Journal of Dracula Studies 14 (2012)
[Paul S. McAlduff is currently living in
Kwangju, South Korea where he works as an English teacher
and as a proofreader for the Journal of Power Electronics ( ).
He is also the founder and
Managing Editor of www.bramstoker.org, a leading website dedicated to Bram
Stoker and his work.] Seoul
"I am glad you found your way in here, for I am sure there is much that will interest you. These companions," and he laid his hand on some of the books, "have been good friends to me, and for some years past, ever since I had the idea of going to London, have given me many, many hours of pleasure..."
-Dracula Chapter 2 - Jonathan Harker's Journal Continued
Bram Stoker was showing what a keen observer of human nature he was when he wrote this passage. For many people, books are indeed good, familiar friends. However, for some readers they are much more than friends. For these people, books are more akin to a lover whose presence fills them with warmth and comfort. Of course, such people expect a lot more from a book than the average reader. They want to know everything about it. They want to know where and when and how it came to be. And, it would seem that there are a good many people who feel this way about Bram Stoker's Dracula. For decades, debates have surrounded such questions as when did Stoker sign a contract with his publisher, when was his masterpiece given the title Dracula, when was it first published, and which edition came out first. This article has been written with the aim of providing answers to some of these questions while shedding new light on others.
II. The Contract
According to the Sotheby's; Literature, History & Illustrated Books; 10 July 2001 catalogue, three of Stoker's publishing contracts were to be "Sold by order of "Constable & Co." The contracts were for all three of the books he published with Archibald Constable and Company (hereafter Archibald Constable).
100 "Stoker, Bram. The Original
Publishing Contract for Dracula, One
Entirely in Bram Stoker's Hand" consisted of two copies of the contract,
and was expected to sell for between 30,000 and 50,000 pounds
101 "Stoker, Bram. Two publishing
contracts and a letter" consisted of the contracts for The Watter's Mou' and The Shoulder of Shasta plus a signed
letter from Stoker to "Ryllmann," and was expected to sell for 3,000
to 5,000 pounds
(71). A copy of the publishing contract
for Dracula, written in Stoker’s
hand, and a typed copy of clause nine with his signature have been reproduced
in Bram Stoker's Dracula; A Documentary
Journey into Vampire Country and the Dracula Phenomenon, edited by
Elizabeth Miller (246-248), and a transcription of the handwritten copy is
available in the Appendix of this paper.
Many experts on Bram Stoker and Dracula set the date of the publishing contract or "Memorandum of Agreement" for Dracula at May 20, 1897. This is undoubtedly based on the fact that May 20 is the date given in the text of the contract itself. However, the truth is a bit more complicated than that. An examination of the contract itself shows that the earliest date appears on the hand written copy. This copy has a six pence stamp dated December 1,
1896 in the upper left hand
corner of the first page. In the text
of this copy the only date provided is the year 1897. While Stoker left spaces for the day and
month, they were both left blank. More
recent dates can be found on the typed copy of the contract. Although the date May 20, 1897 is included in
the text of this copy, Stoker made several alterations to the contract and
initialed each of the pages at the bottom with dates that range from May 20 to
May 25. The final page was signed
"Bram Stoker. May 21, 1897" (Sotheby's 67).
