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22.03.2016

Written by Christopher Morleya€™s daughter Louise before her death in 2012, and brought out between covers now by her children, to the benefit of we who care about the founder of The Baker Street Irregulars!
Leavitt still claimed in the 1960s that Fuller had been an early BSI, albeit one largely ignorant of the Canon (a€™Thirties, p.
But readers will learn a good deal from this book about Morley himself, and his Three Hours for Lunch Club preceding the BSI and giving it much of its early tone and personalities. Louise Morley Cochrane closes this lengthy letter by remarking: a€?The letter was not signed.
Through the generosity of Christopher Music BSI, editor of the new Amateur Mendicant Society history From the Lower Vault (reviewed below by Donald Yates BSI), I have just read the late Russell McLauchlina€™s 1943 book Roaming Holidays: A Preface to Post-War Travel. McLauchlin, a Cornell man, became a lawyer after the World War, but instead pursued newspaper journalism as a career. Of Sherlock Holmes in this book therea€™s next to nothing, but of Baker Street Irregularitya€™s spirit, there is more than a little.
And a€?if I have any Anglo-Saxon blood at all, it is such a tiny drop that I do not know its origin. Alfred Street by McLauchlin, three years later (Detroit: Conjure House, 1946), does get very specific about Sherlock Holmes in one chapter.
And when Starrett created The Hounds of the Baskerville (sic) in Chicago in the mid 1940s, Detroit heard the view-halloo as well.
The paper, focusing on SCAN and the King of Bohemia in rhyme, was McLauchlina€™s hilariously titled a€?I Cana€™t Endorse This Czech,a€? which Edgar W.
Alfred Street is where McLauchlin had grown up at the turn of the century, and the book is a superb picture of a certain era in American life. And in the chapter a€?Alfred Street and Baker Streeta€? we learn how McLauchina€™s devotion arose. Not for worlds would I criticize that splendid society, being one of its most devout members.
The young men, who lived on Alfred Street in this centurya€™s early years, held the faith as firmly as ever did Christopher Morley or Msgr. I knew a great deal about Sherlock Holmes, some years before I learned to read, and so did all my Alfred Street companions. So we used to clamor for stories of Sherlock Holmes and my father, a great enthusiast, was always happy to comply, often relying on his own powers of invention for thrilling plots of an impromptu nature. And something like that went on in every household where Colliera€™s was delivered by the postman. The second reason, of course, was William Gillette, whose appearance as Sherlock Holmes, from his play of that name, was familiar by this time, and carried forward by Frederic Dorr Steelea€™s illustrations of those Return stories in Colliera€™s Weekly. Few works in our literature capture as this book does the time and ethos of the early Irregulars as they first encountered, and learned to not only love, but study, the Sherlock Holmes stories. Reviewed by Jon Lellenberg, a€?Rodger Prescotta€? BSI, the conductor of this website and of the BSI Archival Histories.
It was in 1984, at the BSIa€™s 50th anniversary dinner, that Bliss gave a talk about the Murray Hill Hotel era that began my own and othersa€™ interest in the BSIa€™s history.
Bliss was a stellar collector and bibliographer, making him sometimes a compelling commentator on the Canona€™s creation and its creatora€™s life. Sonia Fetherston, the author of this biography, despite not knowing Bliss, has constructed an informative portrait, deeply researched and thoughtfully written.
At the same time, Ia€™d love to know more about Blissa€™s first trip to London, when he was in his mid twenties.
But these factors do not subtract from an exceptionally valuable contribution to BSI history. In 1955, living in Dearborn, Michigan, just outside Detroit, I read a newspaper article about the Mendicants and soon was in touch with Russ McLauchlin.
When I left the Detroit area in 1957 to accept a position in Michigan Statea€™s Department of Foreign Languages, I discovered that an early member of the Mendicants, Page Heldenbrand, had established a Holmes scion there that he had designated as the Greek Interpreters of East Lansing.
Inspired by the work of Jon Lellenberg (the BSIa€™s Thucydides), Music has just brought forth his From the Lower Vault, which draws upon the Donovan file and Harrisa€™s papers and reminiscences to give us a sense of how a Sherlockian society comes into being, and displays the sparkling wit of Russ McLauchlin and Bob Harris in its pages, where all of McLauchlina€™s high-spirited periodic dispatches to the membership (his Encyclical Letters) are reproduced.
A recent incarnation is Baker Street Irregular by Jon Lellenberg in which a leading Sherlockian scholar and retired senior Pentagon staff officer takes his young New York lawyer, Woody Hazelbaker, through the major events in American history from the early 1930s to 1947, focusing on the beginnings and course of World War II, with an emphasis on the ever-increasing efforts at espionage and counter-espionage and the personalities involved.
Now Lellenberg, having written an entertaining spy novel about the Baker Street Irregulars, takes a new approach (at least for this reader) by producing a a€?companion volumea€? to Baker Street Irregular, addressing the background of the events and personalities in the original story with commentary and notes, both personal and objective. One topic given special attention, for example, is the long-lastingA  effort on the part of many to enlist the aid of the United States for Great Britain at war with Hitler prior to Pearl Harbor.
One thing becomes very clear as one reads Sources and Methods a€” the author had a wonderful time writing this book. Ambassador Ralph Earle II is a€?Joyce Cumings,a€? BSI, a veteran himself of the Defense and State Departments and of the diplomatic life, and a Washington D.C.
For the student of BSI history, the personnel of Christopher Morleya€™s Three Hours for Lunch Club tend to divide into three categories: ones who went on to significant roles in the Baker Street Irregulars, such as Elmer Davis, W.
Yet Bill Footner deserves more attention than I, and I daresay you, have given him previously. For this book, Christopher Morley penned a five plus page tribute to Footner, dated December 19th, 1944. By 1921, when the Three Hours for Lunch Club was being convened, Morley included Footner in this magic circle.
Its protagonist is a member of The Three Hours for Lunch Club, at the time it had taken Hobokena€™s Old Rialto and Lyric Theatre to stage period melodrama like After Dark and The Black Crook, relying on Hobokena€™s reputation as a free-range speakeasy zone to help attract Manhattan audiences over, with fair success for a year or two. The Foundry is an old brick building of a pleasing quaintness of design, faintly German in flavor. The affairs of theA Three-Hours-for-Lunch Club and the Hoboken Theatrical Company were inextricably commingled, and the two organizations shared the Foundry between them. The contrast of the elegant furniture with its rude surroundings tickled the fancy of the members. Morley, however much he enjoyed Bill Footnera€™s mystery novels, had a realistic view of their limited place in the genre.
Without trying to put it so picturesquely a€” who can compete with Christopher Morley in such a vein? For those interested in the BSIa€™s history, there are no surprise answers in New York, City of Cities, but it offers greater understanding of the setting in which the BSI was born.
And so on, if Morley had cared to set readers an examination: the possibilities in the City of Cities were endless. It is a distinct pleasure, particularly in these dumbed-down days, to encounter a solid work of old-fashioned, literate, witty disputation in the Canon; or rather, to honor Sauvagea€™s insistence, the Conan.
The manuscript of Sherlockian Heresies survived for many years as part of the paternal archive saved by the three Sauvage children, and a happy accident brought them into contact with the editors. Sauvagea€™s critical strictures in Sherlockian Heresies are not nitpickings; this is not a chapter of faults, so to speak. There is much more to challenge the engaged readera€™s beliefs and assumptions, and he takes serious issue with the findings of even the greatest among us in the past. Varian Fry was not just forthright and successful, he was such despite the direct opposition of the U.S. The Baring-Gould a€?editiona€? of his Annotated Sherlock Holmes is an offset-printed paste-up of various London: John Murray publications, and the texts reflect British usage as a result of this.
George Fletcher is a€?The Cardboard Box,a€? BSI, and claims to have retired as director of Special Collections at the New York Public Library.
