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Another point made clear is that it had nothing to do with the BSI founded the year before. As the revived BSIa€™s a€?Buttons,a€? Smith compiled a membership list for it dated December 5, 1940. In his 1961 BSJ essay, Dick Clarke chuckled about a€?setting the pips on the members of our revered rival societies.a€? One target was Dr. But less respect for the BSI was paid in a later, March 1941, letter to the New York Times. I regret exceedingly [Smith wrote the Pips later] that circumstances should have conspired to make inexpedient our little gathering last week at the Priory School-in-Exile. Smith tentatively rescheduled for the spring of 1942, but, as it turned out, there was a hiatus for the duration of the war, which absorbed their energies and sent some Pips off to distant corners of the world. Besides some of the Pips named above, our ranks have included such other illustrious members of our fraternal society, the Baker Street Irregulars, as William S. A A A  Another point made clear is that it had nothing to do with the BSI founded the year before.
A A  In his 1961 BSJ essay, Dick Clarke chuckled about a€?setting the pips on the members of our revered rival societies.a€? One target was Dr. A A A  Smith tentatively rescheduled for the spring of 1942, but, as it turned out, there was a hiatus for the duration of the war, which absorbed their energies and sent some Pips off to distant corners of the world. A A A  One Pip previously veiled in mystery is a story for which the world may now be prepared.
A A A  Besides some of the Pips named above, our ranks have included such other illustrious members of our fraternal society, the Baker Street Irregulars, as William S.
It has given an account of itself only twice before, without lifting the veil of discretion very high either time.a€?While The Pips is not a secret Society,a€? wrote our founding father, Richard W.
Given the accumulation of Pipsarchives now in hand, notably the papers of Jephro Rucastle, Reginald Musgrave, and Roaring Jack Woodley, and in the spirit of the mandatory declassification reviews which impose upon my secular life at the Arsenal, it is time to disclose a few additional details about the Pipsa€™ first few decades.
No evidence suggests that the five founding Pips were even aware of the BSIa€™s existence at the time. It included a new generation of Pips consisting of William Harmon Beers, Thayer Cumings, James R.


Our practice of each Pip reading a scholarly paper at each of our annual dinners dates back to 1939 a€” when originally Pips were required to write Sherlock Holmes stories based on the unrecorded cases. If we had read the Sacred Writings more closely, perhaps we could have foreseen the development of the unholy alliance that has turned our whole world topsy-turvy a€” need I remind you of the close knowledge of things Japanese possessed by the unspeakable Baron Gruner and the reverence in which he seemed to hold the Emperor Shomu and the Shoso-in near Nara?
We hear next from Dick Clarke in October 1943, off in the Navy, in a letter to Smith relating a wartime anecdote: a€?My son, who un-fortunately did not do well at your school, has been for several years in the Foreign Legion, and at the present writing is killing Germans in Corsica. James Ramsay Hunt, Jr., known to his comrades as McMurdo, was en-pipped in 1945, and attended the 1946 and a€™47 BSI dinners as well.
Watson,a€? Owen Frisbie wrote to Rex Stout on March 31, 1941, essaying a gentle approach, to no avail. Clarke, in his introduction to The Best of the Pips, 1956, a€?we have con-stantly maintained a passion for anonymity. And when they did become aware of it, they did not leap to salute it as the senior society. Louis, discoverer of Camden House in Baker Street, who found the pips set on him in May 1936.
While I cannot speak for our colleagues, the Baker Street Irregulars, I am confident they would approve our censure of this singularly flagrant misrepre-sentation. Owen Frisbie reminded others that year that they had agreed to each select and record a case as Dr. He also said a€?Black tie if convenient,a€? but by 1955, that yeara€™s notice from Tax Cumings read a€?Black tie, as usual.a€? Their better instincts had reasserted themselves. A clandestine side was hinted at by both his alias and Dick Clarkea€™s remark in a 1950 letter to the Pips, that dinner was to have been in May, a€?but unfortunately our host, McMurdo, was sent to the California lands on a lengthy and important case for the Pinkertons.a€? Hunt had been an investment banker before the war, but Naval Intelligence service proved a lasting indoctrination, and he returned to civilian life as the chief of the a€?New York Contact Branch,a€? part of the Central Intelligence Group, the OSSa€™s successor and CIAa€™s precursor. None of them deigned to attend the BSIa€™s annual dinners until 1945, ten years later, and not until several years after that did they consent to a scionic link to the BSI. But it is a point of distinction for The Five Orange Pips that Smith, who was so much to the BSI for so long, was a Pip first.
A separate list of the same date headed a€?Membership - Five Orange Pipsa€? gave names, addresses and noms de Canon of Gordon Knox Bell (a€?Henry Bakera€?), Richard W. Calling it now the Priory School-in-Exile, he summoned the Pips to dinner there on Friday, December 12.


In 1936, he had written a letter of appreciation to the author of The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes. Vincent Starrett was away at the time, and it was a year before he returned home to find Smitha€™s letter. Said work, however, must be substituted for by the offering of a thesis, poem, commentary, or other literary work worthy of the subject.a€? Pips put their papers on the sundial each year to this day. After some ten years in the Directora€™s office, and as chief of station in Paris, Hunt became deputy chief of clandestine operations at CIA, and finally deputy chief of counter-intelligence there to the truly spooky James Jesus Angleton. Smith learned of the BSI from Starrett, and finally wrote to Christopher Morley in August 1938.
No more proof is needed that The Five Orange Pips thought of themselves in those days as a separate and equal Sherlock Holmes society. Our annual gathering is now firmly ensconced in autumn mists, and has been held at the same private club on Murray Hill for the past five years. In more recent years, echoes of onea€™s secular vocation have been heard in Pips' titles as well.
Membership has never exceeded ten at any time, for no greater number could possibly satisfy the scholarly requirements in the time available at our dinners, nor permit the intimate sodality which means so much to Pips. Our papers are necessarily concise, imposing challenging standards of tight construction and precise writing, in addition to originality of concept and elegance of expression.
Our dinners are cocktails and cigars, elaborate cuisine and fine wines, crisp linen, bone china, and polished silver, banter and repartee of a high order, erudition not unmixed with zeal, an occasional infusion of sentiment, and a strong sense of fellowship. The Pips are now in our sixty-fifth year, and anticipate going on this way forever, the one fixed point in a changing age.



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