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Letter written by Bram Stoker, author of Dracula, and signed by legendary actor Sir Henry Irving in 1890 turning down a petition for a play. Irving and Stoker were both managers at London's Lyceum Theatre. Autograph letter signed "HIrving".

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Letter written by Bram Stoker, author of Dracula, and signed by legendary actor Sir Henry Irving in 1890 turning down a petition for a play. Irving and Stoker were both managers at London's Lyceum Theatre.
Autograph letter signed "HIrving". 2 pages, 5x7¾, 1 sheet folded, front and verso. May 5, 1890. Addressed to Mrs. E. Clowes. In full: "My dear Madam May I ask you to tender to all my friends who signed the very remarkable petition sent to me my hearty thanks for the honour done me in sending me such a document. It would I assure you give me the liveliest pleasure to be able to meet such a wish so expressed indeed were it possible it should be obeyed as a command. I am grieved to say however that it will not in the occasion be possible for me to present 'The Lyons Wail' at the Grand Theatre as all our arrangement [sic] are already made for other plays. The visit is a new and at which for us an unusual season and according those of our Company [illegible] required in the pieces already arrayed for- 'The Bells'& 'Louis XI' have made other arrangement for themselves in the off season after the close of the Lyceum in 31 May. Were it in my individual [illegible] to present the piece I shall be only too delighted to meet a wish so cordially and so courteously [illegible]. I shall certainly endeavour to meet the [illegible] will [illegible] visit. Believe me dear Madam Your Sincerely". STOKER (1847-1902) is famed as the author of Dracula (1897). The Irish Stoker published several stories while pursuing an unrewarding career as a civil servant. In 1878, his lifelong friend, actor Henry Irving, invited him to London as an actor and manager of the Lyceum Theatre. While performing these duties, Stoker continued to write, producing a series of eerie fairy tales for children (Under the Sunset, 1882) and his first novel, The Snake's Pass (1890). In 1890 he also began research for Dracula. Stoker was not the first to write stories about vampires, but his was the most famous work, and the first to use the name of Dracula. It is no accident that when the Horror Writers' Association began giving annual achievement honors in 1987, they named the prize the Bram Stoker Award. Known for his melodramatic acting and lavish productions, IRVING (1838-1905), born John Henry Brodribb, was the leading British actor of his day and, as a theatre manager, turned the struggling Lyceum Theatre into the country's premiere theatre. Irving was a merchant's clerk when he received a 100-pound in 1856 inheritance that allowed him to buy his own wigs and props and buy into an amateur production of Romeo and Juliet. He trouped in stock theatre for 10 years, appearing in over 330 plays and most of Shakespeare's theatrical repertoire, before finding his first real success in a 1866 play in London, Hunted Down. His career took off in 1871, when he appeared in The Bells at the Lyceum. Irving became one of the company's stars and, in 1878, became the Lyceum's manager, a position he held until 1902. He also hired Ellen Terry as his leading lady that year, and the two went on to form one of the most famous partnerships in theatrical history. The plays he produced were sometimes short on literary merit, but he made up for questionable material with spectacular (and murderously expensive) sets, music and lighting, and audiences on both sides of the Atlantic rewarded him with packed houses. The Lyceum's fortunes began to go south in 1897 with a financially disastrous play about Peter the Great, put on by his son Lawrence, and an equally disastrous fire that destroyed the theatre's stored scenery. Illness kept him from touring the next year, and the Lyceum's box office take suffered for it. He died, still on tour, after a 1905 performance of Alfred, Lord Tennyson's Becket. He was knighted in 1895, the first actor to receive this honor. Irving was a lifelong friend of Dracula author Bram Stoker, who became the Lyceum's business manager and gave the young author his first real exposure to high society. Lightly toned and creased. Show-through touches signature and body of letter. Signature has bled lightly but is legible. Date, but not signature, is lightly smeared but legible. Lightly soiled on verso (no show-through). Folded in half and unfolded. Otherwise in fine condition.

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