The Best of Sherlock Holmes
Steve Clarkson was an incredibly generous person and a mentor to many Sherlockians. Many of us never had the chance to meet Steve in person, but we knew him well from his letters and e-mail. His writings provide another way to remember Steve both now and in the future.
I regularly use his Canonical Compendium and find it to be an invaluable reference. His essay "My First Meeting with Sherlock Holmes," reprinted below, captures the essence of Steve's interest in Sherlock Holmes and his delight in sharing this with others. You can learn even more about him by reading Paul Churchill's excellent eulogy for Steve Clarkson or consulting sources in the "About Steve" section.
11 November 2004 (revised 15 November 2011)
First Magazine Appearances of the Sherlock Holmes Stories. Berkeley Springs, WV: Kennington Press, 2004. 18p. Limited to 100 copies. A list of the first English and American magazine appearances with notes on precedence. Reviews: BSJ Autumn 2004 (v.54 #3): 57.
The Baker Street Journal 2003 Christmas Annual: "The Strength and Activity of Youth": The Junior Sherlockian Movement. NY: The Baker Street Irregulars, 2003. 64p. Stories of young Sherlockians from the sixties and seventies in their own words. Sold by the publisher at the Baker Street Journal website.
The Canonical Compendium. Ashcroft, British Columbia: Calabash Press, 1999. 429p. ISBN 1-899562-75-3. A detailed index to the Holmes adventures, with both a Topical Index of 80 categories and 144 subcategories and 60 individual Story Indexes. Cross-references are provided to five major editions of the Holmes tales. Reviews: BSJ Spring 2000 (v.50 #1): 47; SHJ Winter 2000 (v.25 #1): 29-30. Sold at the Calabash Press website.
The Sherlockian Star Chamber. Shelburne, Ontario: The Battered Silicon Dispatch Box, 1996. 292p. Numbered Hard Cover limited to 221 copies. Illustrated by Paul Churchill, with Introductions and Afterwords by Kate Karlson and Susan Z. Diamond. ISBN 1-896648-71-1. A collection of 69 quizzes on the Holmes tales and Sherlockian topics. Also published as two separate paperback books:
- The Sherlockian Star Chamber Questions. Shelburne, Ontario: The Battered Silicon Dispatch Box, 1996. 106p. ISBN 1-896648-88-6.
- The Sherlockian Star Chamber Answers. Shelburne, Ontario: The Battered Silicon Dispatch Box, 1996. 186p. ISBN 1-896648-89-4.
Editor with Rosie Vogel. The Garroter. March 1972 (v.1 #1). St. Louis: The Cavendish Squares, Ltd. 1 issue. De Waal C12521.
Editor with Glenn J. Shea. The Report Card. June 1971-September 1976 (#1-18). Owings Mills, Md.; Jewett City, Conn.: The Board-School Beacons. 18 issues. De Waal C12616.
Editor with William J. Walsh. The Hurlstone Papers: A Quarterly of Holmesians. Summer 1971 (v.1 #1). Suffern, N.Y.: The Musgrave Ritualists Beta. 1 issue. De Waal C12537.
What's New Under the Scions. 1970? Announced in BSJ September 1970 (v.20 #3) p.187, but not in De Waal and may not exist. Please contact me if you have details on this item.
The Kimberley Diamond Mine Substitution Scandal. [Owings Mills , Md.: Privately Produced, 1970.] 12 p. A parody with Shearlock Combs and Dr. Witsend. De Waal C21981.
The Man-Eater of Jahlreel, or The Adventure of a Heavy Game Hunter in India. Baltimore, Md.: The American Press, Inc., February 1970. 7 p. Limited to 250 numbered copies. De Waal C10020.
The Six Napoleons, Scion Society of the Baker Street Irregulars. [Baltimore, Md.: Privately printed, December 1969.] 20p. Introduction by Paul S. Clarkson (Sr.). Limited to 250 copies. The history of this large scion society. De Waal C15686.
