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The Unique Hamlet by Vincent Starrett: A First Edition Census

By Randall Stock, August 2, 2013

 

Ellery Queen proclaimed that "The Unique Hamlet" was "one of the finest pure pastiches of Sherlock Holmes ever written."  It's a short story, but it first appeared as a separate booklet printed for a limited audience.  That first edition is now quite rare, and is probably the most valuable Holmes story not written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  This census identifies the confirmed existing copies, but please contact me if you know of others.

 

Census Topics

First Edition Description

Summary of Recorded Copies

Index of Copies:    Confirmed    Excluded

Other Appearances & Reprints

Sources and Acknowledgements

More Sherlock Holmes Rarities

 

Read the Full Story Online

 

 

First Edition Description of The Unique Hamlet

 

First edition 1920 title page: The Unique Hamlet by Vincent Starrett

Published in December 1920, the first edition of The Unique Hamlet probably consisted of 110 copies issued as two variants.  These fragile 40-page booklets are 19.5 x 14 cm. (7.7 x 5.5 inches).

 

Pagination:

[1] half-title; [2] blank; [3] title; [4] Copyright 1920 by | VINCENT STARRETT || [at lower right] THE | TORCH | PRESS | CEDAR | RAPIDS | IOWA; [5] To | Sir Arthur Conan Doyle | with admiration and apologies;  [6] blank; 7-39 text; [40] blank.

 

Variant 1: Vincent Starrett (10 copies, possibly 11)

Plain dark brown boards (see VS1).  Spine with typed label: THE UNIQUE HAMLET—STARRETT [running vertically from bottom to top of book]

 

Title page: THE UNIQUE HAMLET | A HITHERTO UNCHRONICLED ADVENTURE | OF MR. SHERLOCK HOLMES || BY | VINCENT STARRETT || [ornament] || PRIVATELY PRINTED | FOR THE FRIENDS OF VINCENT STARRETT | CHICAGO ILLINOIS AT CHRISTMAS | NINETEEN HUNDRED TWENTY

 

Photo Courtesy of Richard Sveum

 

 

Variant 2: Walter M. Hill  (100 copies, possibly 190)

Plain tan (mustard) boards (see WMH1).  Spine as above.

 

Title page: as above, but with FOR THE FRIENDS OF WALTER M. HILL instead of the Starrett line.

 

 

Notes:

Starrett revised the title for later appearances to "The Adventure of the Unique Hamlet."  Pagination does not include a free endpaper at front or back.  The sheets are cut at head (top) with uneven fore-edge and tail (bottom).  Printed by The Torch Press of Cedar Rapids , Iowa.

 

Topics


 

Summary of Recorded Copies

 

This census identifies 51 copies of the 1920 first edition of The Unique Hamlet.  Libraries hold 24 of them.  The University of Minnesota has three copies.  The Library of Congress and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill each hold two copies.

 

The first edition consists of two variants: a Starrett imprint and a Hill imprint.  Starrett stated that they are both equally first editions with no priority.  The Starrett imprint is rarer than the Hill imprint.

 

This census records 9 of the 10 copies that Starrett reported with his imprint, as well as unbound copy VS9 that was probably not part of Starrett's count.  The Library of Congress holds two with Starrett imprints, and the current owner of copy VS5 below has not been identified.

 

The census lists 41 confirmed copies with the Hill imprint, and 22 of these are held by libraries.  Reports on the number of Hill copies range from 90 to 250, but the most likely number at this point seems to be 100.

 

If you know of any other copies, please contact me.  I keep sources and owner identities private upon request.

 

Details on all copies are based on direct reports to me from the owners or library staff (not catalogs), unless the owner is listed as "not identified."  Provenance starts with the first known owner, comes from a variety of sources, and may be incomplete.  The census numbers (e.g., VS1) are provided for identification purposes only and do not reflect any specific ordering.  Abbreviated dates are in the American form of month/day/year.

 

Topics


 

Copy Index

 

VS1.  Private collector in Switzerland

VS2.  Private collection of Dr. Constantine Rossakis

VS3.  Private collection of Glen Miranker

VS4.  Private collection of Andrew Peck

VS5.  Not Identified (Lackritz copy)

VS6.  Private collection of Paul Herbert

VS7.  The Library of Congress (Washington, D.C.)

VS8.  The Library of Congress (Washington, D.C.)