In this, the first decade of the 21st century, anyone who can connect to the worldwide web can be deluged a€” and paralyzed a€” by a flood of virtual news, information, misinformation, blogs, opinions, images etc., on nearly any conceivable topic. Both the Senior Editor, Harry Thurston Peck, and the Junior Editor, Arthur Bartlett Maurice, of the American Bookman were obsessed with the doings of Sherlock Holmes. The result of the mania shared by Peck and Maurice was a devotion to tracking and commenting upon various strands of Sherlockiana, Doyleana, and numerous other detective appearances coeval to their publication. This is an excellent route to appreciating the growth and development of Sherlockian appreciation essentially from the beginning.
Why, the a€?Editorial Adventure Storya€? by Trumbull White, in which he narrates his long quest to acquire a yet-to-be written manuscript co-authored by Conan Doyle and E. Bret Hartea€™s first volume of Condensed Novels was entirely admirable, not quite so much may be said for the second. As an antiquarian bookseller, I cannot but be painfully reminded of an incident nearly forty years ago. Meanwhile, other not-to-be-missed nuggets in this compilation include a very late (1927) article by Conan Doyle which relates to his interest in Spiritualism.
Last, but certainly not least, this reprints various contributions by Vincent Starrett in advance of his immediate classic The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes.
It is difficult to imagine the state of Sherlockian studies or the history of the Baker Street Irregulars without thinking of Vincent Starrett. This collection begins with his earliest columns in the Chicago Daily News and continues when it moved to the Chicago Tribune. The book is necessarily episodic, but nevertheless it is possible to read it straight through with pleasure as well as by dipping into it at random.
This is a book for anyone who enjoys reading Vincent Starrett, but it may also serve as a resource to events in the Sherlockian world between 1942 and 1967.
A book that allows us to read something new by the Dean of Sherlockians (as Starrett was often called) is worth a place on our shelves. The starting-point for preparation of the original version of this key, in my 1998 BSJ Christmas Annual a€?Entertainment and Fantasya€?: The 1940 Dinner, was a partial one by Harry Hazard, Jr. Two listed in Smitha€™s minutes, Frank Henry and Malcolm Johnson, were old associates of Christopher Morley from his Doubleday years, and early Irregulars, but are not in the photograph nor in surviving copies of 221B from that night. Reviewing Russell McLauchina€™s 1946 memoir of his youth, Alfred Street, I reported that he wrote in one chapter about his boyhood interest in Sherlock Holmes going beyond mere enjoyable reading of the stories. He was born in 1894, and was nine years old when the Return of Sherlock Holmes stories began to appear in Colliera€™s Weekly in 1903. I was too young to know the wave of dismay that went round the English-speaking world when Sherlock and Professor Moriarty supposedly perished together in the Reichenbach Fall, but I can well remember the sombre effect on my ten-year-old spirits when I first read the closing paragraphs of the Memoirs. Elmer Davis, born the same year as Morley, wrote in his introduction to The Return of Sherlock Holmes in their 1952 Limited Editions Club appearance: a€?We who were born around the year 1890 have seen many things that we would just as soon have missed seeing. I can testify to the domestic excitement among subscribers to Colliera€™s, and gratefully acknowledge the self-abnegation of my parents who let me have first look at the issue that finally came in with The Return of Sherlock Holmes . Thanks to William Gillette, the second establishing factor in Russell McLauchlina€™s account in Alfred Street.
In the Sherlock Holmes Collections Newsletter, June 2009, I wrote the a€?50 Years Agoa€? column about Evelyn Waugha€™s 1959 biography of Msgr. I actually heard John Bennett Shaw explain the Cult of Sherlock Holmes and began my collecting mania with the Shaw 100, and organize my bookshelves by the religious categories: Canon, Apocrypha, and Writings about the Sacred Writings.
2011 will be the 100th anniversary of the lecture a€?Studies in the Literature of Sherlock Holmes,a€? and by it the founding of Sherlockian scholarship, by Ronald Knox. For those bibliographers, a€?Studies in the Literature of Sherlock Holmesa€? has been published six times, the first being The Blue Book (conducted by Oxford undergraduates) Vol.
As a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford in 1911, Christopher Morley heard Knoxa€™s lecture a€?Studies in the Literature of Sherlock Holmesa€? and wrote about it in Sherlock Holmes and Dr.
Of special note is that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote a letter to Knox dated July 5, 1912, which Waugh quotes in his book.
In the letter Conan Doyle plays the Game and refers to the commentators as the learned and profound Sauwosch and the no less erudite Piff-Pouff, and ended with a€?renewed amazementa€”at the trouble you have taken.a€? The Great Game and Sherlockian studies were blessed by the Literary Agent. There to supplement his meager stipend as chaplain he began writing classic detective stories, publishing six in all including five novels and a short story featuring Miles Bredon, who is employed as a private investigator by the Indescribable Insurance Company.
The criminal must be mentioned in the early part of the story, but must not be anyone whose thoughts the reader has been allowed to know.
No hitherto undiscovered poisons may be used, nor any appliance which will need a long scientific explanation at the end. No accident must ever help the detective, nor must he ever have an unaccountable intuition which proves to be right.
The stupid friend of the detective, the Watson, must not conceal from the reader any thoughts which pass through his mind: his intelligence must be slightly, but very slightly, below that of the average reader.
Twin brothers, and doubles generally, must not appear unless we have been duly prepared for them.
In his will, Ronald Knox left his manuscripts and copyrights to Evelyn Waugh and the royalties to the Asquith family.
The game of applying the methods of the a€?Higher Criticisma€? to the Sherlock Holmes canon was begun, many years ago, by Monsignor Ronald Knox, with the aim of showing that, by those methods, one could disintegrate a modern classic as speciously as a certain school of critics have endeavoured to disintegrate the Bible.
Waugh notes that thirty years after a€?Studies in the Literature of Sherlock Holmesa€? was published, it had brought Knox a form of fame he found tedious. Both Christopher Morley and Ronald Knox died in 1957.A Knox is gone but not forgotten and is especially remembered by us for starting Sherlockian scholarship.
Wella€” I am no expert in false-memory disorder, but must point out that none of us remembers Ronald Knox starting Sherlockian scholarship. We have come to think that a€?the Mastera€? and a€?the Sacred Writingsa€? are religious affectations derived from Knoxa€™s talk. As for Morley bringing Knoxa€™s paper to America, we dona€™t even know if he heard it in 1911. But let us assume Morley did a€” for it reinforces my point that he didna€™t bring it to America and spread the gospel. Only in 1926, said Morley in the Saturday Review of Literature that year, was his enthusiasm rekindled.
It was a game Morley proceeded to transfer to a luncheon club of his wherein the BSI gestated (or perhaps marinated) at his favorite Manhattan speakeasy.
In 1930 a€?Studies in the Literaturea€? came out in America, but it wasna€™t Morleya€™s kind of game, and he went his own way.
Roberts earned this accolade through two critical works, influential where Knox was not except in terms of refutable error that Roberts exposed in the lesser of them, a 1929 leaflet called A Note on the Watson Problem.
Smith explained that Knoxa€™s paper, appearing in Essays in Satire, a€?elicited a rejoinder in 1929 from S. He said so because of the biographical treatment of Watson that Roberts was commissioned to write in 1930.
Davis was also at Oxford in 1911, and his Constitution refers a€?the study of the Sacred Writings.a€? But Davis was a devotee long before, and in any event the term a€?Sacred Writingsa€? does not appear in Knoxa€™s talk.
There is no hint of Knox in that 1941 memoir about the BSIa€™s beginnings, nor in Morleya€™s rewriting of it in 1946 for the Baker Street Journal. We Baker Street Irregulars possess more than a few religious parallels in our structure and lore.A For example, Sherlockianaa€™s beginnings in a 1912 parody of contemporary biblical exegesis by Ronald A. Poor Jon, Ia€™m sorry to hear that you lost your faith in Knox and no longer believe that Christopher Morley brought the gospel to America. Roberts goes on to say that it was Desmond MacCarthy who first printed his early life of Watson essay in Life and Letters.A After he wrote about Watsona€™s later life the two essays were combined for the Criterion Miscellany series and there by association with Frank Morley. Vincent Starretta€™s The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes reprinted a€?A Final Examination Paper on the Life and Work of Sherlock Holmesa€? by E. The Knox brothers, much like the Morleys, had an early interest in Sherlock Holmes and wrote to Doyle in 1905 their a€?Sign of Foura€? letter.A Knox also wrote the Decalogue Symposium, an early play with Sherlock Holmes along with sixteen named characters from history and literature along with New Women, Bimetallists, Flagellants, Seventh Day Baptists, and Choruses of Virtue and Vices.
