Philadelphia celebrates Dickens’ 200th birthday

By: Kathy Matheson, Associated Press
PHILADELPHIA (AP).- Past the glass case containing sketches for his novel “Oliver Twist,” beyond the handwritten letter to his publisher about Little Nell, and away from the first published installments of “Hard Times” sits Charles Dickens’ pet bird. The carefully preserved and stuffed raven named Grip — later the inspiration for Edgar Allan Poe’s famous poem — is perhaps the quirkiest part of the Philadelphia public library’s valuable Dickens collection, now on display to celebrate his bicentennial. The British author, who created unforgettable characters like Ebenezer Scrooge and David Copperfield, visited The City of Brotherly Love only twice. But two local benefactors bequeathed major collections of Dickensiana to the library, including 1,200 letters alone. And a rare statue of the