VS9.  Private collection of Dr. Richard J. Sveum

VS10.  Private collection of William Goodrich

 

WMH1.  Private collection of Dr. Richard J. Sveum

WMH2.  Private collection of Peter E. Blau

WMH3.  Private collection of Steven Rothman

WMH4.  Private collection of Dr. C. Frederick Kittle

WMH5.  Private collection of Glen Miranker

WMH6.  Private collection of Douglas Greene

WMH7.  Private collection of Dr. Constantine Rossakis

WMH8.  Private collection of Dr. Constantine Rossakis

WMH9.  Private collection of Andrew G. Fusco, BSI

WMH10.  Private collection of Ralph Hall, BSI

WMH11.  Private collection of Otto Penzler

WMH12.  Private Collector in Wisconsin

WMH13.  Private collection of Alexis Galanos

WMH14.  For sale by the Mysterious Bookshop

WMH15.  For sale by Peter L. Stern, a dealer (Kaye bookplate)

WMH16.  Private collection of Andrew Peck

WMH17.  Columbia University (New York City, New York)

WMH18.  Desales University (Center Valley, Pennsylvania)

WMH19.  The Huntington Library (San Marino, CA)

WMH20.  Indiana University (Bloomington, Indiana)

WMH21.  St. Louis Public Library (St. Louis, Missouri)

WMH22.  Toronto Public Library (Toronto, Canada)

WMH23.  Tulane University (New Orleans, Louisiana)

WMH24.  University of California at Berkeley (Berkeley, California)

WMH25.  University of California, San Diego (La Jolla, California)

WMH26.  University of Illinois at Chicago (Chicago, Illinois)

WMH27.  University of Iowa (Iowa City, Iowa)

WMH28.  University of Louisville (Louisville, Kentucky)

WMH29.  University of Minnesota (Minneapolis, Minnesota)

WMH30.  University of Minnesota (Minneapolis, Minnesota)

WMH31.  University of Minnesota (Minneapolis, Minnesota)

WMH32.  University of New Mexico (Albuquerque, New Mexico)

WMH33.  University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Chapel Hill, North Carolina)

WMH34.  University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Chapel Hill, North Carolina)

WMH35.  University of Southern California (Los Angeles, California)

WMH36.  University of Texas (Austin, Texas)

WMH37.  Northern Illinois University (DeKalb, Illinois)

WMH38.  Private collector in Switzerland

WMH39.  Private collection of Leslie S. Klinger

WMH40.  Folger Shakespeare Library (Washington, DC)

WMH41.  For sale by Peter L. Stern, a dealer (Goldstone bookplate)

 

Excluded Copies

UHX1.  York University (Copy Missing)

UHX2.  University of Southern California (Copy Missing)

UHX3.  Not Identified (Conan Doyle copy) - Hill imprint (Reported)

UHX4.  Not Identified (Margolin copy) - Hill imprint (Reported)

UHX5. Various Universities/Libraries (eBook reference)

 

Topics


 

Confirmed Vincent Starrett (VS) Copies of The Unique Hamlet

 

All reports indicate that 10 copies with the Starrett imprint were published.  However, it's likely that the unbound copy (VS9 below) was not included in that count, so the best estimate at this time is that there are 11 Starrett copies.

 

VS1.  Private collector in Switzerland

Photo of The Unique Hamlet by Vincent Starrett: copy VS1

Inscribed by Starrett to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle on front free endpaper.  No bookplates or other markings.

 

Inscribed: My Dear Sir Arthur - I am wondering whether, by sending you this impertinence in print, I may not be adding insult to injury!  However, I think you know how deeply I admire Holmes (not to mention Saxon, Aylward, Nigel, and the rest of the glorious company), and so perhaps you will only smile at this dubious tribute.  It is, at least, well-intentioned, if there be any merit left in that old and furtive apology.  Sincerely, Vincent Starrett, 7 Dec. 1920.

 

Provenance: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (inscription); Conan Doyle family (Adrian Conan Doyle); Swiss book dealer; current owner (acquired 1992).

 

References: Owner 4/13/10 email to me; see also copy UHX3.  (Last updated: 9/15/10)

 

Photo Courtesy of the Owner

 

 

 

VS2.  Private collection of Dr. Constantine Rossakis

Signed twice by Starrett on the front free endpaper, once likely in 1920 and then with inscription  in 1932.  Separate pencil note by Starrett on back cover stating there were 10 Starrett copies and 100 Hill copies produced.  Includes bookplate of Willard S. Morse.

