Library handed 'rare' Dracula books

A rare collection of Dracula-related books is to be handed over to Dublin City Library, it emerged today.

It includes copies of books on vampires and Transylvanian history likely to have been used by Dublin-born author Bram Stoker for his classic horror novel, foreign translations of Dracula, and first editions of some of Stoker’s other books.

The Bram Stoker Society, which has organised the handover of the collection, said it contained more than 200 books in total.

“They have enormous research value and significant but not overwhelming financial value,” said registrar Albert Power.

The books were collected over several decades by Englishman Leslie Shepherd, who developed a strong interest in the occult and the paranormal.

He edited books of vampire and horror stories and campaigned for recognition for Bram Stoker in Dublin, the city where the author was born in Clontarf in 1847.

Mr Power said that Shepherd had founded the Bram Stoker Society in 1980 at a time when Ireland only recognised a limited number of writers.

“Back then, no one knew anything about Bram Stoker. It was not a name that was common in the minds of Irish people,” he said.

Shepherd succeeded in getting a nameplate put on the house in Kildare Street in Dublin where Stoker had spent some of his youth and constantly delivered lectures about Stoker’s origins around the city.

“I regard Leslie as having in his kind, persistent, friendly and encouraging way as contributing enormously to changing things,” said Mr Power.

The awareness of Stoker’s Irish roots was boosted by Francis Ford Coppola’s film version of Dracula in 1992 – Shepherd appeared on the Pat Kenny show to talk about it- and the celebrations of the centenary of the publication of Dracula in 1997.

Shepherd’s book collection continued to grow in the meantime, with additions such as poet Gabriel Rosenstock’s translation of Dracula into Irish. But after Shepherd’s death in 2003, the collection was left without a home.

Mr Power said that Shepherd’s son and daughter, who live in England and Denmark respectively, had agreed for it to be handed over to Dublin City Libraries where it could be viewed by the public.

He estimated that the books in the collection were worth less than €10,000 in total.

“They’re probably more valuable for their facility for research,” he said.

The formal handover of the books is due to take place in Pearse Street Library on Tuesday.


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