I realize some Sherlockians are deeply invested in the Knox myth, even unto multiple revenue streams for the BSI over the next two years. And people at that time, when so much was suddenly stirring in canonical scholarship, did not believe Knox was its founder. The question of the Sherlock Holmes canon is once more before the public, and it will not be out of place to make some remarks on it in these columns, the place in which the Higher Criticism of the Holmes saga was first originated by Frank Sidgwick in 1902. It is not unfair to say that the article then published by Sidgwick has determined the whole tendency of this branch of learning. I am interested in what you wrote me in your last letter: you spoke of Monsignor Ronald Knox and Mr.
In fact there is another important a€?Clinical Notea€? from Morley that you omitted to mention in your debate.
Well, like Lady Frances Carfax, therea€™s still some fight in the corpse, but we shall see. 1931a€™s Saturday Review comment nodded to Knox in the course of Morley lavishly praising S. Elmer Davis, born the same year as Morley, wrote in his introduction to The ReturnA  of Sherlock Holmes in their 1952 Limited Editions Club appearance: a€?We who were born around the year 1890 have seen many things that we would just as soon have missed seeing. 1.The criminal must be mentioned in the early part of the story, but must not be anyone whose thoughts the reader has been allowed to know. No one else could have written it.a€? We can agree, grateful for such intimate looks into the BSIa€™s foundera€™s life and thoughts. It records Morleya€™s growing sense of mortality in the late 1940s and early a€™50s, a glimpse of which we had previously on p. McLauchlin (1894-1975) was the Detroit News cultural critic for many years, and the book consists of 21 short broadcasts he did over radio station WWJ in the winter of 1942-43, when such things were scarcely imaginable at a time of global total war. In a€?The Waters of the Earth,a€? for example, he says something very akin to Christopher Morleya€™s remark about the Atlantic I recently reported; McL. There is no traditional reason why Scottish blood should leap when the name of England is spoken. McLauchlin grew up devoted to Sherlock Holmes, but in the 1930s and a€™40s he was close to Vincent Starrett in Chicago, not Christopher Morley in New York. McLauchlin wanted to do the same there a€” but appears to have worried about his status for doing so. He brings to life a time and a place for readers today whose later lives and experiences have been very different. This true faith, I am happy to say, has made much progress in late years and, in our own republic, it has solidified into an active fellowship which calls itself the Baker Street Irregulars. Not only did we consider him a flesh-and-blood mortal, but we had the vague idea that he lived in Detroit and that we were likely to see him walking down the street.
One was the Return stories appearing at the time in Colliera€™s Weekly, leading to their parents buying bonus volumes of A Study in Scarlet and The Sign of the Four: a€?this economical acquisition of a pair of masterpieces naturally prompted the close perusal of the same by our elders, producing much Sherlockian conversation around every fireside on the street.
He was careful to inform us that all his storiesa€”even his excursions into fancya€”had been collected and written down by a certain Dr.
In April of 1903, when McLauchlin was eight years old (he remembered having been five), Gillette brought his play to Detroita€™s Opera House, a€?and every young gentleman on Alfred Street demanded, with the utmost in passion, to be taken to see him, even if the family were in consequence obliged to temporize with the butcher.a€? The effect was instantaneous, and permanent. He came into the BSI in 1944, and almost at once received one of the first fifteen Titular Investitures from Edgar W. He provided encouragement to the young, and was generous not only with his time and knowledge, but with physical items, duplicates he had acquired in his collecting.
Ita€™s a shame it shows signs of having been cut down by the publisher to make a a€?marketablea€? book well under 200 pp. The groupa€™s original sparking plug was the ebullient, effervescent Scot, Russell McLauchlin, for many years the entertainment critic at the Detroit News.
I had been a Holmes admirer from an early age, but my contact with his life and times had up until then been limited to the pages of my copy of the Doubleday Complete Sherlock Holmes, which my mother had given me on the occasion of my graduation from junior high school in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1944.
After a single meeting, the membership unaccountably dispersed and nothing more was heard of it, although the young Heldenbrand had subsequently become an active participant in the activities of New Yorka€™s Baker Street Irregulars. Also prominently displayed are the inimitable contributions of the comic genius of the late Bill Rabe BSI, whose gift for offbeat humor was unmatched. Yates (a€?The Greek Interpreter,a€? BSI) is retired chairman of the Romance Languages Department at Michigan State University, and today presides over The Napa Valley Napoleons of St.
He does this in an orderly and well-organized but highly personal way; for each chapter he begins with a synopsis, then a€?Sources and Methodsa€? (a phrase fraught with meaning, or meanings, from his Pentagon days), followed by People and finally Places and Things.
This is shown through Woodya€™s eyes in New York and Washington in 1940 and a€™41, and his close encounters not only with prominent history-book Americans like Dean Acheson and Wild Bill Donovan, and British agents in the States at the time, but with Baker Street Irregulars as well like Elmer Davis, Rex Stout, and Fletcher Pratt, who did play such clandestine roles before America itself entered the war at the end of 1941. Born in Hamilton, Ontario, in 1879, he came to New York at the age of nineteen to be an actor; got occasional parts in legitimate theater, and occasional vaudeville turns as well, and achieved a certain sort of immortality by doubling as Alf Bassick and Sir Edward Leighton in a road company of William Gillettea€™s Sherlock Holmes. Footner had published at least two more mysteries by then (Thievesa€™ Wit and The Owl Taxi), and would write many more.
A great central hall with a gallery all around, and the mighty traveling crane still hanging overhead; and room after room of different sizes and shapes, and all on different levels.


Morley gave New York, City of Cities nearly a page and a half in the December 11, 1937, Saturday Review of Literature. New York City Guide (1939), 680 indexed pages packed with an amazing amount of information about New York in these decades. Footner is interested in the feminine side too, Hattie Carnegie and Elsa Maxwell, and the anonymous corps of stenographers, shopgirls and waitresses without whom the city would grind to a halt faster than you could say Fiorello La Guardia, as well the haute monde. He can and does wax poetic at points, for example his description of night falling and the citya€™s lights coming on at twilight as seen from the Rainbow Grill, sixty-five floors atop Rockefeller Center, still new at the time. The Waldorf-Astoria gets two pages, but many New York hotels, and their bars and restaurants which were vital to the citya€™s life, get unaccountably short shrift. It may even help explain why, in the year of its publication, there had been no BSI annual dinner, and wouldna€™t be one a month later in January a€™38, either a€” not until 1940, after Edgar W. Of course, there is no overlooking the fact that the author left this book unfinished at his death twenty-two years ago, so that, rather like the appearance of the Hound in its own day, it is of necessity a retrospective work rather than a harbinger of restored better times.
The Sauvage I knew, from the final dinners at Cavanagha€™s to the end of his life, was an older cosmopolitan New Yorker: a world-traveling journalist with a command of the most limpid, idiomatic prose in American English (and, I am confident, equally adept in at least two or three other languages), who spoke with a pronounced Maurice Chevaliera€“like French accent, something that was and is simply not noticeable in New York. Mesdames McKuras and Vizoskie are to be congratulated heartedly for their excellent work of investigation, reconstruction, editing, and annotating. 1924), and thus was one of that vanished breed able to read certain of the adventures as they were published.
The only area approaching this minor art form is his distaste for those aspects of American punctuation that put terminal punctuation inside closing quotation marks; then again, the editors did not permit this to survive their work, so the minor issue is moot in this publication. What he consistently demands is that it be the Conan, and he writes often and strongly of Conanicity and the like. For that matter, he is doubtful that the actual residence was even on Baker Street, let alone its putative location on that street, whether the bifurcated thoroughfare of the Victorian era or the long single stretch of the decades since.