Although this "Memorandum of Agreement" between Stoker and Archibald Constable was in fact a legally binding contract, it does contain a couple of inconsistencies. The first clause of the agreement reads, "The Author having written a work entitled ‘The Un-Dead’ and being prior to the signing of this Agreement possessed of all the rights therein agrees with the Publisher for its publication..." In other words, all of the rights to the manuscript belonged to Stoker up until the moment he signed the contract. This would imply that prior to May 20, 1897 Archibald Constable did not have any legal rights to the manuscript. However, there is ample evidence that there was some sort of agreement in place prior to the signing of this contract. First of all, the contract itself says in the second clause that "The Publishers shall print bind advertise and publish the work at their sole cost and shall publish it during the year 1897..." Since Dracula was published on or about May 26, 1897, Archibald Constable would have had to do all this work in at most six days. In 1897 this would have been nearly impossible. Even today, the work involved in publishing a book takes months. In addition, a meticulous search of newspaper articles by John Edgar Browning for his book Bram Stoker's Dracula: The Critical Feast shows conclusively that Archibald Constable began the work of advertising Dracula, at the very least, twelve days before Stoker signed the "Memorandum of Agreement." According to Browning, on May 8, 1897, Archibald Constable ran an ad in The Athenaeum (
) for the future sale of the book Dracula by Bram Stoker for the price of
six shillings (Kindle 326-327). This was
not the only place in which Archibald Constable ran their ads. Beginning on May 13, 1897, seven days before
Stoker signed the "Memorandum of Agreement," Archibald Constable
began running a series of eleven front-page ads in the Booksellers Review ( London )
(see Fig. 1). London
It is interesting to note that Stoker's two previous publishing contracts with Archibald Constable were signed at least one month before the books were published. According to the Sotheby's; 10 July 2001 catalogue the "Memorandum of Agreement" for The Watter's Mou' was signed on September 27, 1894 (71). Since The Watter's Mou' was published in December 1894 (Dalby 52), the contract signing took place three to four months before the book was published. The "Memorandum of Agreement" for The Shoulder of Shasta, on the other hand, was signed on August 27, 1895 (Sotheby's 71). Since The Shoulder of Shasta was published in October 1895 (Dalby 52), the contract for this book was signed one to two months before its publication.
In Sotheby's; 10 July 2001 catalogue Peter Beal states that "it is interesting to see how great a part the author himself played in [the contract's] formulation" (68). What is equally interesting is the progression the three contracts follow. Stoker's first contract with Archibald Constable was for the publication of his book The Watter's Mou'. While it is currently unknown who wrote this contract, the only evidence of Stoker's hand in it is where he initialed some corrections, inserted the date and signed it at the bottom (Sotheby's 71). Stoker's second contract with Archibald Constable was for the publication of his book The Shoulder of Shasta. It would seem that Stoker played a bigger role in the creation of this contract. While the bulk of this contract was written by someone else, the first draft includes two clauses that were clearly written in Stoker's own hand (Sotheby's 71). Stoker's third and final publishing contract with Archibald Constable was the "Memorandum of Agreement" for Dracula. Since the first draft was written entirely in Stoker's own hand and both copies were witnessed by people from among the staff at the Lyceum Theatre (Miller 245), it is fairly certain that Stoker wrote this contract on his own.
III. Title Change
As pointed out by Elizabeth Miller in her book Dracula: Sense and Nonsense, there is "irrefutable" evidence that "The Un-Dead" was one of the working titles considered by Stoker for his novel Dracula (Kindle 1392-1416). It appears in Stoker's own hand in his working notes and in an original typed manuscript of the novel found on a
farm in 1977. "The Un-Dead" is also the name Stoker used in the
"Memorandum of Agreement," which he signed and initialed at various
times from May 20 through May 25. What
is not known is when it was changed and whether or not it was Stoker who made the
change. However, there is proof that the
title was changed to Dracula sometime
before Stoker signed the "Memorandum of Agreement." The ads run by
Archibald Constable in both The Athenaeum
and in the Booksellers Review refer
to Stoker's novel by the title Dracula,
while making absolutely no mention of its working title. This means that the title of Stoker's book
was changed to Dracula no later than
May 8, 1897. Pennsylvania
Unfortunately, with the evidence currently available, there is no way of telling exactly when the title of Stoker's novel was changed from "The Un-Dead" to Dracula. The only thing that can be said with any degree of certainty is that the change took place before Archibald Constable ran an ad for Dracula in the May 8, 1897 issue of The Athenaeum. In addition, the title page of the original typed manuscript for "The Un-Dead" included the following copyright notice "Copyright 1897 By Bram Stoker. All Rights Reserved" (Miller 237). Therefore, it would be fairly safe to assume that the name was changed to Dracula sometime after January 1, 1897.
