Monday, December 2, 2019

First Author Reading of A Christmas Carol in America

Blogger: Amber Schamel
Charles Dickens 1867
On this day, December 2nd, of 1867, Charles Dickens kicked off his first reading tour of The Christmas Carol in the United States. 

The Christmas Carol has become an iconic classic when it comes to Christmas stories, and the tale merits the success. Dickens originally published the work in England during December of 1863, however it was not until four years later that he traveled to the United States to promote the book. This was the first time he had been on a tour to the United States since 1842, and he was amazed at the growth of the nation's cities during his absence.

Dickens arrived in Boston on November 19th, and was taken to the Parker House for lodging. The hotel, at the time, was well-known and frequented by politicians and affluent personalities. Since his readings didn't begin until December 2, the author had time to recuperate from his long journey and meet with some friends and business contacts.  Dickens stayed at the Parker House for a total of five months, as he regaled adoring crowds with the reading of his Christmas tale. The hotel currently holds possession of the door to Dickens' guest room when he stayed in 1867 and the mirror used by him for rehearsals.

 The Parker House was the meeting place for a group called the Saturday Club. This club was composed of historians, philosophers, writers, scientists, and other notable thinkers of the day, and they would gather monthly for food and conversation. It was to this group that Dicken's first reading of The Christmas Carol was performed on December 2. You can imagine how nervous he must have been to perform his work before such an esteemed group of individuals. 

Parker House as it would have looked when Dickens stayed there.

 By the time Dickens finished his United States tour, he had conducted 423 paid readings, which proved to be a lucrative trip for him. While his gross tour income of £45,000 had a lot of expenses taken out of it, he did end up with about £19,000 to take to the bank. According to the Bank of England's inflation calculator, this would translate to over two million British pounds in today's money. That doesn't count the amount he made from the actual sale of books.

How many of you plan to make The Christmas Carol part of your holiday season this year?

Amber Schamel is the author of Solve by Christmas, and the two-time winner of the Christian Indie Award for historical fiction. She writes riveting stories that bring HIStory to life. Her passions for travel, history, books and her Savior results in what her readers call "historical fiction at its finest".  She lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado as a very happy newlywed. Amber is a proud member of the American Christian Fiction Writers Association. Visit her online at and download a FREE story by subscribing to her Newsletter!


  1. It's not a tradition to read it in our family. I have so little time for reading at the moment that I wouldn't take it on this year. Thanks for posting!

  2. Our family doesn't read The Christmas Carol but I've read take off of Dickens' book in stories and seen Christmas plays. I have a CD of retelling of The Christmas Carol which is nice for travel. Have a blessed first Christmas as Mrs. L, Amber.