 

Inscribed: For Willard S. Morse, after twelve years of search! Faithfully, Vincent Starrett - Dec. 1932.

 

Provenance: Willard S. Morse (inscription); Collector in New England; Rossakis (acquired 2002).

 

References: Rossakis phone calls, email and postal mail to me June-July 2010.  (Last updated: 7/10/10)

 

 

VS3.  Private collection of Glen Miranker

Inscribed by Starrett to his mother on front free endpaper.  No bookplates or other markings.  In a worn, light-tan glassine wrapper.

 

Inscribed: For Mother, | with love, at Christmas, | from the author, | alias | Vincent Starrett | Dec. 1920

 

Provenance: Margaret Deniston Young Starrett (Vincent's mother; from inscription).

 

References: Miranker August 2012 & May 2010 emails to me;  Born in a Bookshop by Vincent Starrett.  (Last updated: 8/4/12)

 

 

VS4.  Private collection of Andrew Peck

Inscribed by Starrett on front free endpaper.  Bookplate of Thomas B. Costain

 

Inscribed: For Christopher Millard | With Christmas Greetings | Vincent Starrett | Dec. 1920.

 

Provenance: Thomas B. Costain (bookplate); Andrew Peck (acquired from bookseller Christian Mattson in the Baltimore area).

 

References: Peck 8/1/10 email to me.  (Last updated: 8/1/10)

 

 

VS5.  Not Identified (Lackritz copy)

Inscribed and signed by Starrett on the front free endpaper.  Bookplate of W. MacDonald MacKay.

 

Inscribed: Dear MacKay--Warmest greetings at Christmas! Vincent Starrett, Dec. 1920.

 

Provenance: W. MacDonald MacKay (inscription and bookplate); Richard M. Lackritz (sold 17 April 2002).

 

References: Christies New York 17 April 2002 catalog.  Please contact me if you know the location of this copy.  (Last updated: 7/25/10)

 

 

VS6.  Private collection of Paul Herbert

Vincent Starrett signature on front free endpaper.  No bookplates or other markings.

 

Inscribed: none (signed on ffep).

 

Provenance: Purchased by the current owner circa 2000 from a Texas seller on eBay.

 

References: Herbert July 2010 emails to me.  (Last updated: 7/9/10)

 

 

VS7.  The Library of Congress (Washington, D.C.)

Library of Congress Copyright Deposit bookplate on front paste-down, stamped "DEC-6 1920" and "© CL A 601858" on copyright page.

 

Inscribed: none.

 

Library website: http://www.loc.gov

Library Catalog Record: PZ3.S7966 Un FT MEADE (copy 1)

 

Provenance: Library of Congress, December 6, 1920 (stamped).

 

Notes: Catalog record contains incorrect publisher imprint, notes, and OCLC number.  Taken to Rare Books in July 2010 but current storage location within LOC is unconfirmed.

 

References: Catalog 8/12/12 & 7/21/10; Library staff email 8/9/12 & 7/28/10.  (Last updated: 8/12/12)

 

 

VS8.  The Library of Congress (Washington, D.C.)

Library of Congress bookplate on front paste-down, stamped "DEC-6 1920" and "© CL A 601858" on copyright page.

 

Inscribed: none.

 

Library website: http://www.loc.gov

Library Catalog Record: PZ3.S7966 Un FT MEADE (copy 2)

 

Provenance: Library of Congress, December 6, 1920 (stamped).

 

Notes: Catalog record contains incorrect publisher imprint, notes, and OCLC number.  Taken to Rare Books in July 2010 but current storage location within LOC is unconfirmed.

 

References: Catalog 8/12/12 & 7/21/10; Library staff email 8/9/12 & 7/28/10.  (Last updated: 8/12/12)

 

 

VS9.  Private collection of Dr. Richard J. Sveum

Not bound, with thicker manila cover sheets (top and bottom), and a blank sheet before the half-title and after page 39.  The top fold was uncut until 2009.  No indication of it ever being bound.  See above for photo of title page.

 

Inscribed: none.

 

Provenance: Midwest Book Hunters Book Fair; Steve Stilwell, bookseller; Richard Sveum (acquired ca. 2007).

