Charles Dickens is pictured standing at a writing desk and holding a book. He looks just off center and a watch hangs from a chain on the vest he wears inside a large lapelled coat.

Charles Dickens, long an avid theatre-goer and performer in amateur theatricals, gave his first public reading of A Christmas Carol in 1853. The charismatic author is said to have employed a different voice, a different style, for each of his characters, and he regularly appeared before audiences for the next sixteen years, charming audiences and critics alike. In 1867-68, Dickens brought his reading tour to the United States. This holiday season, the Library is celebrating with a special installation featuring Dickens’s heavily annotated prompt-copies—which he used in his performances—of A Christmas Carol and other holiday books, including The Chimes and The Cricket on the Hearth, together with original photographs, first editions, and ephemera.

This display is organized by The New York Public Library and curated by Carolyn Vega, Curator of the Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.

Installation Views

A Dickens Christmas opened November 21, 2022 in the McGraw Rotunda in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building

Photograph of full display, including accompanying text
Photograph of full display
Photograph of open manuscripts in display
Photograph of Dickens' glasses on display
Photograph of open book on display
Close-up photograph of display

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