New York, 1893. Near Fine.
[Letter 1] Stoker, Bram. New York: 23 November 1893. ALS from Bram Stoker to John Sergeant Wise. One page, written in black ink to recto of Plaza Hotel stationary. [Letter 2] Stoker, Bram. New York: March 1894. ALS from Bram Stoker to John Sergeant Wise. One page, written in black ink to recto of Henry Irving's Fourth American Tour stationary folded in half, with tour dates printed in blue ink. A near fine letter with some creasing to folds, else very clean and bright. [Letter 3] Stoker, Bram. New York: March 1894. ALS from Bram Stoker to John Sergeant Wise. One page, written in black ink to recto of Plaza Hotel stationary. A near fine letter with very light creasing, still very clean and bright. [Letter 4] Irving, Henry. New York: 27 November 1893. ALS from Henry Irving to John Sergeant Wise. One page, written in black ink to recto of Plaza Hotel stationary, written in Bram Stoker's hand but signed by Henry Irving. A near fine letter with a few creases, a few lines written in ink to bottom left corner noting that the letter was written by Stoker but signed by Irving. [Letter 5] Irving, Henry. New York: 5 March 1894. Engraved Invitation Signed from Henry Irving to John Sergeant Wise. One page, printed to recto of Plaza Hotel engraved invitation. Near fine, with two creases. Together with two envelopes marked "War Department," one with "Bram Stoker / Famous English Actor" written in ink, and the other with "Henry Irving" written in ink. This group of letters from Henry Irving and his assistant, Bram Stoker, were sent to John Sergeant Wise, an American author and politician and a friend of Irving's. The first four letters each express Irving's regret that he must decline Wise's offer to join him for various dinner invitations. Written in Stoker's hand, the letters are very polite and address the recipient as "My dear Wise," offering the reasons why they must decline Wise's invitations, including plans to attend a supper given by the American Dramatic Society, and a less glamorous "busy day." The fifth letter, an engraved invitation signed by Irving, invites Wise to join Irving for dinner in New York at the Delmonica. In his book Recollections of Thirteen Presidents (1906), Wise writes briefly about a time in the winter of 1894 or 1895 when Irving was visiting New York. Wise writes that he was "anxious to entertain him," and continues on to describe a lively gathering that Irving and Stoker both attended. Reportedly, Irving remained at the party until 5 in the morning, to the entertainment of Governor William McKinley, who was also in attendance. Although now well-known for his 1897 novel Dracula, the Irish author Bram Stoker first made a name for himself during his lifetime by working as the personal assistant and business manager to Henry Irving, an English stage actor. Scholars have agreed that the titular character in Stoker's Gothic horror novel was largely inspired by Irving, whose manipulative personality and calculated, courteous mannerisms inspired both fear and awe in his assistant when he was first beginning to write. Stoker himself asked Irving, an actor, to play the character in the book's theatrical adaptation, but was declined. A devoted employee, Stoker continued his decades-long employment with his revered superior even after the publication of this classic work, and in 1906 compiled his memories of the actor in a book, Personal Reminisces of Henry Irving.