 

References: Sveum April 2010 emails to me.  (Last updated: 4/16/10)

 

 

VS10.  Private collection of William Goodrich

Signed and inscribed by Starrett on front free endpaper.  Starrett Sherlock Holmes bookplate on front paste-down.  Pencil note on back paste-down: 10 copies for V.S., pres. copy to his aunt.  In a faded dust jacket of plain white flimsy paper.

 

Inscribed: Affectionate Christmas Greetings to the W.G.A. from the W.G.A, Vincent Starrett, Dec. 1920.

 

Provenance: Lilian and/or Bella Starrett (Starrett's aunts, inferred from inscription, pencil note, and owner's recollection of a discussion with Vincent);  Vincent Starrett (sold from his third collection via Chicago bookseller Lovell's circa 1961);  William Goodrich (purchased from Lovell's).

 

Notes: Starrett worked as a Chicago reporter, and one of the city's leading papers, The Chicago Tribune, promoted itself as the "World's Greatest Newspaper."  That motto was later used in the call letters WGN for the company's radio and TV stations.  Tom Joyce suggests that the "W.G.A" inscription might have been a play on this acronym as "World's Greatest Author."  This copy probably went to one of Starrett's aunts, making the inscription "to the World's Greatest Aunt from the World's Greatest Author."  See also WMH20 for a similar inscription.

 

References: Goodrich 7/18/12 e-mail and 8/17/10 phone call to me;  Joyce 7/9/12 e-mail to me;  Born in a Bookshop by Vincent Starrett.  (Last updated: 8/5/12)

Topics


 

Confirmed Walter M. Hill (WMH) Copies of The Unique Hamlet

 

Reports on the number of Hill copies range from 90 to 250, but the most likely number at this point seems to be 100.

 

WMH1.  Private collection of Dr. Richard J. Sveum

Cover of Hill version: The Unique Hamlet by Vincent Starrett: copy WMH1

Includes Sherlockian bookplate of Vincent Starrett on front paste-down.

 

Inscribed: none.

 

Provenance: Jerry Wachs; Otto Penzler, The Mysterious Bookshop; Richard Sveum.

 

References: Sveum 4/11/10 email to me.  (Last updated: 4/12/10)

Photo Courtesy of Richard Sveum

 

 

 

WMH2.  Private collection of Peter E. Blau

Inscribed by Hill on rear free endpaper.  No bookplates or other markings.

 

Inscribed: W. C. Firebaugh | With best wishes & sincere regards | from Walter M. Hill | Dec 28th 1920

 

Provenance: Book dealer in the Midwest; Peter E. Blau (acquired "quite a few years" before 2010).

 

References: Blau April 2010 emails to me.  (Last updated: 4/17/10)

 

 

WMH3.  Private collection of Steven Rothman

"Mr. Preston" written in ink on the front free endpaper.  No bookplates or other markings.

 

Inscribed: none (name on endpaper as above).

 

Provenance: Walter McKee, BSI; Bob Langmuir, The Book Mark (dealer); Steven Rothman (acquired late 1970s).

 

Notes: The handwritten "Mr. Preston" is most likely the Chicago newspaper columnist Keith Preston (1884-1927).

 

References: Rothman 7/16/12, 8/2/10 and April 2010 emails to me.  (Last updated: 7/16/12)

 

 

WMH4.  Private collection of Dr. C. Frederick Kittle

Includes blind stamp (illegible) on copyright page.  No bookplates or other markings.

 

Inscribed: none.

 

References: Kittle April, May 2010 phone calls & letter to me.  (Last updated: 5/7/10)

 

 

WMH5.  Private collection of Glen Miranker

No bookplates or other markings.  In a very fine light-tan glassine wrapper.

 

Inscribed: none.

 

References: Miranker August 2012 & May 2010 emails to me.  (Last updated: 8/4/12)

 

 

WMH6.  Private collection of Douglas Greene

Inscribed by Starrett on front free endpaper.  No bookplate or other markings.

 

Inscribed: To A. J. Morin | after two glasses of cognac, | with all good wishes, | Vincent Starrett

 

Provenance: Sold by Blackwell's in Oxford in 2008 to the current owner.

 

References: Greene 6/25/10 email to me.  (Last updated: 6/25/10)

 

 

WMH7.  Private collection of Dr. Constantine Rossakis

Inscribed by Starrett on front free endpaper.  No bookplates or other markings.