Of course, I agree with the editors that Sauvage primarily used the Doubleday edition, with its errors and Americanisms, occasionally turning to the Baring-Gould Annotated for commentary.
Previously Astor Curator of Printed Books and Bindings at the Pierpont Morgan Library, before that he was the director of Fordham University Press, where he published the Baker Street Journal for some happy years. A hundred years ago, a principal delivery system for those kinds of material was the monthly magazine.
In fact, Peck claimed to be a€?the only true Sherlockiana€?; whereas, the annotators of this collection allege (p. They demonstrate the state of mind of a youngish Starrett trying to work from his reportera€™s notebooks, showing his growth toward writing his biography. Joyce (a€?The Yellow-backed Novel,a€? BSI) is a rare books dealer, and a long-time member of Chicagoa€™s bibliophile society, The Caxton Club. Novelist, short story writer, poet, critic, columnist, bookman, he was the voice of literary Chicago in the middle of the twentieth century. Starrett was a man of his times and commented in passing on his times and the people who moved in it. A dozen appendices record such topics as a Chicago Daily News article about the discovery of the real author of a€?The Case of the Man Who Was Wanted,a€? a list of pastiches involving Sherlock Homes and Gilbert & Sullivan, a list of Basil Rathbonea€™s movie roles before Sherlock Holmes, Ronald Knoxa€™s a€?10 Commandments of the Detective Story,a€? an essay on Sherlock Holmes by Christopher Isherwood, and Jay Finlay Christa€™s abbreviations for the stories.
There is one column, for June 24, 1945, for which this reviewer wishes to have been told more by the editor. Harris (a€?The Creeping Man,a€? BSI) described the spirit of the BSIa€™s annual dinners at the Murray Hill Hotel and Cavanagha€™s in the 1930s through the 1960s, before growing numbers brought it to an end by forcing the annual dinner to move to many round tables (instead of close proximity as shown in the 1947 photograph on the websitea€™s The BSI page), in huge banquet rooms in overplush hotels and clubs, ever since. Colling, a theater and broadcast media friend of Morleya€™s from their Hoboken theater days in the late 1920s. The intolerable pathos of the cigarette-case on the rocky ledge; the firm clear handwriting of that last stoic message! And for another twelve pages of his introduction, Elmer Davis expounded upon the exegetical scholarship that was applied, initially by excited young readers like himself in 1903-04, to the Adventures and Memoirs stories as well in light of the revelations of the Return stories in Colliera€™s Weekly. Smith was born in 1894, like McLauchlin, hence nine years old when the Return stories began to appear in Colliera€™s. I shall look into Edgara€™s correspondent at the time, Vincent Starrett, but I know that in his autobiography Born in a Bookshop he related being captivated by the historical novels of A. Sveum championed the Baker Street Irregulars party line that Ronald Knox created Sherlockian scholarship, and Christopher Morley brought it to America and spread the gospel.
Knox, so I foolishly challenged him to come to Minnesota and, using Oxford Union rules, debate the Motion that Ronald Knox founded Sherlockian Scholarship.
I thought everyone knew that Sherlockian Higher Criticism and calling Holmes the Master was due to Knoxa€™s religious influence. Living in Shropshire, he was able to devote his time to translating the Vulgate Bible into English, a project that took nine years. Since then, the thing has become a hobby among a select set of jesters here and in America. Knox wrote to an editor who asked for a review, a€?I cana€™t bear books about Sherlock Holmes. We werena€™t around in 1911, nor in the early a€?30s when the scholarship took off and the BSI and Sherlock Holmes Society were founded.
It was as you say a rather juvenile talk, with its Monsieur Piff-Pouffs and Herr Bilgemanns. Others had done so a decade earlier, Arthur Bartlett Maurice in The Bookman in America and Frank Sidgwick in The Cambridge Review in England, in January 1902 as Hound of the Baskervilles was appearing serially.
Someone else did, and was in the thoughts of the BSIa€™s and Sherlock Holmes Societya€™s scholars and founders in 1934. Morley was inflicting examinations in the Canon upon his brothers Felix and Frank long before 1911, and forming, in turn-of-the-century Baltimore, a Sherlock Holmes club with other youngsters. By the time Morley arrived in Oxford in 1910 at age 20, having discovered girls, booze, and ambition, his boyhood Sherlock Holmes enthusiasm had gone dormant a€” and by his own admission it was still dormant when he came home in 1913 to begin his career as a writer. Not by Knox, but an unnamed printer he met in New York; and what rekindled it was an impromptu trivia game of the kind Morley had often played as a boy with brothers and chums. Doctor Watson, published by Faber & Faber in early 1931, had tremendous impact upon devotees on both sides of the ocean.
Watson: A Chronology of Their Adventures also gave Roberts first place among students of the Canon, while referring to Knox but once. There was little religious terminology in Knoxa€™s paper, which satirized German scholarship, not religious rites.
What Morley identified specifically as the BSIa€™s inspirations were William Gillettea€™s Farewell Tour of 1928-32, Robertsa€™ Doctor Watson, Starretta€™s Private Life, and Davisa€™s Roberts-besotted review of Starrett in the Saturday Review.
Knoxa€™s talk cracked up Oxford lads compelled to read nineteenth-century biblical criticism, but in our scholarship and movement, Knox is only a latter-day saint: no evidence of having been in Morleya€™s mind when his zest for Holmesiana was revived in 1926, nor when he turned his luncheon club into a Baker Street club, nor when he founded the BSI. Our scholarshipa€™s starting point is Frank Sidgwicka€™s examination of Watsonian chronology in 1902, and our movement was triggered by S. In that year the editor of the Cambridge Review invited me to review the omnibus edition of the short stories of Sherlock Holmes together with R. If there is anything pleasant in criticism, it is finding out what we arena€™t meant to find out. Sveum quoting an article of mine from the Baker Street Journal at me, but that was written in 1992, when my BSI history researches were still young. Our Wiggins recently re-asserted the faith in an encyclical letter of sorts to Irregulars, though strangely it did not arrive in my in-box.
He was mainly concerned with pointing out discrepancies a€” and very serious ones a€” in the dates of the a€?Hound of the Baskervillesa€?; and since that time, critics have faithfully followed his method, have concentrated their attention on questions of chronology, of text, of the minutiae of the literary technique. His Chicago Tribune column was written not for us, but for the masses, a€?the great unobservant public, who can hardly tell a weaver by his tooth or a compositor by his left thumb.a€? He knew better. We are Sherlockians and Irregulars, and should adhere to what Christopher Morley called a€?the metal actuality of Baker Street doctrine.a€? Like Sherlock Holmes, we do not take things on faith.
Parliament and the Savoy Hotel were blown up and the Minister of Traffic was hanged from a lamp-post. Morleya€™s column in the Baker Street Journala€™s debut issue would have been a new opportunity to say he heard Father Knox give his talk at Oxford in 1911, or cite its supposed foundation of our scholarship, or the making of BSI. Of course this is not a declaration of Knoxa€™s a€?supposed foundation of our scholarship, or the making of BSI,a€? as you say.
Robertsa€™s pamphlet Doctor Watson (1931) -- a€?a delightful bit of serio-spoofa€? -- stating that a€?his essay, together with that of Father Ronald Knox in Studies in Satire [sic], is a necessary addition to the Holmes-Watson codex.a€? (Saturday Review of Literature, March 7, 1931, p. I have to wonder why Morley put these references to Knoxa€™s paper in Stanley Hopkinsa€™ mouth, not his own.
The book had been proposed by Morleya€™s visionary friend Buckminster Fuller back in the mid-1970s, in order to record a€?the friendship between two quite disparate personalities of the twen-tieth century, and the influence they had on each other in the course of their lives.a€? Morley, a man of letters if one ever lived, described his friend in 1938 as a€?an engineer, inventor, industrial designer, a very botanist of structure and materialsa€? and a€?a student of Trend,a€? and the experience of knowing each other was a bit like C.
