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The Best of Sherlock Holmes
Manuscripts are more than collectors' items. They can reveal the process – creative and editorial – that went into creating a work. They can also reveal something of the author's personality. As such they are important resources when studying an author and his writings.
A manuscript is a one-of-a-kind item and is often difficult
to locate. The growing availability of web-based catalogs and online
finding aids is helping, but many institutions have yet to convert their older
catalog holdings into electronic entries. Even when they have, it can be
time-consuming to wade through all the entries from meta-databases. Thus
there is a need for specialized checklists such as the ones noted here for Sir
Arthur Conan Doyle.
This summary provides locations for the original Holmes story manuscripts. See also related information below.
This Checklist for works other than the 60 Holmes stories includes descriptions and locations for many of Conan Doyle's autograph manuscripts.
The original Hound manuscript now exists mostly as separate leaves.
This census lists the owners of lots from Christie's May 2004 sale of Conan Doyle material.
See also these related items:
A real-life story, beautifully produced: Conan Doyle's "Dangerous Work": Diary of an Arctic Adventure (2012)
Swann Galleries offers "Through the Veil," "The Nightmare Room," and "The Parish Magazine"
The Museum of London opens largest exhibition of rare Sherlockiana since 1951
Reproduction of a Holmes parody written by Conan Doyle for Queen Mary
Christie's New York sold a Holmes manuscript and an iconic Paget drawing
The last Brigadier Gerard story written by Conan Doyle is added to Toronto's collection
The British Library holds a free exhibition in Murder in the Library: An A-Z of Crime Fiction
Christie's New York sold leaf H36 (from Chapter 12 of The Hound)
Freeman's of Philadelphia sold the manuscript of Conan Doyle's farewell to Sherlock Holmes
The Book Club of California exhibit includes two leaves, an original Paget, and much more
The British Library sends its first Holmes manuscript as part of a showcase of British culture
Goldberg Coins & Collectibles offers leaf H31 (chapter-head for Ch. 13)
The British Library publishes Conan Doyle's lost first novel from manuscript it now holds
Bloomsbury Auctions in London sold this Conan Doyle cricket story
Anna Conan Doyle's estate delivered three manuscripts to the Toronto Public Library
Dame Jean Conan Doyle's estate delivered the manuscript to Portsmouth.
Sotheby's New York auction for the manuscript of Sherlock Holmes final adventure
The sale at Sotheby's New York also included a copy of Beeton's Christmas Annual 1887.
Dame Jean Conan Doyle's estate delivered the manuscript to the National Library Scotland.
Dame Jean Conan Doyle's estate offered three manuscripts for sale
The sale at Sotheby's New York also included a famous Sidney Paget drawing of Holmes and Moriarty.
The first Holmes manuscript sent to auction in five years was sold at Christie's New York.
Some of Conan Doyle's heirs sold an extensive collection of his letters, manuscripts, and personal effects.
Dame Jean Conan Doyle's estate delivered this Sherlock Holmes manuscript to the British Library
Six original Conan Doyle manuscripts were offered for sale by the estate of Dame Jean Conan Doyle, the last surviving child of Sir Arthur.
Census Summary of the Sherlock Holmes Manuscripts:
Census for The Hound of the Baskervilles manuscript leaves
See the News and recent sale items listed above.
Many of the original Holmes story manuscripts are held in library special collections or by private collectors. Facsimiles of these manuscripts (including illustrations of individual pages) are somewhat more accessible. An up-to-date checklist of these facsimiles should help you to locate them.
The Checklist currently has more than 130 source entries for material from 28 Sherlock Holmes stories. Subsets of the Checklist appear on additional Web pages and are organized to support other uses of the data. Supplementary research information is also provided. You can read more about the Checklist in the Summer 2003 Baker Street Journal article "Perfect Reproductions: Some Notes on Canonical Manuscripts" by Randall Stock.
