Chris is planning one of his very infrequent trips to New York for next Januarya€™s BSI weekend, and I think I know what aspect of it is on his mind. Ia€™ve just finished re-reading Irregular Crises of the Late a€?Forties which, of course, had to end just as the BSJ was about to be relaunched. Edgar Smith provided some of the desired information himself in a a€?Special Notice to a€?Old-Timea€™ Irregularsa€? that was included with some copies of the July 1951 issue sent out.
The press runs for each issue were already growing, he told the 60 graybeards: a€?Only 200 copies of Volume 1, Number 1 were printed, and 250 copies of Volume 1, Number 2. Almost precisely a year ago, during my websitea€™s Great Hiatus, I received a BSI history question from John, so here it is, and Thucydidesa€™ answer.
I recently thought maybe I could buy a copy of the same book by Grillparzer that Morley used for the original Irregulars, and I remembered Tom Stix once telling me that he owned the book, but didna€™t want to give it to the BSI, instead to pass it on to someone who would care for it. Mike Whelan wrote me saying that Tom Stix never had possession of the Grillparzer Book, and that there are no copies extant because it was a blank book into which club members wrote short commentaries. George Fletcher has an entire chapter describing Morleya€™s Grillparzer Book and its history in my BSI Archival History volume Irregular Memories of the a€™Thirties.
Never used a typewriter, I think I said Adrian claimed (along with knowing his father better than anyone else living or dead). As Peter says, a€?ita€™s hard to imagine anyone forging Juliana€™s signature to make some money, since he signed just about everything he sent to anyone . My recollection is about the same as Jima€™s, and along the following lines, althoughA uncertain after all these years.
The report at Stevea€™s link on Ye Sette of Odd Volumes makes interesting reading even if we fail to find a connection to the BSI.
I know about Bostona€™s Club of Odd Volumes,A as Ia€™m sure you do, but this English outfit is new to me. Ita€™s possible Christopher Morley, deep-dyed bookman, was aware of Ye Sette of Odd Volumes. The other day I had the good fortune to meet a famous English printer who is visiting in this country; and instead of talking about Plantin and Caslon and Bruce Rogers we found ourselves, I dona€™t know just how, embarked on a mutual questionnaire of famous incidents in the life of Sherlock Holmes. How I wish therea€™d been a garrulous eye-witness to that meeting of Morley and Morison in New York in 1926! Now Smith might have been peeved with Ben Abramson, given the OS BSJa€™s collapse, butA I doubt he was a€?excommunicatinga€? him in giving Hoffman the same investiture in a€™52: Smith was a benign personality never given to nastiness even in exasperation, something clear from the many score letters of his in my Archival Histories. And then, Edgar Smith excommunicating the likes of David Randall, Rufus Tucker (Smitha€™s colleague at GM), Rolfe Boswell, or Belden Wigglesworth? But even in 1985, when Julian Wolff had Peter Blaua€™s excellent lists to work from, and Tony Montag and Dean Dickensheet were both alive, he conferred Vamberry the Wine Merchant a third time, on Arthur Liebman. I appreciate the attempt by my opponent at Augusta€™s Great Debate at Minnesota over the Sherlockian insignificance of Fr. The first three stock certificates were issued in January 1948 to Morley, Smith and Starrett. Miriam a€?Deea€? Alexander, Smitha€™s secretary at GM Overseas Operations at the time, and serving as Secretary-Treasurer of the BSI, Inc., had already received a share as a gift in recognition of her unpaid service. I cana€™t say now whether Smith succeeded in unloading any more shares to any additional stockholders in the 1950s, but if he did, it would have been as a purely charitable act on the part of the new stockholders, because it was clear by then that the BSI Inc. Manfred Lee, half of the pair of cousins who were the mystery-writing team of Ellery Queen starting in the 1920s, was not a Baker Street Irregular, though he did attend the annual dinner in 1946.
ROBERT KATZ: I recollect hearing that the BSI once met at the Players Club and the speaker (possibly Leslie Marshall) ended his presentation by igniting a piece of flash paper, as used by professional magicians.
The Irregularsa€™ annual dinner was held at The Players on January and was attended by 100 thirsty enthusiasts. Of course, all of our customs were strictly observed, and the Conanical and Irregular toasts were drunk. It was a long time ago, 1971: the second dinner at The Players, I believe, falling beyond the scope of my Archival Histories but before my first annual dinner at the Regency Hotel (the second there) in 1973. With regard to Jim Montgomery, and the difference between membership in the BSI and the Irregular Shilling [see below], I dona€™t think we disagree . Roosevelt and Rathbone and Bruce received membership certificates, but so far as I know never Shillings nor Investitures . Ia€™m reminded of the distinction that once was made between Irregular and irregular, but I dona€™t recall who started it . Ita€™s the same with my list of Sherlockian societies, which does not distinguish in any way between societies that are scions and those that are not . Actually, Don Pollock and I once wrote about a€?Packaging Holmes for the Paperbacksa€? that way in Baker Street Miscellanea (No.
Rex Stout was well-known for his Nero Wolfe mysteries when in early January 1941 Irregular Lawrence Williams suggested to Edgar W.
But in not too much time, the Irregulars decided Stouta€™s heart was in the right place (after all, Archie Goodwin in at least one Nero Wolfe book had mentioned a picture of Sherlock Holmes hanging on the wall of their West 35th Street office), and he became a regular at the dinners; soon with a place at the head table, and the investiture a€?The Boscombe Valley Mysterya€? (conferred in 1949). In 1954, the Higher Criticism of the Wolfe Canon got underway with an article in Harpera€™s Magazine (July) by editor Bernard DeVoto.
According to a friend of mine who belongs to the Baker Street Irregulars [DeVoto began], a paper by one of his colleagues suggests that Nero Wolfe may be the son of Sherlock Holmesa€™s brother Mycroft.
DeVoto proceeded to spread frivolous speculation tricked out to look like scholarship across half a dozen pages in that montha€™s Harpera€™s, all for the purpose of confounding Irregular speculation about Nero Wolfea€™s parentage.
DeVotoa€™s volley only encouraged Irregular speculation, and the principal word on the subject, a€?Some Notes Relating to a Preliminary Investigation into the Paternity of Nero Wolfe,a€? was published in the Baker Street Journal in 1956 by John D.
Back in 1942, at that Januarya€™s BSI dinner, Julian Wolff had responded to Stouta€™s a€?Watson Was a Womana€? with a talk of his own entitled a€?Nuts to Rex Stout.a€? Stout was not in attendance to hear it. Besides Baring-Gould, well known to Irregulars is John McAleera€™s biography Rex Stout in 1977. Thata€™s right, and I didna€™t exactly find space for Woollcott in Baker Street Irregular -- he storms up the stairs to Morleya€™s hideaway office on West 47th Street, flings open the door, marches in, and seizes control of the secret meeting going on between Morley, Elmer Davis, Edgar W.
However, the sad lack of a good old-fashioned bodice ripping in the previews of Baker Street Irregular is a discouragement for further page turning. I dona€™t know that Ia€™d call it seismic, exactly; though I wouldna€™t call it joyous either. I suspect the attrition rate among men in these scions due to the change of policy by the BSI is close to zero, though it did affect the allegiance of some to the BSI itself. And now that women do have seats at the national table, why, in your view,A have we seen so little classic Sherlockian scholarship from women or leadership at the scion level? Many scion societies today do have women at the helm, on the other hand, and not only recently founded scions. The question is whether Woollcott was expected by Morley that night, or instead came as an unwelcome surprise to him. I cana€™t swear that Smith invited Woollcott to the 1940 dinner, or subsequent ones prior to Woollcotta€™s death in January 1943.
The saga of the Holmes Peak will have to await another historian to do it and its Head Sherpa, the late Richard Warner, full justice, Bob.
As if to prove that the age of Sherlockian fun is far from over, let us turn to 1985a€™s humorous highlight, Richard Warnera€™s guide to the ascent of Holmes Peak. But time and Warner prevailed, and in this little chapbook, with a foreword by Michael Hardwick who represented the Empire at the dedication of Holmes Peak, Warner relates all one needs to know in order to scale this lofty monument to the best and wisest man we have ever known. Buster Keaton could not do it better than the deadpan Warner, without whom Holmes Peak might never have been named (or even noticed).
It is a lovely hill, what in the Ozarks would be called a a€?bald knoba€? (that means no trees, for the less botanically astute), and the view is very fine.
Dicka€™s case, boiled down, was that as Sherlock Holmes was once employed by the Vatican, naming the Peak after him qualified as meaningful to the Bishopa€™s work.
Billa€™s contributions to the BSI and our understanding of its history are legion, but his masterpiece is his splendid history of a piece of Irregular folklore bestowed upon the BSI at the end of the a€™40s by its greatest musical voice, James Montgomery (a€?The Red Circlea€?) of Philadelphiaa€™s Sons of the Copper Beeches: We Always Mention Aunt Clara.
Will Oursler was invested in the BSI in a€?The Abbey Grangea€? in 1956, preceded in that investiture by his father Fulton Oursler whoa€™d received it in 1950. Bill Vande Water has been engaged for some time in deep research on both Ourslers, for both the BSI and Mystery Writers of America, and if he ever finishes it, it should be the definitive account of the two men in our sphere. Can any reader shed light on this?A  Please let Thucydides know at the email address at the top of the column. This volume most closely resembles a scrapbook, and was probably the most fun to do, but it made clear to me how naive my original view of this undertaking was.
Frank Morleya€™s Sherlock Holmes Crossword, published in the Saturday Review of Literature in May 1934 by Christopher Morley as the BSIa€™s first entrance exam, and as solved that month by Katherine McMahon, then of Elgin, Ill., who was invested in the BSI as a€?Lucy Ferriera€?a€” in 1991.
Young Kit also indoctrinated his two younger brothers with a love for Sherlock Holmes, through secretive readings and quizzes in the attic of their parentsa€™ home.
Sherlock Holmes may not have been much on Christopher Morleya€™s mind when he was starting his career, but by the mid-a€™Twenties his interest was beginning to revive.
The early a€™Thirties were exciting years for devotees of Sherlock Holmes, and not for the Complete edition alone. By now the Three Hours for Lunch Club had spun off another, smaller luncheon club, the Grillparzer Sittenpolizei Verein a€” the Grillparzer Morals Police Association a€” so-called because Morley had deployed an old book about Franz Grillparzer the Austrian dramatist, picked up at a bookstall, as the cluba€™s record-book: members and guests would open it at random, underline likely looking passages, write appropriate remarks in the margins, and sign, and Morley would endorse it by affixing to the spot some handy if incongruous seal. But it is startling to realize that in 1934, the founders of the Baker Street Irregulars were considerably closer to the Victorian era, in which they had all been born, than we are to them today. I was born half a dozen years after that decade, in 1946, growing up in a world immeasurably changed by World War II and its aftermath. There is a good deal we dona€™t know about the BSI of the a€™Thirties, and many unanswered questions will be obvious.
The present volume would hardly exist at all, were it not for the generous assist-ance of others. Of the signatures in the programme, a few are hard to make out, but most are familiar to us. I should like to say something, when appropriate [at the next BSI dinner], about old Christ Cella, in whose speakeasy on 45 Street the earliest mtgs of the BSI were held. Having said thus, and noting further that the 267 page, indexed paperbacka€™s press run of 500 copies, published in mid-October 1990, was already sold out by the 1991 BSI dinner in New York last January, what is left for this reviewer to say? His Holiness the Pope, when speaking ex cathedra, need consult only four primary sources to get at The Truth. The late Bill Rabe (a€?Colonel Warburtona€™s Madnessa€?) was the founder of The Old Soldiers of Baker Street (The Old SOBs), creator of the BSI annual dinner weekend institution of Mrs. This second volume of the Archival History series startled us: we had printed 500 copies of the first volume, and 500 of this one, announcing its publication in October.
A A A  This volume most closely resembles a scrapbook, and was probably the most fun to do, but it made clear to me how naive my original view of this undertaking was. A A A  Young Kit also indoctrinated his two younger brothers with a love for Sherlock Holmes, through secretive readings and quizzes in the attic of their parentsa€™ home. A A A  By now the Three Hours for Lunch Club had spun off another, smaller luncheon club, the Grillparzer Sittenpolizei Verein a€” the Grillparzer Morals Police Association a€” so-called because Morley had deployed an old book about Franz Grillparzer the Austrian dramatist, picked up at a bookstall, as the cluba€™s record-book: members and guests would open it at random, underline likely looking passages, write appropriate remarks in the margins, and sign, and Morley would endorse it by affixing to the spot some handy if incongruous seal. A A A  I was born half a dozen years after that decade, in 1946, growing up in a world immeasurably changed by World War II and its aftermath. A A A  The present volume would hardly exist at all, were it not for the generous assist-ance of others. A A A  Of the signatures in the programme, a few are hard to make out, but most are familiar to us.
A A A  MARGINALIA: This turned out to be the last BSI dinner held at Christ Cellaa€™s restaurant.
A A A  His Holiness the Pope, when speaking ex cathedra, need consult only four primary sources to get at The Truth. Officials in Jackson, Mississippi, finally took action after residents threw a birthday party for a big pothole. A Romance with NatureNikki Logan writes captivating romance in rich, natural settings.She believes the passion and risk of falling in love are perfectly mirrored in the danger and beauty of wild places.
Everything I want in a category romance: main characters playing to their strengths and trying very hard to hide their weaknesses, a varied supporting cast of humans and animals, and a building that’s almost a character in its own right. Slow Dance with the Sheriff is an exceptional tale about acceptance, coming home and the healing force of love. A beautiful romance giving them their happy ending and family thanks to the very talented Nikki Logan.
I mean the quotation from the bar bill at some long-ago BSI Dinner, listing the number of whiskies, gins, and scotches consumed, and "1 beer"?
Anxious to avoid another failure through lack of support, he was appealing to 60 BSI a€?old-timersa€? (a€?in order to spread the clerical load, and to facilitate the voluntary work by which alone the Journal can keep goinga€?), to renew their subscriptions for 1952 right away without waiting for the renewal form that would accompany the October issue, the final one of the year.
1 and 2 a€?reproduction issuesa€? had to wait until the NS BSJ seemed securely on its feet, its subscriber base grown to a safe point and new subscribers seeking copies of the first two Numbers.


I contacted Mike Whelan about it: I thought he would know enough about it that I could get another copy. Someone (dona€™t remember who it was) who fancied himself a bit of a conjuror was at the head table, which included Alfred Drake as then-president of The Players, and seated next to Drake. Julian told me later that the bar bill was of the magnitude of treble the food bill.A Thing was, the bartenders, of whom there were several, strategically located around the rooms,A were pouring generously, including for themselves, encouraging BSIs to put down their partially consumed glasses and get fresh ones -- and soon lost the ability to check off accurate numbers of drinks served. A Both for its own sake, and because it suggests what the typewriter that Conan Doyle owned in the early 1890s may have been like. Symons a€” author of The Quest for Corvo a€” and am thus reading his brother Juliana€™s biography of him. The notiona€™s wrong, and theA tip-off should have been the misapprehensiona€™s source a€” S.
All it takes is to know the notiona€™s absurd is to look up what men Smith supposedly excommunicated.
The first comprehensive if imperfect list of investitures and holders I know of is one by C. Ronald Knox, to explain away such an elementary (let us say, fundamental) mistake on Knoxa€™s part, but Ia€™m reminded, a bit sadly, of the famous exchange between Dr. Smith started talking to Christopher Morley about incorporating the BSI sometime the summer of 1947, both to create a lucrative publishing program (they thought), and to manage takeover of the BSJ if Ben Abramsona€™s publishing of it collapsed (as it did in 1949). His cousin Frederic Dannay first attended it in 1942, and became part of the BSI for the rest of his long life (dying in 1982), and was invested as a€?The Dying Detectivea€? in 1950.
I think the noted actor Alfred Drake was sitting next to the speaker and was, needless to say, quite startled by this.
The Constitution and Buya€”Laws, as well as the Musgrave Ritual and Sherlock Holmesa€™s Prayer, were read, and the Sherlockian songs of Jim and Bruce Montgomery were played and enjoyed.
So I asked Jim Saunders (a€?The Beryl Coroneta€?) and George Fletcher (a€?The Cardboard Boxa€?), both invested in 1969, for their memories.
Nash was, Morley once said, one of the Doubleday, Doran a€?assembly mena€? present at the speakeasy in the East a€™Fifties in 1930 when Morley was commissioned to write his a€?In Memoriama€? foreword for the first Complete Sherlock Holmes. Perhaps the matter can be cleared up when I get to the a€™Fifties volumes of the Archival History, or perhaps Peter Blau or someone else can shed light on this. Smith that Stout would be a good person to attend the up-coming 1941 annual dinner (held the 31st) and respond to some awful things Somerset Maugham had said about the Sherlock Holmes stories in a recent Saturday Evening Post article. He had already turned down an invitation from favorite-contributor Elmer Davis to join the Baker Street Irregulars, on grounds of silliness.
I cannot find the treatise that contains this absurdity and mention it only as an example of the frivolous speculation tricked out to look like scholarship with which the Holmes cult defrauds the reading public.
A strident anti-isolationist before Pearl Harbor, he was off creating the Writers War Board to support the U.S. In 1961, when he became the BSIa€™s Commissionaire, he created the honor known as the Two-Shilling Award a€?for extraordinary devotion to the cause beyond the call of duty,a€? and the first one went that January to Rex Stout. You cana€™t copyright titles of books, and if you could, this one would belong to the Conan Doyle Estate;-- fortunately, my client in a different sphere of my Irregular life.
How heavily attended are the all-male scion societies these days, setting aside the Pips, as it is not a scion society?
The all-male scion societies 20 years ago that occur to me were The Maiwand Jezails of Omaha, Hugoa€™s Companions of Chicago, Philadelphiaa€™s Sons of the Copper Beeches, The Speckled Band of Boston, and The Six Napoleons of Baltimore.
It has been a long time since the a€?Junior Sherlockian movementa€? of the 1960s replenished the BSIa€™s ranks during the a€™70s, and since the comparable a€?Sherlock Holmes booma€? of the 1970s flowed from the successes of the Royal Shakespeare Company revival of William Gillettea€™s Sherlock Holmes and Nicholas Meyera€™s novel The Seven-Per-Cent Solution.
I need to point out that the first woman to be an Irregular, mystery critic Lenore Glen Offord (a€?The Old Russian Womana€?), was tapped way back in 1958, but I also acknowledge that it didna€™t include invitations to the BSIa€™s annual dinners. So far, in the Manuscript and International Series published by the BSI, why am I not seeing womena€™s bylines more often, if at all?
Ita€™s a question youa€™d have to address to ones directly responsible for those series of books published by the BSI, or to the Big Cheese himself, Mike Whelan, who has also presided over the International Series from the start, I believe.
He was of course a notorious enfant terrible, and Ia€™m sure not above crashing a party given by a fellow book-caresser like Christopher Morley.
But he sent Woollcott a copy of his 1939 Appointment in Baker Street lavishly inscribed to Woollcott as Baker Street Irregular, and Woollcott appears on Smitha€™s December 5, 1940, BSI membership list given in my BSJ Christmas Annual a€?Entertainment and Fantasya€?: The 1940 BSI Dinner. He has only one scene with a speaking part, and that in June 1940, but he was such a Fabulous Monster it was great fun to write him into the tale.
As you know, ita€™s been my steadfast intention from the start to cover the years 1930 to 1960, when Edgar Smith died and Julian Wolff succeeded him, and then stop, since the decades which followed are too recent for sound historical judgments. Those acquainted with the doings of The Afghan Perceivers of Tulsa know well the daring of their intrepid exploits, which have struck awe (and some terror) in small towns throughout the American Southwest. To have been at the dedication last summer, complete with the Afghanistan Perceiversa€™ widely dreaded drum-and-bugle corps, must have been a marvelous one-of-a-kind occasion; but much of its charm and wit is surely captured in this little chapbook.
When Bishop Eusebius Beltran told Dick that the hill needed a name a€?more meaningful to his work,a€? a lesser mortal would have taken no for an answer, and returned to whatever one does on a windswept prairie. This letter was promptly bounced back to the esteemed Bishop Eusebius Beltran (fiction writers, I defy you to create a more dazzling cognomen), who replied on behalf of his Pontiff. Rabe will get a chapter of his own in the first a€?Fifties volume of the Archival History, along with his Old Soldiers of Baker Street (the Old SOBs). I find I reviewed this item myself in Baker Street Miscellanea when it came out in 1990, see here. Katz: Will Ourslera€™s talks at BSI dinners are said to be legendary, although I am not sure why. Less than three months later the entire run was sold out, with none for sale at the BSI dinner in January where many Irregulars had expected to purchase it, making it the scarcest volume of the entire series. He helped found the Saturday Review of Literature in 1924, serving as an editor along with his a€?Bowling Greena€? column (later joined by a second one about the publishing world, a€?Trade Windsa€?).
There was also William Gillette, performing his deathless melodrama Sherlock Holmes one long last time, as his Farewell Tour was cheered across the country. It was just a youthful thirty-one years from Sherlock Holmesa€™s retirement from practice in 1903 to the BSI in 1934; it has been a middle-aged fifty-six years since Christopher Morley and his cronies created the whisky-and-sodality in which we continue to imbibe today.
But I inherited a nostalgic fascination for the a€™Thirties from my parents, who had loved that decade, and communicated that love to me. Art Deco was the style, and a€?Eberson Ambera€? light bathed the interior of theaters, clubs and restaurants in a dreamy golden glow. Readers are therefore reminded that a central purpose of these BSI archival histories is to assist further research by others, and not to stand as the final word on the subject. I am especially grateful to those who contributed original essays to this volume (and for much appreciated assistance of other kinds!): Steven Rothman, George Fletcher, Peter Blau, Jean Upton, and Robert G. At least we are certain that it took place, for a programme survives, signed by a good number, if not necessarily all, of those who attended. Joining the expected crowd of Morleya€™s Irregulars were a few other favorites of his, Don Marquis the humorist, Stephen Vincent Benet the poet, and Isaac Mendoza the bookseller, kinsprits all, we can be sure.
By the time the BSI called another dinner, several years later, a new venue had to be found. Jon Lellenberg, to bring us The Word of the beginnings of the Baker Street Irregulars, must plow through scores of a€?eye-witnessa€? accounts a€” letters, newspaper clippings, and magazine articles a€” and ex post facto reports: all subject to the alcoholic haze and morning-after indigestion common to those who gather to celebrate Mr.
As Lellenberg murmurs at the conclusion of his eighth chapter, a€?we shall probably never have all the answers.a€? But, do we want The Truth?
Hudsona€™s Breakfast, devisor and first promulgator of Voices of Baker Street, editor of the Sherlockian Whoa€™s Who & Whata€™s What, and author of many other works, including We Always Mention Aunt Clara (1990).
The Arizona student, who attended Red Mountain High School, exposed his genitals in his high schoola€™s varsity football team photo after being dared to do so by a teammate. And can I say how VERY much I enjoy finding a new writer like yourself who can maintain high sensual content but no explicit sex scenes.
But at the same time the sassy and flirty dialogue, settings and characters brought it all together in one perfect sexy, 5 star read.
Interesting and believable characters…sizzling chemistry…so much more to this book than the average romance tale. Nikki Logan doesn’t let up on the angst, and with a terminally ill child involved, Their Newborn Gift is guaranteed to be a tear-jerker. I’ve become a huge Nikki Logan fan ever since Shipwrecked with Mr Wrong and now A Kiss to Seal the Deal—wow!
Nikki’s love for her Australian countryside certainly shone through and I felt I was right out there in the outback with all of that wonderful wildlife. A prolific music and theater critic in Los Angeles area newspapers and magazines, he died in May, seated at his keyboard writing a review when the fatal heart attack came. Ia€™m sure Tom said he had it and did not want to pass it on to the BSI, and even more sure it wasna€™t a a€?blanka€? book: why was it called the Grillparzer Book if it was blank?
He received the Two-Shilling Award in 1983 for the immense help he gave Julian Wolff with the BSJ over many years, and was its actual publisher a number of years when he ran Fordham University Press. Based on the description of the bartending, it was a case of if you can remember it you weren't there.
This Irregulara€™s shtick (excuse me, a€?papera€?) included, and ended with, igniting a bit of flash paper that erupted and fell from his hand onto the tablecloth, thus landing in Drakea€™s immediate proximity. I recall one bartender as being just this side of falling-down drunk.A Many BSIs were only too happy to get a fresh one when the old ice cubes had dwindled or the mixer had lost its fizz, or some combination thereof, and I recall the vast array of partially consumed drinks sitting all over the place. A His dreadful son Adrian swore that his father never owned or used one, but in fact Conan Doyle mentions having one in letters written from South Norwood, though it appears his sister Connie, living there at the time, used it mostly to prepare replies to correspondence hea€™d received. But Bigelow had only been invested in 1959, hadna€™t known Smith long or well, was outside the mainstream of the BSI, and looking for a reason to explain his receiving an investiture someone else still in the ranks had. Leslie Marshall (a€?A Scandal in Bohemiaa€?), who returned to the fold after many yearsa€™ absence. Stix, Jr.), by Bill Jenkins a€” to end a€” the reports of the Scion Societies, followed by the usual informal discussions. And then your old fellow saddle-tramp Lenore Carroll touched on the same thing in a€?Exploring a€?The Country of the Saintsa€™: Arthur Conan Doyle as Western Writera€? in BSM 51 (Autumn 1987). In stating here the insoluble problem which will always frustrate biographers of Nero Wolfe I confine myself, as a member of the American Historical Association in good standing, to examining the source documents according to the approved methods of historical research. Baring-Gould, already the author of Sherlock Holmes of Baker Street and editor of The Annotated Sherlock Holmes, made the idea a foundation-stone of another book, Nero Wolfe of West 35th Street. My experience of Hugoa€™s Companions is limited, and nil in the case of The Maiwand Jezails and Speckled Band, but none of them have changed their policies. Even the wave of newcomers from the television series starring Jeremy Brett that debuted in 1984 was a long time ago now.
Leavitta€™s expostulations to the contrary in his 1961 BSJ two-parter a€?The Origins of 221B Worship.a€? When Edgar W. So I presume Woollcott had been invited to the January a€™40 dinner at the Murray Hill Hotel too.
But none have reached so high a pinnacle as the naming and ascent of Holmes Peak, which rises majestically 262 feet above the prairie floor, and from whose wind-swept summit practically all of Osage County, Oklahoma, can be seen. At one time we had passes for the ski lift, but I have seem to have misplaced them (as Dick seemed to have misplaced the lift). Dick showed this document to John Bennett Shaw, who was an active member of the Knights of Columbus and other arms of the Church.
Smitha€™s death, he also edited the Baker Street Journal for many years, influenced the BSI weekenda€™s shape with his Saturday cocktail party (first in his home for those he invited, then at the Grolier Club when numbers grew too great, and after that it was Katie bar the door); and then, Julian also handed out more investitures than anyone else before or since.
Ia€™m sure Tom said he had it and did not want to pass it on to the BSI, and even more sure it wasna€™t a a€?blanka€? book:A  why was it called the Grillparzer Book if it was blank? The earliest of which we know was at the turn of the century, long before the Baker Street Irregulars.
One was in literature: he was already a published poet, and now he began to write novels as well.
He had made a splash in 1917 with his bestselling novel Parnassus on Wheels, and was following it up every year with one or two new books, some of them bestsellers as well: The Haunted Bookshop, Threea€™s a Crowd (with Earl Derr Biggers, later the creator of Charlie Chan), Where the Blue Begins, Pandora Lifts the Lid (with Don Marquis), Thunder on the Left, Seacoast of Bohemia, and others. Morley, unlike some bookish people, was the most gregarious of men, and drew others to him irresistibly. Morley once more found, as he wrote later, that a€?one of the blissful ways of passing an evening, when you encounter another dyed-in-the-blood addict, is to embark on the happy discussion of minor details of Holmes-ianaa€?; evidence that Morleya€™s old exegetical spirit was picking up a€” the impulse to treat the Canon as historical truth, and revel in its details a€” began to appear in his Saturday Review of Literature columns from 1926 on.
There was Sherlock Holmes on the radio for the first time, and Sherlock Holmes on screen with Arthur Wontner and others portraying him. Most Sherlockians have a certain sense for the Victorian era, since for us it is always 1895, but perhaps less, at this remove, for the more recent decade in which the BSI was born. For a few years they actually enjoyed moving from apartment to apartment every six months, for the fun of living in different neighborhoods, until in 1935 they built their dreamhouse.
They lived in a city famous for its jazz, and they never missed an engagement when Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, the Dorsey brothers, and other national bands came to town.


Smith would keep minutes of the BSI annual dinners, but in the a€™Thirties they seldom bothered. Answers to many questions no doubt exist Out There somewhere, in unexamined newspapers and correspondence and diaries. As Chris Morley put it somewhat unchronologically in his acerbic 1949 essay a€?On Belonging to Clubsa€?: a€?The quiet speakeasy where we met was trampled into covercharge by runners and readers and their dames .
He is part of the Blue Carbuncle saga because it was he who provided the Goose which was cooked for our 1st Xmas dinner, 1935 or whenever it was [December 7, 1934], and how baffled he was when (after hunting all over town) I found in a Woolwortha€™s on Nassau Street (down town) the exact sort of blue-glass star-jewel, an awful thing with pseudo-iridiumpointillists which he was to cook, inside the goose.
It is enough to read Woollcotta€™s New Yorker report of that first BSI annual dinner, and emendations by Vincent Starrett and Christopher Morley.
The photo was then published in the schoola€™s yearbook a€” somehow without a single person noticing.
Thankfully, Bloomberg Politics compiled all of them, named some of them, and set it all to the tune of that classic waltz, "The Blue Don-ube." Enjoy! Interspersed with sizzling romance as they battle through misunderstandings and their own insecurities, this is one romantic suspense you don’t want to miss!
The BSJa€™s circulation wasna€™t the deep dark secret that it is today, but it will take further research to uncover just when those a€?reproduction issuesa€? were produced. George went on to be Astor Curator of Printed Books and Bindings at the Pierpont Morgan Library, later Director of Special Collections at the New York Public Library. Nor must we omit to mention those elegant keepsakes that we received through the courtesy of several Irregulars. Instead he agitated the Irregulars that night with his soon notorious talk a€?Watson Was a Womana€? (which included an acrostic in which titles of Watsona€™s tales spelled out the name Irene Watson). I construct only one hypothesis and I make no test of that one, leaving it for other scholars to test and apply as they may see fit. And Nicholas Meyer (a€?A Fine Morocco Case,a€? BSI) made use of the idea as well in his novels. Anderson, a valued contributor to Baker Street Miscellanea when he was was a professor of English at Texas A&M and Denison Universities, is now president of St. In fact Starrett proceeded to Christ Cellaa€™s by hansom cab that evening with Woollcott, from the lattera€™s apartment (known as a€?Wita€™s Enda€?) at 450 East 52nd Street. Smith started organizing the 1940 revival dinner, Morley dug up an old invitation list for Smitha€™s use, and Woollcott was on it. He concludes by describing the Preservation Societya€™s elaborate future plans for Holmes Peak, including such juicy things-to-come as the Scenic Highway to the top, the Holmes Cenotaph (a design contest will be announced soon), the Doyle Ski Basin, and Holmesworld amusement park.
John told Dick the good Bishop had expressed himself harshly as a Bishop was allowed to, and still stay on the side of the angels. It would be interesting to learn more about his Whoa€™s Who, his role in the Voices of Baker Street, the formation of the Mrs. Army directly into the BSI at the beginning of the a€?50s, and by 1955 had the investiture of a€?Colonel Warburtona€™s Madness,a€? which also tells us Edgar W. Many of his Irregulars are gone today, like him, but lots of them made tremendous contributions to the BSI that are felt to this day.
When I first attended the BSI annual dinner in 1973, he had been a fixture there many years, and I found it was a tradition for him to give one of the talks each year -- and for his talk to be totally unintelligible. George Fletcher and I had a drink at the bar afterward but they wouldna€™t let us pay.A They put everything on Juliana€™s membership account. This book was that length and only got through 1940, and Ia€™d already begun to find far more contemporary correspondence than I had ever dreamed.
Fifty years later, its ringleader, a twelve-year-old called Kit at the time, recalled the a€?four schoolboys in Baltimore about the year 1902.
He soon turned his lunches into an institution called the Three Hours for Lunch Club, and spread its fame through his column, which reported on the cluba€™s personalities, peregrinations through Manhattan eateries, and cross-table banter about books and plays and the people who wrote them a€” often the very same people lunching and yakking with him on a given day.
Then in 1930, the Irregular Decade began: soon after Conan Doylea€™s death in July, Morley was commissioned to write a preface for Doubleday, Dorana€™s forthcoming Complete Sherlock Holmes. And for the truly devoted, books about Sherlock Holmes began to appear a€” best of all, Vincent Starretta€™s immortal Private Life of Sherlock Holmes in 1933.
Let us try, then, to recall the a€™Thirties, and the Founding Year of 1934, before proceeding with this history. They shared the self-confidence and optimism that FDR gave the nation, that the worst was past and things were on the upswing again.
They went to the movies constantly, particularly to see, when the stars were all fresh and new, William Powell and Myrna Loy, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, Katherine Hepburn and Jimmy Stewart, Laurel & Hardy and W. In fact, between 1936 and 1940, the BSI did not even bother to call a dinner a€” not that that meant the end of Irregular fervor.
It was not possible, for example, to go through Vincent Starretta€™s papers, now at the University of Minnesota Library; they are likely to be a treasure trove of material. It is interesting to speculate about how Christopher Morley obtained the envelope addressed to Sherlock Holmes [depicted on the programme]. While we know nothing about the program that night, Henry James Forman was present, and it is not too much to suspect that the 1936 dinner was the occasion for his paper a€?The Creator of Holmes in the Flesha€? which appeared a few years later in Vincent Starretta€™s BSI anthology 221B: Studies in Sherlock Holmes (Macmillan, 1940).
It is enough to learn a€” however great the shock upon first seeing the word a€” that Edgar W.
Financially, I showed a profit on the evening of $22, which I have posted against past deficits without a qualm. He is a leading member of the Grolier Club today as a rare books & manuscripts authority, and a bibliophile whose exhibitions there and elsewhere are glowingly reviewed in the New York Times.
The bar tab at The PlayersA was a main incentive for finding accommodations at the Regency.
The one from Lew Feldman(see Inventory)was most magnificent, and Fred Dannay generously supplied each of us with the Feb.
Ia€™m a member of the latter, and also of Chicagoa€™s Hounds of the Baskerville (sic), but while both have only male members, one sees many women at the Houndsa€™ sole annual gathering every autumn, and not only spouses but others invited on their own merits -- including you this year, or so I hear, Dahlinger. The deal was struck in a Manhattan speakeasy a€?somewhere in the Fifties,a€? as Morley stood at the bar with a few fellow Holmes-devotees from Doubleday.
They spent a good deal to dress smartly a€” double-breasted suits and silk frocks, de rigeur gloves and hats, in a time when people dressed up just to go out shopping. But for the a€™Thirties we have scant records, mainly memories, fragile and fugitive things. Another very important Baker Street Irregular of the era, Elmer Davis, was a public figure, and his papers may rest in some library or archive. Richard Lancelyn Greena€™s book Letters to Sherlock Holmes (Penguin, 1985) says that the Abbey National Building Society in Baker Street had begun to receive mail addressed to Holmes the year before, and it may be that this particular specimen was sent to Morley by Archie Macdonell, of the Sherlock Holmes Society of London, or by his brother Frank, working in that city at Faber & Faber.
He pleaded and promised himself to do do it, and he got it inside the entrails of the Goose somehow, so that when it was carved (by me) it appeared as phaenomenon. Watson, whose cover-ups, uncorrected typographical errors, lapsa lingua, and fumbling-stumblings are the very meat and bone that have made the Higher Criticism possible for Sherlockians of all scions, races, creeds, and colors.
But it is Lellenberg who ties this melange together, whose annotations are indeed copious, and also informative, witty, and exhaustive.
It has however been a very useful investment to me, for Connie often does as many as six or seven letters a day for me with it, and very well indeed she does them.
A Ia€™d be particularly interested if one of its members in the 1920s was Stanley Morison, because it was Morleya€™s chance meeting with him in New York in 1926, that revived Morleya€™s long-dormant boyhood enthusiasm for Sherlock Holmes.
Bigelow was scrambling to apologizeA for casting doubt on Lee Offorda€™s investiture (as a€?The Old Russian Woman,a€? 1958) genuineness or validity. Roberts did, of course, in his 1929 essay A Note on the Watson Problem, but I am far from home and without my copy to consult, to see if he had something to say about it. Taking place simultaneously with the Copper Beechesa€™ spring and autumn dinners every year is a dinner for wives called The Bitches of the Beeches -- started long ago by my late mother-in-law Jeanne Jewell, the idea being to get their drunk husbands home alive. Bill was an unforgettable personality with a zany streak of humor, and added something long-lasting to the BSI weekend in January with Mrs. It not only had profound effects upon our scholarshipa€™s trajectory, it brought huge numbers of new adherents into the fold (including me). Ia€™m not sure a€?legendarya€? is the word, but once youa€™d heard him, you didna€™t forget it; they were incoherent, phantasmagoric, even delusional, but delivered in a sort of bravura style that held your attention. They embraced the happy illusion that the entire world could make itself comfortable and elegant and entertaining for everyone, and that it intended to do exactly that.
Prohibition ended in December a€™33, some ten thousand pre-Repeal prohibition cases were stricken from court dockets in a€™34, and the cocktail was out in the open again. Stix, Jr., made available for publication in this book rare, often unique, materials from their collections. Smith died in September 1960, and apparently posed an administrative burden without financial reward for his sons. I remember sitting there my first time wondering what the hell, because I didna€™t understand what was going on, but for others it was clearly an expected item on the bill of fare.
Eliot, when he was on these shores (in London, he shared publishera€™s offices at Faber & Faber with Chris Morleya€™s brother Frank).
They admiringly recalled the trains especially, with their cozy sleeping cars, spotless gleaming dining cars, and smart club cars a€” travel that speaks volumes about a way of life we have all but lost in our hectic, utilitarian, ulcerous modern world. They lived a kind of Nick-and-Nora style in the a€™Thirties (minus the airedale) that one might give a great deal indeed to recapture today, if only it were possible. They include Chris Morleya€™s and other Irregularsa€™ memoirs of the BSIa€™s origins and early days; correspondence during the a€™Thirties between Morley, Vincent Starrett, Frederic Dorr Steele, Logan Clendening, Gray Chandler Briggs, and Edgar W. These were delivered by Alfred Drake, whose address revealed him to be a real Sherlockian scholar; Thomas L.
Someone just the other day mentioned Bill referring, in a 1982 recording on Voices of Baker Street, to that yeara€™s Breakfast as the twenty-ninth, which means the first one would have been in 1954.
Not only for the number and the jubilant spirit he brought to the process, but also for the displacement of the BSIa€™s previous center of gravity in the Northeast.
Ia€™m not sure that everyone enjoyed it, but Julian Wolff always seemed to: in part with a ringmastera€™s satisfaction that the old boy had pulled it off once again, I think, and maybe also with a connoisseura€™s appreciation of a performer living up to or even exceeding the year before. John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson, and Bonnie & Clyde were tearing up the countryside, but all would fall before the end of the year. Leavitta€™s essay, about the important role that Christ Cellaa€™s restaurant played in the story of Chris Morleya€™s luncheon clubs.
Clarke, founder of The Five Orange Pips, and Carl Anderson of The Sons of the Copper Beeches. And for a few years, I had much the same reaction: a€?Here goes Will Oursler again, leta€™s see how wild it is this time, howa€™s he manage it year after year?a€? (This on the assumption that it was contrived.
A wave of new aviation records were being set, and the United States could now be crossed in barely more than twelve hours. Readers will find that the account provided by this book jumps in and out of chronological order, makes occasional dashes into the a€™Forties, and even the a€™Fifties, and is occasionally repetitious, when events are discussed by more than one participant. Smith, Edgar Smitha€™s stepson whoa€™d taken over the printing of the OS BSJ, and found it very hard to get paid by the failing Ben Abramson.
I just figured that there was no way to define membership clearly for all those folks, and avoided doing so. Serious literature, led by writers like William Faulkner and Robert Frost, was jostling with a surge of popular culture whose best works have also endured the changing times and tastes of decades. I feel to remind you-all sometimes, that those who have known the BSI since they became so throngy and thrombotic, must sometimes remember the humble origins of the fathers of the Church. I could have cut here and snipped there to avoid such things, but the result would have been a thinner broth.
It already had the annual dinner and the Gillette Luncheon when he joined the growing throng in the early a€™50s, and he added Mrs. They may find that it goes down best to the accompaniment of clinking ice cubes in highball and Oldfashioned glasses. Frank Capraa€™s It Happened One Night with Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert swept the Oscars. Mystery fans had Dashiell Hammmetta€™s The Thin Man, Rex Stouta€™s first Nero Wolfe novel, Fer-de-Lance, S. Caina€™s The Postman Always Rings Twice to chose from (not to mention three Perry Mason novels by Erle Stanley Gardner that year). Perhaps the movies are the best artifacts of the a€™Thirties for fantasists like ourselves, capturing on film the look, spirit, and hopes and dreams of the decade: William Powell and Myrna Loy paired up as Nick and Nora Charles for the first time in 1934 in The Thin Man, Carole Lombard and John Barrymore gave birth to Screwball Comedy as they sped across the country in Twentieth Century, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers glided across the screen in The Gay Divorcee, Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi chilled everyonea€™s blood in The Black Cat, and Ronald Colman personified the English Clubland Hero in Bulldog Drummond Strikes Back.



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