Leavitt as an a€?Holmesian aboriginea€? during the early years of that decade, and he appears on Morleya€™s mid-a€™30s membership list for the BSI (p. It is the inferiority complex of the newly cultivated, the intellectual climbers, that gives them their passion for dressing up and going to public festivity. 430 of Irregular Crises of the Late a€™Forties, in a March 1950 letter of his to Doubledaya€™s Kenneth McCormick about Morleya€™s fears for his health. Smitha€”Morley remarking to Fuller in 1944 about having sent Smith (perhaps prophetically) a copy of The Martyrdom of Man, a€?the wonderful book so highly praised by Sherlock Holmes.a€? But even in his final years Morley went on writing poetry, his daughter noted.
His vignettes are based a good deal on pre-war travel of his, from his home statea€™s and Canadaa€™s lake districts and wildernesses to sites in Europe, not only ones like London and Paris, but obscure ones as well both then and now.
Ia€™m obliged for my language and all that my language implies, including Shakespeare and Dickens. Still, what sort of audience did he and it expect for a book about travel in a world convulsed by war? Smith looked up McLauchlin and the Amateur Mendicants on trips to General Motors headquarters in Detroit, and was greatly impressed, reporting to Christopher Morley in March 1947 that the AMS were a€?easily, under Russ McLauchlina€™s guidance, the most erudite of the Scions. The nature of young boys is largely unchanged, no doubt, but the sense of innocence at that time, where a€?the wara€? meant the three-month Spanish-American War, or even somebody elsea€™s Boer War, not the carnage of World War I or II, stirs a yearning in the readera€™s breast.
Youthful ears overheard these discussions and the name of the detective grew familiar.a€? a€” a pattern doubtless replicated in many American homes then where early Irregulars were children. Watson, who enjoyed the incalculable advantage of being the great mana€™s friend and room-mate. Later he lived in Pittsburgh, where in the 1970s he mentored its Fifth Northumberland Fusiliers. Bliss evoked that earlier Baker Street Irregularity when giants in the earth became Irregulars, writing so much to edify and entertain everyone else in it. I was one of his beneficiaries in both ways, but it was his time and knowledge I appreciated most, working with him on his superlative contributions to Baker Street Miscellanea when I was one of its editors, and on an essay by him for my 1987 book The Quest for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Rufus Tucker (a€?The Greek Interpreter,a€? 1944), an economist who lived close by but worked in Manhattan at General Motors Overseas with Edgar W.
Randall (a€?The Golden Pince-Nez,a€? of Scribnera€™s Bookstore on Fifth Avenue) first attended the annual dinner in 1940, not 1941. Not a term I would use, though all the other fine things she says about him there and on the page following are accurate.
The fact that by 1981 he could remark upon the swollen size of the BSI dinner, that it had reached a€?the maximum number of people but a minimum amount of fun,a€? made him not a curmudgeon, but a sober observer of an historical reality that neither Julian Wolff nor his successors have been prepared to address. These days the BSI prints books in runs of only 100 copies, a far cry from the 750 it once needed to print for my last three Archival History chronological volumes, all of them sold out today.
He was soon joined at the helm of the Mendicants by attorney Robert Harris, and together they guided the sciona€™s activities with the rollicking blend of Baker Street nostalgia and encouragement for tongue-in-cheek scholarship that has somehow always effortlessly imposed itself on such gatherings.
Russ invited me to the groupa€™s next meeting and asked if I could compose something with a Sherlockian connection to read on that occasion. I, for one, convey to Music my profound thanks for his masterful job of editing, a product of his dedication to the cause that motivates us all a€” keeping ever green the memory of Sherlock Holmes and Baker Street. Each and every one of these subsets is a source of data covering many, many subject areas, and the whole creates a rich canvas for readers. The tense and uncertain atmosphere of those days comes across with clarity, and is a good example of Lellenberga€™s sense of atmosphere in evoking BSI history unknown to today's Irregulars. And like many would-be actors who come to New York, he did a lot of other things as well to make ends meet, including turning to writing. One reason why his detective tales have always been for me the perfect laxative is that I usually read them when I should be doing something else.a€? Morley had read them all, from Footnera€™s first one published in 1918. At this time it had not been altered from its original state beyond what could be accomplished by sweeping and scrubbing. The members never tired of conducting visitors through the endless, empty rooms, running up and down the odd steps, and climbing the casual ladders while they pointed out the future library, billiard-room, the private dining-room, etc., etc. He limits himself for the most part to Manhattan Island, and goes about in his sleuthy fashion, inconspicuously conning and eavesdropping. Ia€™m currently preparing my long-overdue a€?sources and methodsa€? companion volume to my novel Baker Street Irregular, and felt forced to go back to an early section identifying and discussing the books about New York per se which informed my novel a€” three about the city itself (all but one published in the 1930s), and seven more about life there in the 1930s and a€™40s.
With that, and New York, City of Cities (1937) by Hulbert Footner, a detective-story writer friend of Christopher Morleya€™s and a fellow member of the Three Hours for Lunch Club, the prospective Irregular novelist may be able to do without the eleven books above.
The Algonquin, despite manifold literary and theatrical associations, gets not a single word.
Smith had arrived to take over the labors of dinner-arranging, notice-mailing, and negotiations with waiters that Morley eschewed. I heard that Bill had gone (suddenly, without long misery, as he would most have wished) and I carried onto the hearth the great oak stump I had chosen. Given an assignment some six decades ago on postwar American exports to Europe, Sauvage interviewed a certain gracious senior official of overseas operations for General Motors at his office on Broadway at 57th Street. One such magazine, The Bookman, appeared with different content on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Bret Harte represented the United States in the role of Consul to a couple of European cities.
He not only wrote one of the best biographies of Sherlock Holmes in The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1933), but kept green the memory of the Master in his weekly a€?Books Alivea€? column for the Chicago Tribune. At the very end (before a most able index) there is a chronology of the Life and Times of Vincent Starrett, with dates and events in the world beyond Starrett as well as those in his own life.
To keep the spirit alive, we have this department for occasional items of Irregular controversy. 15), plus the signatures in surviving copies of 221B: Studies in Sherlock Holmes, edited by Vincent Starrett, that were distributed to the attendees that evening as the first collection of BSI Writings about the Writings. CBS News broadcast, according to Basil Davenport in a letter to his mother several days later thata€™s in his papers at Yalea€™s Beinecke Library. Warren) Force and Warren Jones, are presumably in the photograph since their signatures are in surviving copies of 221B from that night, but they cannot be even tentatively identified at this time. 20 against the wall behind Steele and Morley has sometimes been taken to be a Murray Hill Hotel waiter. I know of no explicit statement by him about reading the stories at that time in that magazine, but ita€™s hard to doubt it when we read, in his very first letter to Vincent Starrett, dated October 15, 1936 (found in its entirety on pp. Conan Doyle before he was by Sherlock Holmes; and being born in 1886, he had reached a somewhat less impressionable age than had Morley, Davis, Smith, and McLauchlin in 1903.
Hill Barton,a€? BSI) at the 2010 Sherlock Holmes Collections weekend at the University of Minnesotaa€™s Andersen Library.
Your humble Irregular historian endeavored to demonstrate that this is a myth a€” myth of long standing, but myth nonetheless.
2 (July 1912), 111-32, and was included in Edgar Smitha€™s 1958 The Incunabular Sherlock Holmes and James Edward Holroyda€™s 1967 Seventeen Steps to 221B. The lecture was a mock-serious inquiry into inconsistencies in the Sherlock Holmes stories, and a satire on Biblical Higher Criticism.
Ronald Arbuthnott Knox was an English theologian, priest and crime writer born February 17, 188, 122 years ago. The Waugh biography was controversial by implying that Cardinal Bourne, Archbishop of Westminster, did not use Knoxa€™s talents wisely.
The rule of the game is that it must be played as solemnly as a county cricket match at Lorda€™s: the slightest touch of extravagance or burlesque ruins the atmosphere.