This checklist includes a detailed description of the reproduced text as well as citations for the sources of the reproductions. It is sorted by story title to help you locate all the available manuscript reproductions for a specific Canonical tale.
A few manuscript pictures are available on the Internet. Use this list to quickly find and view them online.
It's often useful to be able to locate all the facsimiles in a specific publication. This list is sorted by the title of the book or periodical containing reproductions. It only includes source citations, but these can be cross-referenced to the Checklist.
Sometimes it helps to know which sources have already been checked even if they do not contain reproductions. This page contains extra information on catalogues, including those from the House of El Dieff, Christie's and Sotheby's.
If you have an extensive collection of Sherlockiana, especially bookseller or auction catalogues, please look at this list to see if you could help to augment the current checklist information.
A list of changes to the Checklist.
Other Websites with Facsimile Information
The Baker Street Irregulars literary society is publishing their Manuscript Series of facsimile editions of manuscripts and other documents relating to Sherlock Holmes and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. These include the first-ever color reproduction of a Holmes manuscript in Irregular Stain ("The Second Stain"). Other titles in the series include The Wrong Passage ("The Golden Pince-Nez"), Bohemian Souls ("A Scandal in Bohemia"), So Painful a Scandal ("The Three Students"), Mandate for Murder ("The Red Circle"), The Napoleon Bust Business Again ("The Six Napoleons"), The Hound of the Baskervilles (Chapter XI), and the Holmes-related play Angels of Darkness. They are available from the Baker Street Journal website.
The complete facsimile of "Shoscombe Old Place" was published by the Bibliothèque cantonale et universitaire de Lausanne in a limited edition of 200 copies. It is sold out. A University newsletter (PDF in French) provides some information about it.
The complete facsimile of "The Lion's Mane" is still available from Calabash Press.
The complete facsimile of "The Dying Detective" was published in 1991 and is out of print.
The complete facsimile of "The Priory School" was published in 1985 (try rare book dealers including James Pepper Rare Books).
Murderland is an excursion book published for the 2004 Valley of Fear tour. It includes facsimiles of five pages of Conan Doyle's manuscript notes for the story and a fine essay about the manuscript's history by Peter Blau. The book is available at the BSJ website Murderland sale page.
The Baker Street Journal contains many manuscript reproductions. A DVD with all issues from inception through 2011 is available from the Baker Street Journal website eBSJ version 2 page. See also Tips on using the eBSJ, and use this List of Citations to quickly identify all the reproductions in the Baker Street Journal.
The Sherlock Holmes Journal also contains many manuscript reproductions. The e-SHJ CD-ROM includes all issues from inception through Summer 2002 and is available at the Sherlock Holmes Society of London website and through the CD producer George Vanderburgh. See this site's Tips on using the e-SHJ CD and use this List of Citations to quickly identify all the reproductions in the Sherlock Holmes Journal.
Other Conan Doyle Facsimiles
Conan Doyle's Arctic Diary from 1880
Conan Doyle's "Dangerous Work": Diary of an Arctic Adventure, including a full-color manuscript facsimile and more, was published in 2012.
The Horror of the Heights
Produced for a 2004 conference at the University of Minnesota, this fine facsimile includes valuable annotations, a transcription, and more. See my review of the Horror of the Heights facsimile and get it from Calabash Press.
A Regimental Scandal
The Arthur Conan Doyle Society published a complete facsimile of this short story in 1995. It's edited by Christopher and Barbara Roden, with a foreword by Dame Jean Conan Doyle and an introduction by Richard Lancelyn Green. Out of print.
The first Sherlock Holmes publication: Beeton's Christmas Annual 1887 with A Study in Scarlet
Famous Sherlockian art: Sidney Paget Original Sherlock Holmes Drawings and other artwork
The best and most valuable Sherlock Holmes pastiche: The Unique Hamlet by Vincent Starrett
This site contains other Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes information. Don't miss the lists of each year's best Sherlock Holmes books & DVDs, the most famous Sherlock Holmes quotes, and more Top 10 Lists.