Happy Birthday, Charles Dickens!

This February 7th, the world over is celebrating the 200th birthday of beloved English writer, Charles Dickens. What does this have to do with Delaware? Well, as you may know, the novels of Dickens were beautifully illustrated by a number of very talented artists. And one of those artists, Felix Octavius Carr Darley (F. O. C. Darley, as he was commonly known), called Claymont, Delaware his home for many years. Darley was born on June 23, 1822 in Philadelphia and became a self-taught artist, illustrating for national publications such as Harper’s Weekly and Edgar Allen Poe’s literary journal, The Stylus. In 1859, Darley moved to Claymont with his new bride, and the couple resided there until Darley’s death in 1888. Illustrating for many popular 19th century authors such as Washington Irving and James Fennimore Cooper, Darley is also known for his illustrations of some of Dickens’s American imprint editions. The two were good friends, and Dickens even stopped by for a visit at Darley’s Claymont home while on his second tour of the United States in 1867. Why not celebrate Dickens’s birthday by exploring Delaware’s own connections to the great author? You can still pass by Darley’s home today on Darley Road off of Rt. 13 in Claymont, and then, while you are out and about, you can stop by the Delaware Historical Society research library at 505 N. Market Street to see an original daguerreotype (photograph) of Darley and the collection of prints of his beloved illustrations.
– Natalie

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