"`The Tracing of a Family Mannerism'." The Baker Street Journal Summer 2004 (v.54 #2): 50-51.
----. Reprinted in Irene's Cabinet 2004 (v.2): 35-36.
"The Case of Lady Sannox." The World of Sherlock Holmes December 2002 (v.25): 28-41. [in Japanese, translated by Naomi Tanaka].
----. Reprinted in The Hounds' Collection 2003 (v.8): 45-53. [in English].
"An Interview with Sir Eustace Brackenstall." Irene's Cabinet 2003 (v.1): 4-10.
"The Agony Columns." Irene's Cabinet 2003 (v.1): 48-49.
"My First Meeting with Sherlock Holmes." The Baker Street Journal Spring 2000 (v.50 #1): 55-56.
"The Bully of the Reichenbach Falls." The Hounds' Collection 2000 (v.5): 62-64.
"The Barghest of the Baskervilles." The Baker Street Journal June 1999 (v.49 #2): 33-38.
"Stand with me here upon the terrace": Paul S. Clarkson, [Sr.] ("The Red Leech"). The Baker Street Journal December 1988 (v.38 #4): 242. An obituary for Steve's father.
"Take That, You Hound!" The Serpentine Muse Spring-Summer 1979 (v.4 #4): 10-12, 19. De Waal C9897.
"`Sir Huxtable's' Sidelights on The Empty House." The Holmesian Observer Annual 1975 (#2): 9-11. De Waal C6519.
"Another Case of Identity." The Baker Street Journal June 1972 (v.22 #2): 84-86. De Waal C7947.
"Scotland Yard Outfoxed??!!" The Garroter March 1972 (v.1 #1 ): 2-6. De Waal C7987.
"`Sir Huxtable's' Sidelights on Last." The Holmesian Observer February 1972 (Spring Supplement): 2, 4. De Waal C7149.
"Colonel Moran Revisited." The Hurlstone Papers Summer 1971 (v.1 #1): 2-5. De Waal C10024.
"`Sir Huxtable's' Sidelights on Prio." The Holmesian Observer April 1971 (v.1 #2): 4-5. De Waal C7333.
"The Case of the Disappearing Dispatch-Box." The Baker Street Journal December 1970 (v.20 #4): 200-203. De Waal C13310.
"A Case of Bluemail" by Stephen Clarkson. The Case Files of Sherlock Holmes: The Blue Carbuncle edited by Christopher & Barbara Roden. Ashcroft, B.C.: Calabash Press, 1999, pp. 177-181.
Preface by Steve Clarkson. A Canonical Handbook [2nd ed.] by Andrew Page. Owings Mills, Md.: [Privately Produced], June 1971 [June 1972].  34,  p. De Waal C5706.
Preface by Steve Clarkson. A Canonical Handbook by Andrew Page. Owings Mills, Md.: [Privately Produced], June 1971. , 28 p. De Waal C5706.
Introduction by Steve Clarkson. Priory Papers: A Study in Examinations edited by Andrew Page. Owings Mills, Md.: Privately Produced, June 1971.] 15 p. De Waal C18424.
With Paul G. Churchill. 19 June 1891 Cheque by John H. Watson drawn on Cox & Co. [reproduction]. Distributed at the January 7, 1994 dinner of The Baker Street Irregulars. A faux-cheque for storage of the famous tin dispatch box, with comments by Clarkson and Churchill. De Waal C17317.
[A Baker Street Dozen of Puns] handout for the January 1992 dinner of The Baker Street Irregulars. Reference: BSJ September 1992 (v.42 #3): 185. Please contact me if you have details.
Bust of Sherlock Holmes. Owings Mills, Md.: 1972. A 4 1/2 inch bust, cast in clay with a sandstone finish. Mounted on a wood pedestal. De Waal C17548.
