The Best of Sherlock Holmes
A Gift to Portsmouth
The original manuscript of "The Adventure of the Creeping Man," a Sherlock Holmes story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, went to Portsmouth, England in April 2009 and became part of that city's Arthur Conan Doyle Collection. Dame Jean Conan Doyle, the last surviving child of Sir Arthur, died in 1997 and bequeathed the manuscript to a museum or library in Portsmouth. It came to the city some twelve years later, just in time for the 150th anniversary of Sir Arthur's birth.
The Strand Magazine first published this story in March 1923, and it appeared that same month in the United States in Hearst's International Magazine. It was included in the final collection of Holmes short stories, The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes, in 1927.
Portsmouth also holds many other Conan Doyle rarities in its Arthur Conan Doyle Collection, Richard Lancelyn Green Bequest.
The 44-page autograph manuscript is written in black ink on lined exercise book paper. It's signed at the end of the story as "Arthur Conan Doyle | Crowborough" and is not dated. There is no separate title page, but the first page of text is headed "'The Adventure of the Creeping Man." It's bound in white leather and titled in gilt as shown here. After story text ends, there are several additional blank pages from the exercise book, and on the last page appears some scribbling done in pencil.
Collection website: http://www.conandoylecollection.co.uk
Portsmouth 30 April 2009 press release: http://www.portsmouth.gov.uk/yourcouncil/15321_15565.html
From the Estate of Jean Conan Doyle. Portsmouth City Council.
Photo Courtesy of Portsmouth
Dame Jean bequeathed her three Sherlock Holmes manuscripts to museums or libraries in different cities. The British Library received "The Retired Colurman" from her estate in 2004 and the National Library of Scotland got "The Illustrious Client" manuscript in 2006.
The following reports were available online.
The News (Portsmouth), 30 April 2009
Conan Doyle's handwriting now safely in Portsmouth's hands by Alex Forsyth
Announces receipt of the manuscript
Portsmouth is home to the Arthur Conan Doyle Collection, Richard Lancelyn Green Bequest. This collection includes 2,000 Conan Doyle or Sherlock Holmes related objects, 16,000 books and more than 1,000 boxes of archive material. Green was one of the world's leading experts on Sherlock Holmes and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. He died in 2004 and gave his collection to Portsmouth.
Some important material in the collection includes:
A fine copy of Beeton's Christmas Annual for 1887 with the first appearance of Sherlock Holmes, which is more fully described as copy R23 in my Beeton's Christmas Annual 1887 Checklist and Census.
An original Sherlock Holmes portrait by Sidney Paget, the most famous illustrator of the Holmes stories in The Strand Magazine.
An original Sidney Paget drawing for Conan Doyle's Brigadier Gerard story "The Crime of the Brigadier."
A Sidney Paget drawing for a Martin Hewitt detective story by Arthur Morrison.
More details for the Paget material are listed in my Census of Sidney Paget Original Drawings and Artwork.
Arthur Conan Doyle Collection
BBC News, 6 August 2004
Holmes collection left to library
Culture 24, 6 August 2004
Conan Doyle Collection Comes Home to Portsmouth by David Prudames
My thanks to Claire Looney and Michael Gunton from the city of Portsmouth for their assistance with my research on "The Creeping Man" manuscript.
Return to Manuscripts Home page and Introduction
Vers. 1.80ax Original work