of March, 1847. His father, Mr. Abraham Stoker, was an official in the Chief Secretary’s Office, Dublin Castle, which position he held for over fifty years. He married the daughter of Captain Thomas Thornley, of Ballyshannon, and they had a large family of sons.
Bram was appointed to the office of Registrar of Petty Sessions Clerks in Dublin Castle, where he remained until 1878. During this period he took the M.A. degree in the University of Dublin, and, having also gone through the Law School, he was called to the English Bar.
Mr. Stoker’s literary ability was shown at an early age, and while still a college student, in addition to his office work, he found time to act as dramatic, art, and literary critic for several journals both in England and Ireland.
It was at a supper party given in the rooms of that Mr. Stoker first made Sir Henry Irving’s acquaintance, which resulted in his becoming manager and confidential secretary to Irving, then lessee of the Lyceum.
Many of his friends in Dublin thought at the time that it was hardly wise on his part to give up the certainty of a Government position and to commence life afresh in the hazardous theatrical profession. Events proved the risk was worth taking, and he remained with Sir Henry Irving until the great actor’s death in October 1905.
Since then, his attention was more fully directed to literary work. He was on the staff of the Daily Telegraph, and has written several novels, mostly of a sensational character. In 1906 he brought out his Life of Henry Irving, which was one of the books of the year, and financially and in every other respect proved a huge success. As a biographer dealing with the life of a man he knew so intimately, he did better work than as a novelist. There was a demand for his books, however, and from 1882, when he published Under the Sunset, until 1905, when he wrote The Man, he brought out eight tales, which were readable, though they were not marked by any originality. Before attempting fiction he published a valuable work on The Duties of Clerks of Petty Sessions in Ireland, which is a standard authority on the subject.
Originally published 23 April 1912, this obituary was reprinted in the “Irish Times” on 23 April 2012 to mark the Centenary of Bram Stoker’s death.