Thursday, 20 February 2014

A little inappropriate

I just came across a rather tactless article from The Daily Chronicle of February 14 1908.

It was written by Bram Stoker who had worked as theatre manager for Sir Henry Irving at the Lyceum Theatre in London. It was at this same theatre that William Gillette had taken to the stage in 1901 with a Sherlock Holmes play.


The article

By 1908, however, Stoker was more famous as the author of Dracula which had been published in 1897.

Undershaw as depicted in the article


Stoker had visited Conan Doyle at his Surrey home Undershaw on the 22nd and 23rd of June 1907 and it is clear that the content of the article was gained during that visit (the article has a 1907 copyright). At this point  in time Conan Doyle was still living in his Surrey home – but only just. He had lost his first wife Louise almost a year previously and he was soon to be married to Jean Leckie. The 1908 reprint of the article (which had originally appeared in New York World) contains a picture of Jean Leckie as the new Lady Conan Doyle. By 1908 of course this was quite correct but, in an article from 1907 when they were not yet married, which concerned a house which she never lived in and was really the home of her predecessor, it seems decidedly tactless.

Lady Jean Conan Doyle


Written by Alistair Duncan
Buy my books here

2 comments:

  1. Do you think the photo was added or changed to the reprint?

    Do you have access to the original?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In my view - added. The original article if published before September 1907 (and it was likely published between June and September) would have pre-dated the second marriage and the article text contains no mention of either Louise or Jean.

      Delete