Youngson, Jeanne Keyes

Youngson, Jeanne Keyes

(pop culture)

Dr. Jeanne Keyes Youngson, the founder of the Vampire Empire (originally the Count Dracula Fan Club) was born in Syracuse, New York, the daughter of Margaret E. Gardiner and Dr. Kenneth W. Keyes. She received her education at Franklin Junior College (Lugano, Switzerland), Maryville College (Tennessee), the Sorbonne (Paris), and New York University (New York City.) She later taught extension courses in literature for USC at both Oxford and Cambridge in England.

In 1960 she married Robert G. Youngson, a renowned movie producer and historian, and that same year she launched a career as an independent filmmaker, winning numerous prizes as an animator. She also produced medical documentaries, including “My Name Is Debbie,” about the life of a post-operative male to female transsexual. The film is still being shown at Gender Identity conferences in tandem with a Canadian documentary featuring the actual operation.

The idea for a Dracula Club came to Youngson in 1965 while on a trip to Romania. Society Headquarters were set up in London, England, and New York City upon her return; and by the beginning of the 1970s the club had become a growing concern. In the meantime she found it necessary to give up filmmaking to devote her energies to the Dracula and Bram Stoker genres.

For the past forty-five years she has overseen the development of what has become a large international organization with 15 active divisions she mainly initiated. She acted, for ten years, as curator for the society’s Dracula Museum, which is now located in Vienna, Austria.

Youngson has written over forty books, pamphlets and brochures, both fact and fiction, on horror and fantasy themes, and as of 2009, was engaged in reorganizing the extensive Research Library which is available to registered club members under contract to a publisher.

Sources:

Youngson, Jeanne. Count Dracula and the Unicorn. Chicago: Adams Press, 1978.

———, comp. The Count Dracula Chicken Cookbook. Chicago: Adams Press, 1979.

———. The Further Perils of Dracula. Chicago: Adams Press, 1979.

———. A Child’s Garden of Vampires. Chicago: Adams Press, 1980.

———, ed. The Count Dracula Fan Club Book of Vampire Stories. Chicago: Adams Press, 1980.

———. Freak Show Vampire. Chicago: Adams Press, 1981.

———. The Bizarre World of Vampires. Chicago: Adams Press, 1996. 40 pp.

———, ed. Private Files of a Vampirologist: Case Histories & Letters. Chicago: Adams Press, 1997. 53 pp.

———, and Shelley Leigh-Hunt, eds. Do Vampires Exist? A Special Report from Dracula World Enterprises. New York: Dracula World Enterprises, 1993.

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