IV. Publication Date
Despite the immense popularity of Bram Stoker's Dracula, there is a great deal of uncertainty when it comes to the question of when it was published. However, there is no shortage of people with opinions on the subject. In their book The Un-Dead: The Legend of Bram Stoker and Dracula, Peter Haining and Peter Tremayne claim that it was published on June 24, 1897 (174). However, there is ample evidence in the form of reviews and press releases that it was published well before that date. In her book Bram Stoker: A Biography of the Author of Dracula, Barbara Belford claims that Dracula was published on May 26, 1897 (269). Elizabeth Miller also claims it was published on this date, based in part on the fact that Stoker sent a letter to William Gladstone on May 24,
1897 in which he stated
that Dracula "comes out on the
26th" (Kindle 811-812). While this
letter is surely authentic, it only proves that Dracula was scheduled to come out on that date. However, there is no evidence to suggest that
Archibald Constable was able to keep this schedule. Delays can and do occur.
Luckily, the letter from Stoker to
is not the only
source of information on the publication date of Dracula. Newspapers
containing press releases and reviews of the novel are another valuable source
of information. The May 27, 1897 issue
of The Glasgow Herald (Glasgow) had a
publication listing for Dracula. It appeared in the "New Books Of The
Week" section on page nine. The listing read: "Dracula. By Bram Stoker. ( Gladstone :
Archibald Constable & Co.)."
Unfortunately, "the week" is not a very specific term and the
newspaper does not say whether it is referring to last week, this week or next
week. However, this does put the date of
publication somewhere between May 20th and June 3rd. While this is a fairly large window, it does
rule out June 24th. Westminster
More information can be found in the June 3, 1897 issue of the Booksellers Review, which also contained a publication listing for Dracula. It appeared in the weekly "New Books Published since our last issue, alphabetically arranged" section. The listing read: "STOKER, BRAM.—DRACULA. Pp. 400, crown 8vo, 6s. Constable 1402." It seems that the editor of this paper had some sort of contact with the people at Archibald Constable, since this issue also contained a write up of the book in the "Practical Reviews and Notices" section on page five and an excerpt from Chapter 2 - Jonathan Harker's Journal Continued on page six. A careful examination of the previous issue of the Booksellers' Review, May 27 1897, shows that there is no listing for Dracula in the "New Books Published" section. In fact, the only mention of the novel to be found in this issue is the front page add (see Fig. 1) that had been running since the May 13, 1897 issue. While this does not give the exact date of publication for Dracula, it does rule out both May 26th and June 24th.
The exact date of publication can be found in the May 27, 1897 issue of The Daily News (
In this issue there was a review of Dracula
with a headline that read: "PUBLISHED TO-DAY" (see Fig. 2). This not only rules out the dates proposed in
previous studies, it states specifically that Dracula was published on May 27, 1897. London
While it would be foolish to take one newspaper article as proof of publication, this paper presents three articles from three different newspapers based in two different countries. The reported dates of publication in all three of the articles overlap. In addition, all three of the papers rule out the date proposed by Haining and Tremayne, while two of them rule out the date proposed by Miller and Belford. In addition, to date, no one has been able to find a press release of any kind to support either of the previously proposed publication dates.
V. First Edition
In August 2001, the first copy of a colonial edition of Dracula was found on eBay (Dalby 56). According to Robert Eighteen-Bisang in the article he wrote on this edition, "The Hutchinson’s Colonial Library edition of Dracula not only states the date ‘1897’ on its title page, but was almost certainly printed simultaneously with - i.e., before or shortly after - the first Constable printing." Unfortunately, it was left uncertain which edition was printed and published first. Although scholars have been debating this question for over ten years, its answer has been in existence for over a century.