A note about this list:
Despite my best efforts, it's quite possible that this list is incomplete. Steve's writings appeared with a variety of credits, including Steve Clarkson, Steven Clarkson, Stephen Clarkson, P. Stephen Clarkson, Paul S. Clarkson, Jr., and his BSI investiture of "Morse Hudson." His father, Paul S. Clarkson, Sr., was also an eminent Sherlockian and published a number of Sherlockian articles and reviews. De Waal reports some items from the Worcester Telegram by "Paul S. Clarkson," but I believe that these were by his father
At any rate, corrections and additions to this list are encouraged. Please contact me with details.
Reprinted from The Baker Street Journal Spring 2000 (v.50 #1): 55-56.
My First Meeting with Sherlock Holmes
By Stephen Clarkson
It was the late summer of 1946, and a lawyer verging on middle age trudged up the front steps to his home. He was burdened with a huge leather briefcase, the kind that holds a dozen law books or a weekend's worth of legal briefs. Before he could put his hand on the knob, the door opened and he was greeted by a bespectacled, red-headed boy who was "almost" eight years old.
"Did you go to the Library, Daddy?" the boy asked eagerly.
Smiling, his father replied, "Yes, and I got a few books for you. But there's one I want you to read first."
Without even pausing to remove his hat and suit coat—for he was well aware how eager his son was for fresh reading material—he opened the voluminous briefcase and brought out a slender book with a blue cover entitled The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. "I think you're old enough to enjoy this," he said, passing the book over to his son.
"Gee, thanks!" was the response, and the lad made a beeline for his favorite armchair (it was also his father's favorite) and settled down to read. As he read, his eyes widened slightly behind his already-thick eyeglasses and his absorption became total. Soon it was supper-time, and his mother called him to the table. "Just a minute, Mom," he said, without moving his eyes from the page. She had to call him three times before he reluctantly put down the book and wended his way into the dining room.
As you have guessed by now, I was that little boy. Fifty-three years later I abashedly admit that I don't recall what the first story I read was, nor the name of the publisher of that little blue volume. But I was hooked—boy, was I hooked! It wasn't long before I asked my Dad if I could "borrow" his Doubleday Complete Sherlock Holmes when he wasn't using it. That was a more daring request than you might imagine, because a couple of months earlier my parents had attended the formative meeting of a Sherlock Holmes society they decided to name "The Six Napoleons of Baltimore, Maryland." My Dad used his Doubleday, frequently. But that was one reason I liked to read it—because all through it there were marginal notes he had written to himself preliminary to writing an article for the BAKER STREET JOURNAL or a quiz for the next meeting of the Six Napoleons.
Dad was very active in Sherlockian affairs, and I recall that on a couple of occasions we were visited by a silver-haired gentleman who would sit out in our backyard chatting about Holmes over cocktails with my Dad. (I just sat on the grass and listened.) The guest's name was Edgar W. Smith. In any case, my Dad used to involve me in his research for JOURNAL articles such as "In the Beginning...," which entailed listening to a lot of LP records to find the magic passage "Tra-la-la-lira-lira-lay." I quickly got the idea that there was much more to the stories than what first meets the eye. Little did I imagine, though, that I would continue finding new and interesting things in the stories no matter how many times I read them.
By the time I was nine years old I had read through that old Doubleday twice, working my way through A Study in Scarlet, The Sign of the Four, The Hound of the Baskervilles (which I doggedly finished in one sitting), and The Valley of Fear along the way. When I was fifteen my Dad took me to my first Six Napoleons meeting. I remember how a young attorney who had just joined a few months earlier took me under his wing and guided me in the strange ways of this group. His name is Philip Sherman, and I still regard him as my mentor.
After three meetings, it was time for what is known as "The Napoleonic Inquisition." This is a ritual which must be undergone by each postulant for membership. It consists of three or four senior Napoleons taking the trembling neophyte aside and peppering him with questions drawn from every quarter of the Canon. I remember some of the questions asked of me by the stern-faced interrogators: "Name The Four." "What were the six aliases used by Sherlock Holmes?" "Which adventure contains two one-legged men?" On went the relentless catechism for perhaps fifteen minutes, at the end of which time I was told that I was doing miserably in my quest to become a Napoleon, and must answer the final question correctly to have any hope at all of succeeding. The question was intoned (after a solemn hesitation): "What was Martha Hudson's given name?" And so I learned that it was all in fun, that I was going to become a Napoleon after all. Twelve years after that I became Commissionaire IX of the Napoleons, then Gasogene XII four years later. The capstone was added the following year, when Dr. Julian Wolff came to Baltimore to bestow an Irregular Shilling upon me, with the Titular Investiture of "Morse Hudson."