What you think you remember is what others have told you a€” and odds are, they werena€™t around then either. Sveum in mentioning where it appeared over the decades glossed over the fact that it didna€™t appear anywhere Holmes devotees could read it until 1928 in England and 1930 in America, when it was included in Knoxa€™s Essays in Satire. But when I started researching the BSIa€™s history, reading dozens of essays and hundreds of letters by our founding fathers, slowly it dawned upon me that they werena€™t talking about Ronald Knox. The evangelistic Morley had all the makings of a cult leader from the start, without Knox to inspire him.
On the sole occasion he referred to it as having been given at Oxford while he was there, in 1944 in Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Leavitta€™s indispensable a€?Origin of 221B Worship,a€? a first-hand account of our origins, tells how competitive examination in the Canon at those lunches in the late a€™20s and early a€™30s gave birth to the BSI. Another that October was Vincent Starretta€™s Private Life of Sherlock Holmes a€” a rapturous tribute barely mentioning Knox. Roberts in A Note on the Watson Problem, and the foundation for what was to follow may be said by that action to have been laid.a€? The importance of that observation by a student, contributor, and editor of Holmesian scholarship like Edgar W. It not only entranced, it showed what could be done, prompting further effort by others a€” not least Christopher Morley. Only much later was Knox grafted onto our movement retroactively, assigned a place he had not occupied in the 1920s and a€™30s. As I said in my opening statement, I was raised in the Knox faith myself; it was only considerably later that I realized how little there is to it. But a kind Irregular forwarded it to me, and in it I saw quoted the same two authorities on behalf of the Knox myth. Knoxa€™s paper did not set the tone for all subsequent students of the Canon, certainly not for Starrett himself whose 1933 Private Life of Sherlock Holmes did not echo the Knox tone in the slightest, which is why we still read it when we dona€™t bother to read Knox.
However, he faces one basic problem in trying to prove that the Knox essay was the basis for Sherlockian scholarship. It opens thus:a€?a€? a€?All the Knoxes loved jokes and spoofs, as Penelope Fitzgerald shows in her wonderful joint biography of them, The Knox Brothers, just republished. The piece in question is not, actually, a trial version of the classic biography; it is, rather, a gentle but well-merited attack on the atrocious Holmesian scholarship of that other a€?incunable,a€™ Monsignor (then Father) Knox. Smith did not bother to reprint Knoxa€™s paper, then or later, nor has any other editor since. But ita€™s an enthusiastic evaluation of Knoxa€™s essay and certainly more than a call for attention to any student of the Corpus Watsonicum.
But it sheds some new light on Morleya€™s composition of Sherlock Holmesa€™s Prayer in 1944, which Fuller was one of the first to see, and provides interesting insights into Morleya€™s relationship with people swept into the early BSIa€™s orbit, like Don Marquis in the 1930s and Morleya€™s secretary Elizabeth Winspear at 46W47 in the 1940s, until she went off to war. He was not a great nor even a very good poet, but he loved doing it, and despite his first strokea€™s handicap a€?he was still able to write enough poems to complete a final small collection called Gentlemena€™s Relish (1955).a€? One poem, first published in the Saturday Review of Literature on October 2, 1954, was a€?Elegy to a Railroad Station,a€? a tribute by an ageing man who still considered himself a Main Line Boy, to the Broad Street Station of his Philadelphia childhood that had been razed in 1953. I suspect that he and I are the only Baker Street Irregulars whoa€™ve ever been to TromsA?, Norway, above the Arctic Circle.
Ia€™m obliged to England for the law under which I live, for the English common law, which was developed through many centuries, is the law of America today, although many heedless Americans do not realize it.
He died in 1988, one of the BSIa€™s great personalities and scholars a€” the a€?Prince of the Realma€? of this booka€™s title, taken from my obituary for him in the Baker Street Journal at the time. He made a strong impression upon Smith and Morley to be included so soon in the first crop of Titular Investitures, and repaid their confidence in him through the decades that followed as one of the BSIa€™s leading collectors and scholars, writing for the Baker Street Journal, Baker Street Miscellanea, and his own annual, eagerly awaited, Baker Street Christmas Stockings which have been collected in book form. He was a gentleman and scholar in the best sense of that expression, and a model contributor to the Writings About the Writings. For example, Peter Blau in his foreword refers to it containing the landmark talk that Bliss gave at the 1976 BSI dinner about BSI a€?poetess laureatea€? Helene Yuhasova, but it is not present.
While Park Avenue north of Grand Central was fashionable, the Murray Hill Hotel was south of it. But this book has made it into a second printing, which shows people still care about the BSIa€™s history. It was during this rebirth of the society, beginning in 1975, that Tom Voss joined the group.
Some travel-adventure books about Canada did not make a noticeable mark, so he turned to mysteries next, more successfully this time. But Morley had read it even earlier, he bragged: a€?I read it in MS, way back about 1916, when I was contact man for Bill at his publishers.


No mere scrubbing could really clean up a place in which the grime of decades of iron-founding was ingrained. He is in a sense a stool pigeon between the mystery (New York itself) and the inquisitive reader.
Footner, like every other whose heart is capable of stir, does not see only our great ladya€™s moods of cockeyed comedy and exhibitionism. Morley may have been too darned busy enjoying New York instead; and tracking down the answers to the a€?little examination paper on Mr. They have brought this book close to the form its author would have achieved had he been vouchsafed the time to do so. The niceties of selling vehicles in Europe took ten minutes; the next two hours were devoted to Sherlock Holmes.
Individual Foreign Service officers assisted Fry at the risk of their careers, just as, at sea, the U.S. Barrie, Jack London, Harding Davis, Anna Katherine Green, as well as his predecessors in Poe, Gaboriau, and Vidocq.
As poor as any is a€?The Stolen Cigar Case,a€? in which Sherlock Holmes as Hemlock Jones deduces a condition of affairs which puts an end to his long association with Watson. 179, Starrett relates an anecdote at the Cliff Dwellersa€™ Club in Chicago which involved Arnold Bennett and Karl Edwin Harriman. Not every column mentioned Sherlock Holmes, but just as King Charlesa€™ head kept popping up in the manuscript Mr.
Interestingly, the very first discusses the manuscript of a€?The Case of the Man Who Was Wanted,a€? suspected at that time to be an actual undiscovered Sherlock Holmes story written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Whenever a person or event might not be understood by todaya€™s reader, editor Murdock has inserted a footnote of explanation. It begins almost a decade before Starretta€™s birth with the birth of Carl Sandburg, another noted Chicago literary figure and friend of Starretta€™s whose birthday is also that of Sherlock Holmes, January 6.
Hatch of Minneapolis, who supplied Starrett with some statistics regarding the detective story. Ia€™m obliged to EnglandA  for the law under which I live, for the English common law, which was developed through many centuries, is the law of America today, although many heedless Americans do not realize it.
But since hea€™s the only person in the photograph young enough to have been Peter Williams, who from the 1920 U.S. But I shall investigate and report, and would be happy for any other examples readers of this may send me.
Ronald Knox in his 1918 autobiography A Spiritual Aeneid writes that part of a dona€™s function is to read papers to undergraduate societies. Certainly you know a great deal more about it than I do,a€? and he continued for four pages to discuss the criticism in detail.
The sixth and last child of an Anglican Bishop, he attended Eton College and took a first in Classics at Balliol College, Oxford, in 1905. He wrote the introduction to The Best Detective Stories 1928-1929, and in it he codified the rules of the gamea€”and Golden Age mysteries were considered games, different than our game. They were brilliant, came from middle-class families, were educated at Oxford, were temporary schoolmasters, wrote satire, and enjoyed the company of the British Catholic aristocracy. XIV, Detective Stories, the rules that he first wrote in 1924 were reprinted with commentary. Watson: The Chronology of Their Adventures and Thomas Blakeneya€™s Sherlock Holmes: Fact or Fiction?
