A man whose name is synonymous with vampires, Abraham "Bram" Stoker could have easily gone down in history as the business manager of famed actor Henry Irving's Lyceum Theatre in London, a post he held for 27 years. And it was a good post—with Irving he was invited twice to the White House, meeting both Presidents William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt.
Or, he could be known as the man who married Oscar Wilde's childhood sweetheart, Florence Balcombe, or as a distant relative to Sherlock Holmes creator Sir Conan Doyle. But today, Stoker is best known for his 1897 Gothic novel Dracula, an epistolary novel told through diary entries, telegrams, letters, ship's logs and newspaper clippings. Stoker spent several years researching European folklore and mythological stories of vampires.
For years, the original 541-page Dracula manuscript was believed to have been lost. It was found in a barn in northwestern Pennsylvania during the early 1980s and included many corrections and the handwritten title THE UN-DEAD. Sold by Christie's, it is now owned by Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft.