University Libraries

Andersen Library

March 27, 2015
8:30am - 4:30pm

A River Runs By It: Holmes and Doyle in Minnesota

An Exhibit from the Sherlock Holmes Collections

Elmer L. Andersen Library

June 3 — August 27, 2004


Sir Arthur Conan Doyle never visited Minnesota. The closest he came was Milwaukee, during a lecture tour in 1894, and Thunder Bay, Ontario, during two later trips through the United States and Canada. Phillip Bergem, an active member of the local Sherlockian society, The Norwegian Explorers, provides a bit of background on the Canadian adventure:

… Arthur Conan Doyle … came close and he did mention Minneapolis and St. Paul in his autobiography, Memories and Adventures (p. 301 of the Hodder & Stoughton edition). In a chapter where he discusses his trip to Canada in 1914, he mentioned his visit to the cities of Port Arthur and Fort William in Ontario, which merged in 1970 to become Thunder Bay.

"The twin cities of Fort William and Port Arthur, at the head of Lake Superior, form the most growing community of Canada. They call them twin cities, but I expect, like their Siamese predecessors, they will grow into one. Already the suburbs join each other, though proximity does not always lead to amalgamation or even to cordiality, as in the adjacent towns of St. Paul and Minneapolis. When the little American boy was asked in Sunday school who persecuted Saint Paul, he ‘guessed it was Minneapolis.’ "

The joke came about as a result of intense rivalry between Minneapolis and St. Paul in the late 1800s and early 1900s, both vying to become the primary city in Minnesota. It is unlikely that many people who read Memories and Adventures understood the joke though, as it is pretty localized humor. Conan Doyle may have heard of the joke from people in Fort William, or in Winnipeg a few days earlier. He attended a baseball game between the local Winnipeg team and one from Minneapolis and may have had a chance to visit with the ball players.

Nevertheless, we might maintain that Conan Doyle did, in fact, visit Minnesota—in the form of the many books, letters, and artifacts that traveled to the Twin Cities and now make up the Sherlock Holmes Collections of the University of Minnesota Libraries. And, as is true with so many of the treasures found in any library, it is a visit that can be repeated again and again.

This exhibit celebrates both Conan Doyle and Holmes. Some might frame this as an exhibit of creator and created. Others, who play the Sherlockian game, would hiss at such a thought and remind us that Conan Doyle merely played the role of literary agent. It was Watson who created the Holmesian world we know. But such a divided argument misses a point, one that Conan Doyle might have made, that there was much more to life than Sherlock Holmes.

So, the items chosen for this exhibit tend towards a broader display of the life and times of Conan Doyle. Here one will find hints of some of those currents in life that influenced Conan Doyle. Here, also, one will find examples of the author’s own writings, in both holograph and printed forms. Finally, one will gain a small sense of the impact that Conan Doyle had on others. The great consulting detective, of course, makes his appearance. But others are here as well. The river is greater than Holmes or Doyle.

In its most physical sense, a river runs by this exhibit. The Father of Rivers—the mighty Mississippi—runs by the Elmer L. Andersen Library, home of the Sherlockian collections. And, in a literary or biographical sense, a river runs through this exhibit, finding its source in the Doyle family and in events of the day; swirling through the life and times of Conan Doyle himself; and emptying into that grand delta of a creative life. Here, on the delta, authors and illustrators and playwrights (and many more beside) find both the water, and the surrounding land, fertile and welcoming.

Tim Johnson, Curator


CASE ONE: A FANCY OF FIGURINES

The Sherlock Holmes Collections contain many three-dimensional objects and artifacts. Here is a small sample featuring the greatest consulting detective the world has ever known. The descriptions throughout this catalog, where available, are taken from Ronald B. De Waal’s The Universal Sherlock Holmes.

Sherlock Holmes. Warren H. Chaney (1982) (De Waal C17572) Limited, numbered edition of 221. Solid bronze figure on a wooden base with plaque.

Sherlock Hound. (Undated) (De Waal C16519) Taste setter by Sigma. A handpainted, glazed ceramic container with a removable deerstalker. John Bennett Shaw Collection

Sherlock Holmes. Unidentified artist

Sherlock Holmes Master Sleuth Teapot. (1987) (De Waal C17668) Special anniversary edition. East Liverpool, Ohio: Hall China Co. Handcrafted in porcelain. Dover white base and golden corduroy deerstalker. With Sherlock Holmes London Tea.

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. Edward J. Rohn (1987) (De Waal C17591) Edition of 2210. High-fired, hand decorated, fine porcelain busts (extended) with a solid wooden base. Holmes is holding a calabash pipe and has a mused look; Watson is writing an address on his left cuff: "Smith, 13 Lower Burk."

Sherlock Holmes. (1973) (De Waal C17553) Igor Jakobe. Hollywood: Theatrical Creations.

Sherlock Holmes Nutcracker. (1983) (De Waal C17310) W. Germany: Steinbach. "Volkskunst aus Hohenhamelin." The mustachioed and bearded nutcracking detective is twelve inches high, carved, turned, and handpainted. He wears a wool checked coat, deerstalker, and carries a pipe, walking stick, etc.

Sherlock Holmes. (1981) (De Waal C17594) Designers Group. Esco Products. An attractive handpainted, stonelike figure of Holmes, with a large head.

 

CASE TWO: THE HORROR OF THE HEIGHTS

The Horror of the Heights. Original Manuscript. Folio on 18 pages, with an additional page on which Doyle has written the title, his name, and the words "Original Manuscript." The last page is signed "Arthur Conan Doyle, Windlesham, Crowborough." Bound in vellum with title written in the upper corner on the vellum. Philip S. and Mary Kahler Hench Collection.

The Panorama of Modern Literature : Contributed by Thirty-one Great Modern Writers. Garden City (N.Y.): Doubleday, Doran, 1934. With an introduction by Christopher Morley. The Horror of the Heights appears on pages 203-220. First edition. John Bennett Shaw Collection.

The Horror of the Heights & Other Tales of Suspense. San Francisco : Chronicle Books, c1992.

The Oscar Meunier Bust of Sherlock Holmes. (De Waal C17544) A reproduction in matte porcelain of the world-famous wax effigy that caused the downfall of Col. Sebastian Moran.

 

CASE THREE: A SLICE OF LIFE

Mary Foley Doyle. portrait from Christie’s Catalog: The Conan Doyle Collection (2004)

Selection of Letters from Conan Doyle to his Mother, Mary Foley Doyle

Marriage Album documenting the marriage of Jean Leckie and Conan Doyle

On Grimpen Mire. Sculpture by Lynette Yencho

The Sherlockian Walking Stick. (1975) (De Waal C16454) Boserup House of Canes. A sculptured head of Sherlock Holmes in silicon bronze (2 1/2 in.), cast from individually molded heads, and mounted on a 34 in. black ebonized stick. From the statue by James Black.

 

CASE FOUR: SPIRITUALISM AND WORLD WAR I

The History of Spiritualism. (1926, 1975)

The Vital Message . (1919, 1925)

Debate on the Truth of Spiritualism . (1920) Verbatim report of a public debate on "The truth of spiritualism" between Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, M.D., LL.D. (representing spiritualism) and Joseph McCabe (representing the Rationalist Press Association), held at the Queen's Hall, London, on March 11, 1920

The Spiritualists' Reader : a collection of spirit messages from many sources, specially prepared for short readings, compiled by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. (1924)

The Case For and Against Psychical Belief. (1927) Includes Conan Doyle’s The Psychic Question as I See It

Phantoms of the Dawn. (1924, 1938) With a foreword by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

The British campaign in France and Flanders .... (1916-1920)

The Guards Came Through and Other Poems . (1919, 1920)

To Arms!. (Facsimile edition, 1999) With preface by the Right Hon. F.E. Smith; Afterword by Squadron Leader Philip Weller. First published in 1914

A Visit to Three Fronts: Glimpses of the British, Italian and French Lines. (1916)

The Unrepentant Northcliffe: a Reply to the London "Times" of October 19, 1920, by the "unrepentant Hun" Ferdinand Hansen of New York; together with correspondence with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. (1921)

CASE FIVE: WHALING

Moby Dick, or, The Whale. Herman Melville.(Arion Press, 1979) Illustrations drawn and engraved by Barry Moser.

The Arctic Regions and the Northern Whale-fishery. William Scoresby (1849)

The Green Flag and Other Stories (1900)

Peter the Whaler by W. H. G. Kingston. (18--?)

Whaling North and South, by F. V. Morley and J. S. Hodgson (1926, 1927)

The Hunchback's Charge: a romance. William Clark Russell (1867)

The Captain of the Polestar and Other Tales. Various editions

Arthur Conan Doyle. sculpture by Margaret Nejedly (1979) (De Waal C17590) "Bronzed" clay bust on a hardwood base.

The Sign of the Three. bookends by John B. Sherwood (1979) (De Waal C16145) Ceramic, walnut stained bookends in the likeness of Holmes and Watson.

Statuette of Sherlock Holmes. Edgar R. Smith (De Waal C17545) The figure, cast in plaster from the clay model, shows the Master in a reclining position in cap and dressing gown with his pipe and violin. This particular piece was a gift from Smith to Nathan Bengis.

 

CASE SIX: DOCTOR BELL AND SHERLOCK HOLMES

Joseph Bell: an Appreciation by an Old Friend. Jessie M. E. Saxby. (1913, 1985)

Dr. Joe Bell: Model for Sherlock Holmes by Ely Liebow. (1982)

The Original of Sherlock Holmes by Harold Emery Jones. (1980)

Sherlock Holmes as a Dermatologist: With Remarks on the Life of Dr. Joseph Bell and the Sherlockian Method of Teaching. Joseph V. Klauder. (1953)

The Incredible Dr. Bell. Irving Wallace. (1948)

Joseph Bell, M.D., F.R.C.S.: "Notes on a Case of Paralysis Following Diphtheria" by Ruth J. Mann and Jack D. Key. (1982)

The Sign of the Four, or, The Problem of the Sholtos in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine (1890)

The Unique Hamlet :a Hitherto Unchronicled Adventure of Mr. Sherlock Holmes by Vincent Starrett (1920) Privately printed. One copy displays John Bennett Shaw’s bookplate and a letter from Starrett to Shaw glued to front page.

The Sign of Four, illustrated by Charles Kerr (1890)

The Real Sherlock Holmes. E.W. McDiarmid. (1984)

221b. Stained glass by Ann Taulbee (1975) (De Waal C17640) The window design includes a deerstalker, magnifying glass, calabash pipe, and the number "221b."

Sherlock Holmes. Pipe (1983) (De Waal C17701) Hand carved by a master pipe sculptor of France.

Inspector. Juan Castells Ferrándiz (1977) (De Waal C17551) Hand-carved figure of a boy with a magnifying glass, handcuffs, Inverness cape and cap, a pigeon, and a cat perched on his left shoulder.

Sherlock Holmes. Two unidentified busts

Magnifying glass

 

CENTER CASE: CONAN DOYLE’S INFLUENCE ON OTHERS

West Face: First Writings, Pastiche, Letters

Four letters from Conan Doyle to Charlotte Drummond

Note from R. [Richard?] Doyle to Hughes

Letter from Innes Doyle to Julia Holweg

Letter from Denis P. S. Conan Doyle to Miss Weld

A Visit to Heven [sic] Mary Conan Doyle (1899)

Beeton’s Christmas Annual. The first appearance of a Sherlock Holmes story—A Study in Scarlet— in print. (1887) Two copies are displayed: the Jerome Kern copy and a Marquis of Donegall copy.

The Game. Laurie R. King (2004)

Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Alliance. Larry Millett (2001)

 

South Face: Art, Publishing, Radio

Sherlock Holmes Wood Carvings from the Illustrations of Sidney Paget and Frederic Dorr Steele. Steve Franklin (1981) (De Waal C16102) This carving is based on the Collier’s cover of September 26, 1903.

The Adventure of the Empty House. illustrated by Frederic Dorr Steele. Collier's (September 26, 1903). (The Return of Sherlock Holmes, No. 1) Cover illustration of Holmes kneeling on the path above the Reichenbach chasm. First appearance.

The Adventure of Black Peter, illustrated by Frederic Dorr Steele. Collier's (February 20, 1904). (The Return of Sherlock Holmes, No. 6) Cover illustration of Holmes in Black Peter's cabin holding a harpoon.

William Gillette as Sherlock Holmes. Frederic Dorr Steele (1943)

Charles Augustus Milverton. Frederic Dorr Steele

The Adventure of the Phantom Iceberg Edith Meiser radio script (1944)

Sherlock Holmes: Tales from Baker Street. Starring Basil Rathbone, with Nigel Bruce as Doctor Watson. Murray Hill Records (1976)

A Study in Scarlet. Read by Tony Britton. (1984)

 

East Face: Film and Television

Basil Rathbone, Wendy Barrie(?), and Nigel Bruce

Portrayals of Sherlock Holmes. Commemorative plate (1989) (De Waal C16498) Limited to 5,000 numbered bone china plates with a gold rim, made in two sizes. The design on the plate is a sepia colored print taken from an original watercolor. The names of the twenty actors depicted are indicated by an outline plan on the back of the plate.

The Triumph of Sherlock Holmes. Featuring Arthur Wontner, Ian Fleming, and Lyn Harding. (1985)

The Sherlock Holmes Collection.

Donald in Mathmagic Land. Disney video

Sherlock Holmes on Disc

Sherlock Holmes on the Screen: the Motion Picture Adventures of the World's Most Popular Detective. Robert W. Pohle, Jr. and Douglas C. Hart. (1977)

Holmes of the Movies: the Screen Career of Sherlock Holmes. David Stuart Davies; foreword by Peter Cushing. (1976)

Fra Sherlock Holmes til Kojak: Berømte Detektiver: tretten historier om hovedpersonerne i krimi-beretninger fra Sherlock Holmes til TV's politiserier. Harald Mogensen. (1980)

 

North Face: Children’s Literature, Buttons, Games, Theater, Translations

Sherlock Hemlock doll

Basil of Baker Street and Basil in Mexico. Eve Titus manuscripts along with dinner program.

Letter from Adrian M. Conan Doyle to Eve Titus

Serlok Holmes, Yoldaki Ceset and other translations of Holmes stories in Spanish, Japanese, and German.

221B Baker Street: The Master Detective Game

William Gillette fold-out theatrical scenes/postcard

Various buttons

 

OVERLOOKING THE GALLERY Seeking Philanthropy My Dear Watson. One of ninety-two Linus statues from the "Linus Blankets Saint Paul" tribute to Charles M. Schulz. Sponsored by The Saint Paul Foundation, our Sherlockian Linus comes to the Libraries as a gift from the F. R. Bigelow Foundation and The Saint Paul Foundation. This Linus was given in memory of Ronald M. Hubbs, former chair of The Saint Paul Companies and the F. R. Bigelow Foundation, and an early leader in the Norwegian Explorers, the local Sherlock Holmes society.