The answer to the question of which book came first can be found in the July 22, 1897 issue of the Booksellers Review. This issue had a listing for the publication of the colonial edition of Dracula (see Fig. 3). It appeared in the weekly "Colonial Editions: Published since last week" section and was listed as follows: "Stoker—Dracula. Hutchison." This puts the publication of the colonial edition somewhere between July 15, 1897 and July 22, 1897. While this does not give an exact publication date, it does prove that the Archibald Constable edition came out at least seven weeks before the Hutchison colonial edition, which makes the Archibald Constable edition the first edition and the Hutchison edition the second.
Bram Stoker's Dracula is, in the words of the reviewer from the Booksellers Review, "an exciting story from beginning to finish." But, of course, time has shown that Dracula is far more than just an exciting story. It has become, without a doubt, one of the most influential books of horror fiction ever written. The influence it has had on other books and authors is immeasurable. In addition, its influence can be seen in almost every vampire movie made since Nosferatu first appeared on the screen in 1922. It is such a landmark novel that it is no wonder that even after more than a hundred years people still want to know about the man who wrote it and how it came to be. This paper has addressed some of the longstanding mysteries surrounding the publication of Dracula. It provides compelling evidence that the "Memorandum of Agreement" was not completed until May 25, 1897. It also provides evidence that the name of the book was changed to Dracula sometime between January 1, 1897 and May 8, 1897. This paper then goes on to show that at least two newspapers in the
in 1897 were under the impression
that Dracula was not published on May
26 or June 24, and that one of them thought it was published on May 27. Finally, it provides proof that the Archibald
Constable edition of Dracula came out
more than a month before the Hutchison edition, making it the first edition and
the colonial edition the second. United
VII. Suggestions for Future Research
There are several questions concerning the publication of Dracula that remain unanswered or unaddressed by this paper. In addition, it raises some new questions. While this paper provides compelling evidence that there was some sort of agreement between Stoker and Archibald Constable before he signed the "Memorandum of Agreement," it leaves unanswered the questions of what form this agreement took and when it was made. Assuming there was a written agreement, this raises the question of where it might be located. It is possible that copies of this original agreement exist among the papers of Archibald Constable, which is currently known as Constable & Robinson Ltd. It is also possible that a copy of this agreement was given to Hutchinson & Co. (currently a part of The Random House Group) when it acquired the rights to produce the colonial edition of Dracula in 1897. Another place to look for such documents would be among the surviving papers, assuming any exist, of Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau or the Film Arts Guild who were sued by Florence Stoker for copyright infringement over the movie Nosferatu. A final place to look would be among any surviving documents of the British Incorporated Society of Authors, whose attorneys represented Florence Stoker in that suit.
Another question left unanswered by this paper is when the title of Stoker's book was changed from "The Un-Dead" to Dracula. Although it has been determined that this change took place sometime between January 1, 1897 and May 8, 1897, the exact date is currently unknown. In addition, this paper does not address the question of whether the name was changed by Stoker or by the editors at Archibald Constable. If the answers to these questions exist, they would be among the surviving papers of the Stoker family or those of Constable & Robinson.
Finally, although this paper puts the date of publication for the
colonial edition somewhere between July 15, 1897 and July 22, 1897, it does not provide an
exact date. It is possible that this
information can be obtained through a careful search of the papers of Hutchinson
& Co. Another possibility is that
the exact date for the publication of this edition appeared in a newspaper that
has yet to be digitized and that a future search will provide this information. Hutchinson
The following "Memorandum of Agreement" was originally reproduced in the Sotheby's; Literature, History & Illustrated Books; 10 July 2001 catalogue. The copy that this transcription was made from appeared in Bram Stoker's Dracula; A Documentary Journey into Vampire Country and the Dracula Phenomenon, edited by Elizabeth Miller.
Memorandum of Agreement made this ___________ day of ___________ one thousand eight hundred and ninety-seven between Archibald Constable and Company of 2 Whitehall Gardens Westminster hereinafter called the Publishers of the First Part and Bram Stoker of
Leonard's Terrace Chelsea hereafter called the Author of the Second Part
whereby in consideration of the sums and conditions hereinafter mentioned it is
agreed as follows.