And after that, only a few times at infrequent intervals, the last 26 years ago, and never in the Baker Street Journal or Sherlock Holmes Journal. Knoxa€™s paper, in fact, is only the seventh in the anthologya€™s chronologically ordered contents.
And the decisive factor was another development of which Starrett and Morley were keenly aware, and led to Englanda€™s society as well: a 1931 monograph riveting Holmes devotees as Knoxa€™s paper had not. Bella€™s anthology Baker Street Studies, said: a€?It is true that as far back as 1912 a young priest named Ronald Knox had contributed an article to the Oxford Blue Book in which a tongue-in-cheek probing of some esoterica in the Saga was tentatively undertakena€? a€” words lending little support to the idea that Knox was our scholarshipa€™s fountainhead.
It was in Morleya€™s hands quickly, and he praised it lavishly in the Saturday Review of March 7, 1931. But in 1966 he was writing about events nearly forty years earlier; he was now seventy-nine years old and in the last year of his life.
In the early 1930s, Starrett paid very little attention to Knox, as wea€™ve seen a€” but great attention to S.
As boys, for example, they wrote a letter to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, denouncing inconsistencies in the Sherlock Holmes stories and including five dried orange pips, in allusion to the threatening letter in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.
Robertsa€™ Note on the Watson Problem as a a€?gentle but well-merited attack on the atrocious Holmesian scholarship of that other a€?incunablea€™, Monsignor (then Father) Knox.a€? BSJ (OS), vol.
Roberts as the two a€?incunablesa€? (whatever that meant,) of your modern Baker Street studies, but I dona€™t think you knew that Mr.
Perhaps Steve Rothman, reading this, will rush to do so in the so-called Year of Ronald Knox coming in 2011, in hopes Ia€™ll stop pointing out this embarrassing fact. Perhaps one clue is found in the remark a€?I have a sad feeling that many of your members only read their own stuffa€? -- for by that time Morley was very tired of the BSI, in fact declaring that there would be no more BSI dinners (a draconian position from which Edgar Smith dislodged him only with great difficulty).
Never before, to my knowledge, had Morley mentioned Knox anywhere, let alone describe his 1911 paper. Snowa€™s The Two Cultures coming together and exploding like the fissile spheres of an atom bomb. The non-BSI journalist Henry Morton Robinson averred, in a December 4, 1943, Saturday Review of Literature article (which the BSI did not regard highly; it appears as ch. There are welcome references to Christ Cellaa€™s and Billy the Oysterman in Morleya€™s literary and social life, and to the Saturday Review of Literature where the BSI presented itself to the world. EG the Phi Beta Kappa campaign for Defense (of Intellectual Freedom!) They have sent me a booklet: a€?Phi Beta Kappa Fortifies Its Sector in the Defense of the Humanitiesa€™ etc.
Ia€™m obliged to England for about 85 per cent of the social conventions which make community living a pleasant thing.
But the answera€™s in the reading of it: it was written and published for civilized men and women waiting and working for that war to end, with democracy victorious. 205, a€?received and transmitted such masterworks from and to the effete of the East, and commonfolk like ourselves elsewhere. Yet he was a man of the humanities too, and not of Sherlock Holmes and Conan Doyle alone: Japanese art as well, with a collection of prints that are at Pittsburgha€™s Carnegie Mellon Museum today. By the 1980s he was the chief representative of the BSIa€™s Murray Hill Hotel era and its values, but he was never a relic himselfa€”he was instead someone very much engaged with the present. Sonia also does an excellent job on Bliss as a collector, and how he made his collection work for him, and thereby for the rest of us as well. While vastly respected by Julian Wolff, our Commissionaire from 1961 through most of the a€™80s, I dona€™t know of him ever involving Bliss significantly in the running of the BSI.
Of some three dozen mystery novels, his final one, Orchids to Murder, was published by Harper & Brothers in 1945, following Footnera€™s death from a heart attack the previous November 25th.
He was the first author professionally assigned to me when I started work at Doubledaya€™s, in 1913. Somebody had presented the Foundry with a set of elaborately carved and lacquered Chinese Chippendale for the dining-room. On racial issues, he is enlightened for his era, respectful of New Yorka€™s black community, and fascinated by Harlem and its society.
In the poeta€™s truest vein is his description of the lights at dusk seen from the RCA building. Where is the extra show-window that rises from the pavement at night to fill the front doorway of the store?
Navy actively cooperated with the Forces FranA§aises Navales Libres (Free French Naval Forces) before Pearl Harbor, in direct disobedience of official policy. Not that I would not love to leisurely flip through all of the four decades of The Bookman, but the essence of this volume is that Dahlinger and Klinger have already extracted the full contributions, and reorganized them chronologically and by genre (Chronicle and Comment, Letters to the Editor, Articles, Pastiches and Parodies, and Reviews), giving a contemporary flow to each section.
A lot of this material is familiar to in-depth students of the subject, but it is a quick, rewarding refresher course in the subject matter, with learned annotations, but with occasional nuggets that pop to the surface. One night, after a night of partying, Harte returned home to discover that he had lost his cigarette case.
I would swear that elsewhere (in Born in a Bookshop?) the same anecdote is told involving Opie Read and Vincent Starrett. Steve Doyle and his Gasogene Press colleagues are to be applauded for producing this project. Dick was writing in David Copperfield, the name of Sherlock Holmes would surface in Starretta€™s columns without warning. The last column completely devoted to Sherlock Holmes is a review of Pierre Nordona€™s Conan Doyle: A Biography. In addition, there is a lengthy section at the end of biographical sketches (a€?Personaliaa€?) of Sherlockians and others whom Starrett mentions in his columns.
Unfortunately, there is no footnote or entry under a€?Personaliaa€? to explain just who Talbot C.
Smitha€™s minutes list 35 attendees, and 35 are in the photograph, but Morley told Vincent Starrett that 36 had attended. Census was 27 or 28 years old in January 1940, it may be him; if so, since he came in black tie his father likely did too, making no. Steve Doyle will soon publish the entire letter in a book by Notre Dame Professor Michael Crowe titled Ronald Knox and Sherlock Holmes: The Origin of Sherlockian Studies.
By 1910 he was a Fellow at Trinity College, ordained an Anglican priest in 1912, and became a Roman Catholic in 1917. Knox helped Waugh by proofreading Brideshead Revisited and asked him to be his literary executor in 1950. Smith remarked in 1958 that Knoxa€™s death was a€?mourned by all who look to him as the originator of the Sherlockian critique.a€? So the notion that Knox was the genesis was afoot fifty years ago a€” though Smith, we shall see, felt otherwise.
Elmer Davis, reviewing Starretta€™s Private Life in December 1933, discussed Roberts almost more than he did Starretta€™s book, without once mentioning Knox.
Messages from absent friends were read that night, from Blakeney, Starrett, Morley, and Desmond MacCarthy, but not from Knox.
Smith in Baker Street Inventory has a€?Studies in the Literaturea€? as a€?The first essay in the order of higher criticism.a€? It was not Knoxa€™s intention to start a game or a cult. By the time Smith wrote his introduction for The Incunabular Sherlock Holmes in 1958, he had done his homework too, and learned differently.
Later, Ronald Knox expanded the joke into an essay called a€?Studies in the Literature of Sherlock Holmes,a€™ a parody of Biblical scholarship in which he pretended to detect, from careful study of the text, that some of the stories must be fictitious inventions by a drunken Watson.
I thought it would be interesting to quote here this Knox-Roberts Sherlockian Connection so dear to Morley.