 

Inscribed: Sic Semper Sincerely, Vincent Starrett

 

Provenance: First copy owned by Rossakis, acquired prior to 2002.

 

References: Rossakis phone calls, email and postal mail to me June-July 2010.  (Last updated: 7/10/10)

 

 

WMH8.  Private collection of Dr. Constantine Rossakis

A copy in superb condition, with no bookplates or other markings.

 

Inscribed: none.

 

Provenance: Previously owned by Norman S. Nolan and sold by Otto Penzler to Rossakis before 2002.

 

References: Rossakis phone calls, email and postal mail to me June-July 2010.  (Last updated: 7/10/10)

 

 

WMH9.  Private collection of Andrew G. Fusco, BSI

Signed and inscribed by Starrett on the front free endpaper.  No bookplates or other markings.

 

Inscribed: For Olivia Blonigen |  the handsomest "edition" | in the Hill shop, | with the friendship of | Vincent Starrett [underlined]

 

Provenance: Olivia Blonigen (inscription); purchased by the current owner from the dealer James Pepper in 2007.

 

References: Fusco 7/11/10 emails to me.  (Last updated: 7/11/10)

 

 

WMH10.  Private collection of Ralph Hall, BSI

Signed and inscribed by both Starrett and Hill on the front free endpaper.  No bookplates, marked "1860" on the inside front cover.

 

Inscribed: To A. Edward Newton with sincere although tardy holiday wishes, from Vincent Starrett. . . | Compliments of the Season and all good wishes from Walter M. Hill | Jan. 5th - 1921

 

Provenance: A. Edward Newton (inscription); Richard M. Lackritz, sold at auction at Christies NY 17 April 2002; purchased by the current owner from the dealer Peter L. Stern soon thereafter.

 

References: Hall July 2010 emails to me; Christies catalog lot 266; Scuttlebutt April 2002, p. 6.  (Last updated: 7/12/10)

 

 

WMH11.  Private collection of Otto Penzler

No bookplates or other markings.

 

Inscribed: none.

 

References: Penzler 7/23/10 email to me.  (Last updated: 7/24/10)

 

 

WMH12.  Private Collector in Wisconsin

No bookplates or other markings.

 

Inscribed: none.

 

Provenance: Probably acquired in the 1970s or 1980s (details pending).

 

References: Owner 7/24/10 email to me.  (Last updated: 7/24/10)

 

 

WMH13.  Private collection of Alexis Galanos

Inscribed and signed by Starrett on front free endpaper.  Bookplate "Ex Libris Tage La Cour"

 

Inscribed: For Tage La Cour with Sherlockian greetings and goodwill. | Vincent Starrett | Chicago 8 Sept 1961.

 

Provenance: Probably bought from Otto Penzler circa 1993-1995.

 

References: Galanos July 2010 emails to me.  (Last updated: 7/27/10)

 

 

WMH14.  For sale by the Mysterious Bookshop

No bookplates or other markings.

 

Inscribed: none.

 

Provenance: Acquired from a dealer in early 2013.

 

References: Offered in The Mysterious Bookshop Newsletter, v21, n7 (July 2013), p.41 (PDF). Contact the store for availability as it may not be listed in their online catalog; emails July 2013.  (Last updated: 7/10/13)

 

 

WMH15.  For sale by Peter L. Stern, a dealer (Kaye bookplate)

In a custom slipcase and chemise, with bookplate to the pastedown of the chemise of "FLORENCE & EDWARD KAYE."

 

Inscribed: none.

 

Provenance: Florence & Edward Kaye (from associated bookplate).

 

References: Offered in his Summer 2013 catalog and as inventory # 20866P from his Stern Rare Books website; email 7/10/13.  (Last updated: 7/10/13)

 

 

WMH16.  Private collection of Andrew Peck

Inscribed and signed by Starrett on front free endpaper.

 

Inscribed: For William E. Rudge | With all good wishes | Vincent Starrett.

 

Provenance: William E. Rudge (inscription).

 

Notes: William Edwin Rudge was a printer and book designer.

 

References: Peck 7/15/12 & 8/1/10 email to me.  (Last updated: 7/16/12)

 

 

WMH17.  Columbia University (New York City, New York)

The Columbia University Rare Book and Manuscript  Library.

Includes Columbia Library bookplate "Presented by Louise T. Woods in memory of George D. Woods"

 

Inscribed: none.

