April 23rd, 1912
FROM THE ARCHIVES:This informative obituary of Bram Stoker a few days after his death thought he was a better biographer then novelist.
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 the 8th 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.