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The Best of Sherlock Holmes
"You Know My Methods" at The Book Club of California
By Randall Stock, July 27, 2012 (first posted June 29, 2012)
The Book Club of California is hosting an extraordinary exhibition during the summer of 2012. Entitled "You Know My Methods: A Collector's Approach to the Sherlockian Canon," it features selections from the collection of Glen S. Miranker. It includes leaves from Conan Doyle's manuscript for The Hound of Baskervilles, original drawings for that story, rare first editions, and much more.
Only a few leaves from the original autograph manuscript for The Hound of the Baskervilles still survive. The first page is not known to exist, but the second is displayed in this exhibit and is recorded on the Hound of the Baskervilles manuscript census (H1). Shown in full below, the 8"x12" sheet includes a variation on Holmes's most famous quotation as "Interesting, though elementary" (line 22).
The third page of the manuscript is also on display, continuing the famous opening scene where Holmes deduces a man's character, habits, and occupation from the man's walking stick. It includes another famous Sherlockian quotation ("You know my methods. Apply them!") and a promotional label at the bottom of the page, as shown below. The American publisher distributed pages of the manuscript to bookstores for promotional displays (census HA2). This is leaf H2 on the Hound manuscript census.
Conan Doyle killed Sherlock Holmes in the 1893 story "The Final Problem." With people asking for more stories, and the American success of the William Gillette play "Sherlock Holmes," the author decided to write a new tale set before Holmes's death. Unlike the first two Holmes novels which appeared in single magazine issues, The Hound of the Baskervilles was serialized from August 1901 to April 1902 in The Strand Magazine. The British announcement poster below (approximately 12"x9") mentions the upcoming August 1901 issue and refers to the story as being "continued for several months."
Americans were eager to read a new Sherlock Holmes adventure, and the American publisher McClure Phillips delayed publication twice in order to print enough copies for the first orders. Multiple print-runs were needed, resulting in a number of different versions (states) of the first edition with minor differences. More than 70,000 copies were sold in the first few months after publication in April 1902. Despite these huge numbers, the dust jacket (shown below) is quite rare.
The exhibit checklist contains more than 40 entries, and there are easily over 100 items on display. Original artwork includes a Hound drawing by Sidney Paget, and drawings for the story by Frederic Dorr Steele and H. M Brock. There are Conan Doyle letters, a notebook, and a handwritten speech.
Besides all this material, the exhibit also includes many other rare book editions of The Hound, Sherlockian games, movie posters, and other rare Sherlockiana including the Christmas card that William Gillette sent to Conan Doyle during the opening run of his play in London!
For some more photos from the exhibit, see this article by Alyson Kuhn and this blog by Sarah Rich. But the exhibit is even better in person, and admission is free. Don't miss a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see this incredibly rare and fascinating material!
You Know My Methods: A Collector's Approach to the Sherlockian Canon
4 June – 10 September 2012
The Book Club of California, San Francisco, CA
Part of the collection of Glen S. Miranker, as described in the BCC Programs > Past Exhibitions Overview page
Admission is Free.
Unless noted, online reports were available free to the public when originally posted. Some websites may remove online articles or charge for accessing older items.
Smithsonian Magazine Blogs, July 26, 2012 (750 words)
The Deerstalker: Where Sherlock Holmes’ Popular Image Came From by Sarah C. Rich
KQED Arts / Literature, June 26, 2012 (725 words)
Far from Elementary, a Collection of Sherlock Holmes Artifacts by Sarah Hotchkiss | Jun 26, 2012
Scuttlebutt from the Spermaceti Press, June 2012, p. 1. (63 words)
["The Book Club of California...] by Peter E. Blau
Felt & Wire, June 8, 2012 (1,100 words)
The Case of the Sherlockian Miranker by Alyson Kuhn
SF Weekly, June 4, 2012 (230 words)
See Ephemera from Original Sherlock Holmes Works in "You Know My Methods" by Casey Burchby
More about Conan Doyle Manuscripts
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