 

Library website: http://www.columbia.edu/cu/lweb/indiv/rbml/

Library Catalog Record: Rare Book, Butler 6th Fl. East, PS3537.T246 U5 1920

 

Provenance: George D. Woods (Columbia Library Columns, Nov. 1983); Louise T. Woods (bookplate, given 1983); Columbia University.

 

References: Catalog 4/1/10; Library staff email 4/21/10.  (Last updated: 4/21/10)

 

 

WMH18.  Desales University (Center Valley, Pennsylvania)

Rare Book Room.  No bookplates or other markings.

 

Inscribed: none.

 

Library website: http://www.desales.edu/library/

Library Catalog Record: General Collection PZ3.S7966 Un

 

References: Catalog 4/1/10; Library staff email 4/21/10.  (Last updated: 4/21/10)

 

 

WMH19.  The Huntington Library (San Marino, CA)

Inscribed by Starrett on front free endpaper.  No bookplates or other markings.  Hill letter dated May 14, 1921 to George Watson Cole (Huntington's librarian) is laid in, in which Hill says the book was printed just for friends and not for sale, but that Hill was happy to present his last copy to Mr. Huntington.

 

Inscribed: For Walter M. Hill, My publisher and my friend. . ."What do you make of this, Watson?" Vincent Starrett 1-22-'21

 

Library website: http://www.huntington.org/huntingtonlibrary.aspx?id=544

Library Catalog Record: Rare Books #18944

 

Provenance: Vincent Starrett to Walter M. Hill (inscription); Hill to Henry E. Huntington (letter laid in).

 

References: Catalog 6/15/10; staff email to me 6/29/10.  (Last updated: 6/29/10)

 

 

WMH20.  Indiana University (Bloomington, Indiana)

The Lilly Library, Indiana University

Inscribed by Starrett on front free endpaper.  No bookplates or stamps.  Pencil "50" on verso of title page under copyright information.  Catalog lists as "brown boards" but staff confirms they are the standard tan of WMH copies.

 

Inscribed: To the W.G.A. | from the W.G.A. | with love, at Christmas, | Vincent Starrett | Dec. 1920

 

Library website: http://www.indiana.edu/~liblilly/

Library Catalog Record: Lilly Library Stacks PS3537.T18 U6

 

Provenance: Lilly Library (purchased 1960-61, probably in a carton of books from Starrett's collection sold via Lovell's, a Chicago book dealer).

 

Notes: Probably a gift to one or both of Starrett's aunts; see VS10 for details and a similar inscription.

 

References: IUCAT Catalog 7/17/12 & 4/1/10; Library staff email 8/6/12 & 4/22/10.  (Last updated: 8/8/12)

 

 

WMH21.  St. Louis Public Library (St. Louis, Missouri)

Special Collections, St. Louis Public Library.

Includes library identification plate.

 

Inscribed: For T.C. O'Donnell | with the regards of | Vincent Starrett | 14 VII '21

 

Library website: http://www.slpl.org

Library Catalog Record: CENTRAL-SPECIAL COLLECTIONS [RB-X] X

 

Provenance: T.C. O'Donnell (inscription); St. Louis Public Library.

 

References: Catalog 4/1/10; Library staff email 4/5/10.  (Last updated: 4/5/10)

 

 

WMH22.  Toronto Public Library (Toronto, Canada)

Toronto Public Library, The Arthur Conan Doyle Collection.

No bookplates or other markings.

 

Inscribed: none.

 

Library website: The Arthur Conan Doyle Collection

Library Catalog Record: Special Coll Desk ACD Reference 813.52 S733.105

 

Provenance: Harold Mortlake; Toronto Public Library, acquired in 1969 as part of his collection (Mortlake 560).

 

References: Catalog 4/1/10; Library staff email 5/15/10; Checklist of the ACD Collection (1977) by Redmond p. 136; BSJ Dec. 1969 p. 245;  Harold Mortlake & Co. Catalogue No. 133.   (Last updated: 7/4/10)

 

 

WMH23.  Tulane University (New Orleans, Louisiana)

The Wisdom Collection, Rare Books, Special Collections, Howard Tilton Memorial Library

Includes bookplate: The Wisdom Collection.

 

Inscribed: With kindest regards & all good wishes from Walter M. Hill  Dec 28th 1920

 

Library website: http://library.tulane.edu/collections/spec_collections

Library Catalog Record: Jones Hall Rare Books (William B. Wisdom) PS3537.T246 U5 1920

 

Provenance: William B. Wisdom; Tulane University.