How remarkable to think that it happened thirty years ago! It seems like yesterday. All because of a little blue book entitled The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Who would have thought it?
This posting allowed by the courtesy of The Baker Street Journal. Copyright © 2000 Baker Street Irregulars.
Paul Stephen Clarkson, Jr. (November 17, 1938 - October 19, 2004)
Steve Clarkson was a Sherlockian for nearly 60 years. A mentor to many Sherlockians, he also produced two books about the Holmes stories and assembled a fine collection of Conan Doyle first editions and magazine first appearances. He was always willing to share his expertise and to assist people in research and discussion of the Holmes tales.
A few highlights from his life:
- List-owner of The Hounds of the Internet (2000-2004)
- Author of The Canonical Compendium (1999)
- Author of The Sherlockian Star Chamber (1996)
- Co-founder of Watson's Tin Box of Ellicott City (1990)
- Invested as "Morse Hudson" in The Baker Street Irregulars (1970)
- Selected Gasogene XII of The Six Napoleons of Baltimore (1968)
"In Memoriam: Paul Stephen Clarkson, Jr." A eulogy by Paul Churchill.
This wonderful eulogy by Paul Churchill was given at Steve's funeral service.
Obituaries and Notices:
The Hounds' Collection 2005 (v.10) p. 73-79.
"Stand with me here upon the terrace..." – Steve Clarkson (Messages to Hounds list on his passing)
The Baker Street Journal, Winter 2004 (Vol. 54, No. 4) p. 51
" 'Stand with me here upon the terrace...' Stephen Clarkson ('Morse Hudson')"
Scuttlebutt from the Spermaceti Press, October 2004 page #6
[Paul S. Clarkson, Jr. ...] by Peter Blau
The Baltimore Sun 10/25/05 p.7B (Final edition p.5B Local section)
"P. Stephen Clarkson Jr., 65, Social Security analyst" (requires free registration at site)
- If the link doesn't work, go to http://www.baltimoresun.com/ and use the search/site function with "Clarkson died"
The Baltimore Sun 10/23/2004 [funeral notice]
De Waal, Ronald Burt. The Universal Sherlock Holmes. Edited by George A. Vanderburgh. Foreword by John Bennett Shaw. Illustrated by Betty and George Wells. Toronto: Metropolitan Toronto Reference Library, 1994. As the ultimate index to all things Sherlockian, this provided many of the references noted above. It's sold at the Battered Silicon Dispatch Box website under the Reference Books category in hardcover and plastic comb versions, and as a PDF on CD-ROM under the Octagon Project category.
The Baker Street Journal on CD-ROM includes all the articles and reviews appearing in The Baker Street Journal through the end of 2000. It's available from the BSJ website.
The Sherlock Holmes Journal 1952-2002 and Geraldine Beare's Index on CD-ROM turned up some reviews of Steve's publications. It's available at the Battered Silicon Dispatch Box website under the Octagon Project category and from the Sherlock Holmes Society of London website.
The Hounds' Collection may still be available from the publisher at <email@example.com> or from The Mysterious Bookshop at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Thanks to Bill Barnes, Paul Churchill, Sonia Fetherston, Steven Rothman, Naomi Tanaka, and George Vanderburgh for their help and contributions. Thanks to The Baker Street Journal and the Baker Street Irregulars for permission to reprint "My First Meeting with Sherlock Holmes."
"In Memoriam: Paul Stephen Clarkson, Jr." A eulogy by Paul Churchill.
Vers. 1.70b Original work