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The Best of Sherlock Holmes
By Randall Stock, March 4, 2016
Written in Switzerland in 1895, Arthur Conan Doyle's original manuscript for this Brigadier Gerard story was feared lost for many years, until it emerged for sale in 2016.
Headed on first page as "The Exploits of Brigadier Gerard | II | How the king held the Brigadier," as changed from an earlier title "How the king held Brigadier Gerard" where the phrase "Brigadier Gerard" has been stricken and "the Brigadier" written above it. Signed at end as "A Conan Doyle | Belvedere Hotel | Davos Platz". Not dated, but 1895.
Conan Doyle's original autograph manuscript is written in ink on 26 pages. folio & 8vo. It includes revisions and corrections. See below for a photo of the manuscript's first page.
It is bound together with three other Brigadier Gerard manuscripts that were also written and published in 1895. The overall volume includes the bookplate of Herbert Foster Gunnison and a presentation inscription from Irving Bacheller to Gunnison. For details and a photo, see the bound manuscript section.
One of five Brigadier Gerard manuscripts offered in 2016 by James S. Jaffe Rare Books of New York.
After finishing his first Gerard story, Conan Doyle decided to write an entire series featuring Brigadier Etienne Gerard. These later stories appeared under the series title "The Exploits of Brigadier Gerard," and used Roman numerals starting with "I" despite the prior publication of the first tale. Thus, the third published Gerard story, "How the King Held the Brigadier," carried a series number of "II" on the manuscript and in the May 1895 Strand Magazine.
Although this manuscript is not dated, the manuscript of the second Gerard tale is dated 2 January 1895, and so this later tale was also finished in 1895. It was collected in The Exploits of Brigadier Gerard (1896) along with seven other Gerard stories.
For details about how the series began, see my page on "The Medal of Brigadier Gerard."
See also this page with more Brigadier Gerard publishing history.
Arthur Conan Doyle. Irving Bacheller (from inscription). Herbert Foster Gunnison. By descent from Gunnison. Offered by James S. Jaffe Rare Books in 2016.
More about Bacheller and Gunnison.
Top of first page of Conan Doyle manuscript for "How the King Held the Brigadier"
The manuscript description (above) has an additional photo and other details.
See the Jaffe catalogs for photos of three pages from this manuscript.
This 8.5 x 13.5 inch volume binds together the following four Brigadier Gerard manuscripts, which are in the same order as their original magazine publication:
According to James Jaffe, these manuscripts were "assembled using revisions written on separate pieces of paper, usually of a smaller size, or cut down to a smaller size, and inserted or taped to the original drafts." He notes they are in "very good condition, with a few tears and stains."
They are bound in contemporary three-quarter calf and marbled paper over boards, with marbled endpapers. The spine consists of six blank panels, with the top panel detached but retained. The front hinge of the binding is cracked.
The bound manuscript includes the bookplate of Herbert Foster Gunnison on the front pastedown.
There is a presentation inscription on a preliminary blank as "Presented to Herbert F. Gunnison with warm regards of Irving Bacheller."
This volume contains four of the five Brigadier Gerard manuscripts offered in 2016 by James S. Jaffe Rare Books of New York.
Photos courtesy of James S. Jaffe Rare Books
My thanks to James Jaffe for additional details and photos of the manuscript.
The first version of this report appeared March 4, 2016.
James S. Jaffe sale of five Brigadier Gerard manuscripts
Checklist of non-Sherlockian Conan Doyle Manuscripts
Census of Sherlock Holmes Manuscripts
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