 

References: Catalog 4/1/10; Library staff email 4/22/10.  (Last updated: 4/22/10)

 

 

WMH24.  University of California at Berkeley (Berkeley, California)

The Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley.

Includes UC bookplate as gift from Mr. and Mrs. Milton S. Ray, et. al.  Although the scanned PDF listed below shows a dark cover, it is actually the standard tan color.

 

Inscribed: John Henry Nash | with Compliments of the Season | and sincerest wishes from | Walter M Hill | Dec 28th 1920

 

Library website: http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/index.html

Library Catalog Record: Bancroft Z239.2 .T67 1920s

The Internet Archive has a full PDF image file (5 MB) of this copy online.

 

Provenance: John Henry Nash (inscription); Mr. and Mrs. Milton S. Ray (from bookplate); UC Berkeley.

 

References: Russell Merritt 7/2/10 email to me;  Catalog 4/1/10;  Internet Archive file.  (Last updated: 7/2/10)

 

 

WMH25.  University of California, San Diego (La Jolla, California)

The Ira Wolff Mystery and Detective Collection, Mandeville Special Collections Library, UCSD.

Inscribed by Starrett on front free endpaper.  No bookplates or stamps.

 

Inscribed: For Ira Wolff - | Greeting from Baker Street | Vincent Starrett | 4 Nov. 1962

 

Library website: http://libraries.ucsd.edu/locations/mscl/

Library Catalog Record: SPEC SRLF  Mystery 7332

 

Provenance: Ira Wolff; UC San Diego (1977 with the Wolff collection).

 

References: Catalog 4/1/10; Library staff email 4/23/10.  (Last updated: 4/24/10)

 

 

WMH26.  University of Illinois at Chicago (Chicago, Illinois)

Lawrence J. Gutter Collection of Chicagoana, University of Illinois at Chicago Library, Special Collections

Inscribed by both Starrett and Hill on the front free endpaper.  No bookplates or other markings.

 

Inscribed: "E.W. Coggeshall Esq., With kindest wishes and sweetest regards of Walter M. Hill Jan 15th 1921" and "Certified to Fred C. Evers at Christmas, 1947 with cordial greeting Vincent Starrett"

 

Library website: http://library.uic.edu/home/collections/manuscripts-and-rare-books

Library Catalog Record: Daley Library - Special Collections PS3537.T246 U5 1920

 

Provenance: E.W. Coggeshall (inscription); Fred C. Evers (inscription); Lawrence J. Gutter; UIC Library (acquired Gutter Collection in 1982).

 

References: Catalog 7/1/10; Library staff email 7/14/10.  (Last updated: 7/14/10)

 

 

WMH27.  University of Iowa (Iowa City, Iowa)

X-Collection, Special Collections Department, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa

Inscribed on front free endpaper by Starrett.  Includes Starrett's Sherlock Holmes bookplate on front pastedown.  Bookplate on library-provided slipcase with "The University of Iowa Libraries | presented by | L. O. Cheever" and the call number.

 

Inscribed: Meredith Janvier | with belated Christmas | greetings, none the | less sincere for their | tardy expression. | Vincent Starrett | 9 February 1921.

 

Library website: http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/spec-coll/

Library Catalog Record: Special Collections x-Collection PS3537.T246 U5

 

Provenance: Meredith Janvier (inscription, bookplate, letter 18 March 1934); [Walter Klinefelter (implied from 1934 letter)]; L. O. Cheever (slipcase bookplate); University of Iowa (from Cheever, probably before 1973).

 

References: Catalog 7/21/10; Library staff email July 2010.  (Last updated: 7/26/10)

 

 

WMH28.  University of Louisville (Louisville, Kentucky)

The Rare Books Collection, Ekstrom Library

Includes UL library bookplate: Presented by Mr. Young E. Allison.

 

Inscribed: none.

 

Library website: http://louisville.edu/library/archives/rare

Library Catalog Record: EKSTROM LIBRARY Rare Books: PR4494 .U54 1920

 

Provenance: Young E. Allison (bookplate); University of Louisville Library (possibly from Young E. Allison, Jr. circa 1950).