13 in a€™Thirties) that a€?Buckminster Fuller, perpetrator of the Dymaxion car, hired a Central Park hansom and clopped to the [1934 BSI] dinner as Dr. And this booka€™s discussion of Morleya€™s changing mood postwara€”noting that by 1947 he a€?was becoming more withdrawn and disinclined to company unless he himself had arranged the meetinga€?a€”helps explain the BSIa€™s existential crisis of 1947-48 examined in detail in Irregular Crises of the Late a€™Forties. Ia€™m obliged to England for the fine spirit which generally animates the whole diverse activity of sports. If an occasional paper looked particularly choice, one might even send a copy to the Mother Church in New York, but I recall no acknowledgment or reply. 2 in my Irregular Crises of the Late a€™Forties.) But Soniaa€™s biography is nonetheless the best and most valuable account we are likely to have of Bliss Austina€™s life, and what made him the man and outstanding Baker Street Irregular he was. We have important collectors today, but none of them are doing what Bliss did with his collection, so one hopes this book will lead to more from the same. 50-51, of the BSIa€™s existential crisis of 1947-48 is so abbreviated that readers should consult the detailed account in Irregular Crises of the Late a€™Forties in order to understand fully what was going on. Russ liked it and recommended that I send it to Edgar Smith, who was then editing the Baker Street Journal. We hadna€™t been doing too well with his early novels of the Canadian Northwest, and Bill wanted to develop a new vein. Walls and rafters were covered by innumerable coats of whitewash which flaked down like snow; and the windows bore a sulphurous patina that had so far refused to yield to soapsuds.
This was arranged at the rear of the wide gallery upstairs, partly enclosed by handsome screens that matched the furniture; and in the little room thus formed a small company was gathered for the usual midday rites. They were of great importance to their author, for they gave him a chance to express certain stoic observations on the human comedy he had watched unflinchingly.a€? After Footner resettled in Marylanda€™s Eastern Shore countryside, he wrote nonfiction books about it as well.
He points out the positive effects of Robert Mosesa€™ redesign of the citya€™s layout, but also shows his readers the lasting negative effects of Prohibition and Depression. The effect was akin to my first visit to New York at age eight with my parents, and the overpowering Circle Line boat trip we took around the island: I still have the guidebook from it. The nugget within the nugget is that Doyle refused to be engaged upon the project despite an essentially guaranteed advance payment of half a million dollars! At least two in the photograph are not in Smitha€™s minutesa€™ list, but in surviving copies of 221B: Studies in Sherlock Holmes signed that night by dinner attendees, William C. Paul for theological societies and one on Sherlock Holmes for secular societies, but found the Sherlock Holmes paper would do for both since it was interpreted as a religious tract.
Enthusiasm: A Chapter in the History of Religion (1950) by Ronald Knox was dedicated to Evelyn Waugh. Barton, the senior censor, confirming the a€?Hierarchya€™s displeasurea€? because it violated the unwritten law that bishops are not criticized in any public way.
The Detection Club also put out three serial novels, with each member writing a chapter full of clues and passing it on; Ronald Knox contributed to all three. Who stood out instead as source and strawman for canonical scholarship was Cambridgea€™s S. Morley, for his 1933 collection of essays Internal Revenue, added to In Memoriama€™s 1930 text a lengthy discussion of Robertsa€™ Doctor Watson; Knox went unmentioned once again. Attendees discussed the impetus behind their new club: of mention of Knox there was none, nor in connection with the BSI whose recent founding was discussed. But his methodology is what endures.A Those that followed who played the game so well must admit that Knox was the unintended founder. Finally, one comes away from the Knox paper not really learning new or insightful about Holmes. Conan Doyle was delighted by the spoof and wrote to Ronald Knox to thank him.a€?a€? a€?Nowadays wea€™re rather more sensitive.
Robertsa€™ own trial version of the same, his A Note on the Watson Problem1 of which only 100 copies were printed at the University Press, Camb., in 1929. Watson.a€? No data corroborating this assertion is known to exist, or that Fuller even attended that dinner (or any other BSI dinner as far as I recall).
He never went into the Knothole [his writing cabin at home] again, nor would he allow anyone else to sort his papers.a€? After a third stroke in 1955 a€?he required round-the-clock nursing care and remained bedridden for the rest of his life,a€? which came to an end on March 28, 1957.
And Ia€™m obliged to England for at least nine-tenths of the books which Ia€™ve ever read in all my life. You are now, yourself, at liberty to write that paper on the Scandal, and I shall look forward to it. It soon appeared in the BSJ, and as if by magic a new world of bonhomie was opened to me, an association that has lasted a lifetime. When a second hiatus occurred, the accumulated papers comprising the Mendicantsa€™ archives that had been passed to Voss went into storage. Nevertheless, the members of the Three-Hours-for-Lunch Club loved their unconventional clubhouse. Christopher Morley, who modestly describes himself as steward in perpetuum to the Three Hours for Lunch Club, but is really the whole works.
And in 1937, the same year that four of his mystery novels came out, he published another quite different book entirely: a€?a testament of his love of New York City,a€? Morley called it a€” New York, City of Cities. Fry, who ended his life uncelebrated, suffering from alcoholism and making a poor living teaching Greek and Latin to young boys at a New England prep school, had been more than heroic, rescuing upwards of 2,000 persons, until State had Vichy throw him out of France. He contributed quizzes to Ellery Queena€™s Mystery Magazine in the 1940s and compiled an extensive bibliography of writers of detective fiction that exists in at least two typewritten copies.
He took the Sherlock Holmes stories as a form of literary art and divided them into eleven characteristic divisions with Greek names.
And with the BSI launched in 1934, Knox might not have existed to tell from what Morley wrote that year. But: a€?A genial note of welcome was struck by placing in front of each member a copy of Mr. The meticulous Rodger Prescott comes nearer the point, but does not deliver the knockout blow. Or so it would seem from the first programme, called a€?Panic in the Streets,a€™ in a new series, The History of Fear (Radio 4, Monday), presented by the feminist historian, Joanna Bourke. When we became acquainted with Vincent Starrett after he published The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes in late 1933, we found him a more gracious point of exchange. Mike Whelan, the current Wiggins, uses that term, a€?for the young Irregulars of the a€™60s and a€™70s,a€? on pp. Prominent among these documents was an exhaustive record of the doings of the society that had been brought together by Mendicant Raymond Donovan, who had joined in 1948.
As I have written elsewhere, Julian was the master of the one-liner, and the consummate detector of humbug and pretense. Van Allen Bradley (author of Gold in Your Attic), offered to sell me that original autograph letter. Knox invented a controversy about authenticity of the stories with comments by imaginary German scholars.
We must rely instead on what they and others wrote about Knoxa€™s paper around the time it appeared back then a€” to the extent that they wrote about it at all, which wea€™ve seen was very little.
While it is true that Sidgwick and others wrote important papers, papers with real content, before Knox, it was Morley who put it all together.
Fate dictated that the file should eventually end up in the hands of Music, who joined the group in 2001.
Some of the most disturbing and tantalizing things in his testament are unfinished scraps of overheard conversation. Sadly I could not afford the approximately $150 he asked for it, and it went to someone else.
Ronald Knox lived first at Lady Actona€™s Aldenham in Shropshire from 1933 to 1947, and at the Manor House, Mells, Somerset, from 1947 until his death in 1957, the country home of Katharine Asquith. Between his work in Saturday Review and his founding of the BSI, this truly was the basis of the long-term study of the Canon, both institutionally and in print. With his opulence of physique and temperament he seems to belong to a younger age than ours. Indeed, in one respect he was better than ever; for here in Colliera€™s appeared, for the first time in print, what has become the classic, final and unalterable portrait of Sherlock Holmes.
His heartiness, his nimble play with words, his penchant for the theater, all stamp him as a belated Elizabethan.
His final contribution to Sherlockian literature was a€?The Apocryphal Sherlock Holmes: The Adventure of the First Class Carriage,a€? a pastiche that appeared in The Strand Magazine in 1947. Roberts a€“- and even his fellow Cantabrigian Frank Sidgwick, who first tackled Watsonian chronology in 1902.
So you may imagine the thrilling excitementa€”in 1903, wasna€™t it?a€”when The Return began printing in Colliera€™s.
Weber was director of advertising at Scribnera€™s, and a mystery reviewer (a€?Judge Lyncha€?) for the Saturday Review of Literature.
He had attended the 1936 BSI dinner, and would be at the 1941, a€™42, a€™43, a€™46 and a€™47 dinners as well, and the 1944 Trilogy Dinner.




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