1 The Author having written a work entitled "The Un-Dead" and being prior to the signing of this Agreement possessed of all the rights therein agrees with the Publisher for its publication in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the British Dependencies (Canada being excepted) on the following terms.
2 The Publishers shall print bind advertise and publish the work at their sole cost and shall publish it during the year 1897 but not until the rights have been secured in The United States of America to the Author. For the first edition of the said work the Publishers are to print at least three thousand copies. The sales are to be made to the Book trade at usual 'trade' and not 'net' terms.
3 The Publishers are not to pay the Author any royalty for the first one thousand copies sold but on each and every copy sold after the first one thousand they are to pay to the Author the sum of one shilling and six pence sterling. The said work is to be published at the price of six shillings for each copy.
4 Should the sale of the said work reach ten thousand copies the Publishers are to have the right to continue the publication paying to the Author a royalty of two shillings sterling on each and every copy sold. The other conditions of publishing remaining the same or they may bring this agreement to an end by a notice in writing leaving both parties to it free to act as they may decide.
5 The Publishers may with the consent of the Author print and sell a Colonial edition (Canada being excepted from the operations of such edition) at a price other than that already fixed but such price and terms of royalty are to be subject to the mutual consent expressed in writing of the parties to this Agreement.
6 This Agreement is to remain in force for ten years unless earlier terminated under clause four.
7 Accounts between the parties to this Agreement shall be taken and a settlement made half yearly being on the Thirtieth day of June and the Thirty-first day of December in each year and the party of the First Part shall then pay to the party of the Second Part within Thirty Days any sums due to him as royalties on such account.
8 This Agreement does not include any place or country other than the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the British Dependencies (Canada being excepted from such British Dependencies) and the said Author shall be free to license others than the said Publisher to publish the said work in Canada and further this Agreement does not confer any rights on the Publishers other than the License to publish in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the British Dependencies (Canada excepted) as fixed in above clauses.
9 The Copyright and all other rights in the above mentioned work belong absolutely to the said Bram Stoker and if at any time after the publication of the said work the party of the First Part shall become bankrupt or if their business shall become merged in or incorporated with that of any other Firm or Company the license hereby created and conferred on the party of the First Part shall cease and determine and all rights so created and conferred shall revert to the party of the second part.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Dr. Elizabeth Miller and John Edgar Browning for their invaluable assistance in making this article possible. In particular, I would like to give Dr. Miller a special thanks for helping me transcribe Stoker's "Memorandum of Agreement."
Belford, Barbara. Bram Stoker: A Biography of the Author of Dracula,
London: Giant, 1997. Phoenix
Browning, John Edgar. Bram Stoker's Dracula: The Critical Feast,
Apocryphile Press. Kindle Edition, 2011. Berkeley
Dalby, Richard and William Hughes. Bram Stoker: A bibliography,
Essex: Desert Island
Eighteen-Bisang, Robert. "
Colonial Library Edition of Dracula", Kutztown: Journal of Dracula Studies, 2001. Hutchinson
Haining, Peter and Peter Tremayne. The Un-Dead: The Legend of Bram Stoker and Dracula,
: Constable, 1997. London
Miller, Elizabeth. Bram Stoker's Dracula; A Documentary Journey into Vampire Country and the
Pegasus Books, 2009. Dracula Phenomenon, New York
Miller, Elizabeth. Dracula: Sense and Nonsense, Essex:
Books, Kindle Edition, 2011. Desert Island
Sotheby's [Auction Catalogue]. Sotheby's: Literature, History & Illustrated Books, Including a Lost Autograph Notebook for Joyce's 'Ulysses',
July 10, 2001. London
Stoker, Bram. Dracula,
: Archibald Constable and Company,
May 27, 1897. Westminster
 The complete text of this review can be found in Browning, John Edgar. Bram Stoker's Dracula: The Critical Feast,
: Apocryphile Press. Kindle Edition,
 The complete text of this review can be found in Miller, Elizabeth. Bram Stoker's Dracula; A Documentary Journey into Vampire Country and the
: Pegasus Books, 2009. Dracula Phenomenon, New York