 

References: Catalog 4/1/10; Library staff email 4/23/10.  (Last updated: 4/24/10)

 

 

WMH29.  University of Minnesota (Minneapolis, Minnesota)

The Sherlock Holmes Collections, Elmer L. Andersen Library

Inscribed by Starrett on back cover.  No bookplates or other markings.

 

Inscribed: 200 copies printed -- | Vincent Starrett [underlined]

 

Library website: https://www.lib.umn.edu/scrbm/holmes

Library Catalog Record: Andersen Library Rare Books PS3537.T246 U55x 1920

 

References: Catalog 4/1/10; Julie McKuras email to me 6/21/10.  (Last updated: 6/22/10)

 

 

WMH30.  University of Minnesota (Minneapolis, Minnesota)

The Sherlock Holmes Collections, Elmer L. Andersen Library

Includes John Bennett Shaw bookplate on front cover and 23 January 1949 handwritten letter from Starrett to Shaw glued to the front free endpaper.

 

Inscribed: none.

 

Library website: https://www.lib.umn.edu/scrbm/holmes

Library Catalog Record: Andersen Library Rare Books PS3537.T246 U55x 1920; copy 2

 

Provenance: John Bennett Shaw (from bookplate); UMN (acquired Shaw collection 1995).

 

Exhibited: A River Runs By It: Holmes and Doyle in Minnesota (3 June – 27 August  2004), Elmer L. Andersen Library, UMN

 

References: Catalog 4/1/10; Julie McKuras email to me 6/21/10.  (Last updated: 6/22/10)

 

 

WMH31.  University of Minnesota (Minneapolis, Minnesota)

The Sherlock Holmes Collections, Elmer L. Andersen Library

Inscribed by Starrett on the front free endpaper and also signed by him at top right of half-title page .  No bookplates or other markings.

 

Inscribed: Ray Latimer | from her favorite author | [underline] | Vincent Starrett | to his favorite audience [underlined]

 

Library website: https://www.lib.umn.edu/scrbm/holmes

Library Catalog Record: Andersen Library Rare Books PS3537.T246 U55x 1920; copy 3

 

Provenance: Ray Latimer (inscription); UMN (acquired prior to September 1989).

 

Exhibited: The Vincent Starrett Library (1 September – 13 October 1989), Wilson Library, UMN

 

References: Catalog 4/1/10; Julie McKuras email to me 6/21/10; The Vincent Starrett Library (1989 exhibit catalog) p. 14 item 49, with photo of title page.  (Last updated: 9/15/10)

 

 

WMH32.  University of New Mexico (Albuquerque, New Mexico)

The Haniel Long Book Collection, Center for Southwest Research, UNM.

Includes UNM gift bookplate: presented by Anton V. Long in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Haniel Clark Long.

 

Inscribed: My Dear Long ____ | O my Dear Long! | Yours, my Dear Long.| Vincent Starrett (underlined) | 9 Feb. 1921

 

Library website: http://elibrary.unm.edu/cswr/

Library Catalog Record: ZIM CSWR 813 St28u

 

Provenance: Haniel Clark Long (from inscription & bookplate); Anton V. Long (bookplate); University of New Mexico Library.

 

References: Catalog 4/1/10; Library staff email 4/3/10.  (Last updated: 4/3/10)

 

 

WMH33.  University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Chapel Hill, North Carolina)

Rare Book Collection, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Inscribed by Starrett on the front free endpaper, with a note in another hand at the bottom of the page: "1st ed., presentation copy as above. Presented by Horace F. Townsend, 1928, to B.E."  Raffael bookplate on inside front cover.

 

Inscribed: To Jack Raffael: Whose bookplate, I hope, is his portrait. Vincent Starrett, 4 March 1922

 

Library website: http://www.lib.unc.edu/rbc/

Library Catalog Record: Rare Book Collection PS3537.T246 U5

 

Provenance: Jack Raffael (inscription & bookplate); Horace F. Townsend; Burton Emmett; UNC library (purchased 1951).

 

References: Catalog 6/19/10; staff email to me 6/24/10.  (Last updated: 6/24/10)

 

 

WMH34.  University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Chapel Hill, North Carolina)

The Mary Shore Cameron Collection of Sherlock Holmes

Rare Book Collection, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Signed "Vincent Starrett" on the title page.  Bookplate of the Mary Shore Cameron Collection at UNC.

 

Inscribed: none (signed on title page).

 

Library website: http://www.lib.unc.edu/rbc/

Library Catalog Record: no online catalog record.

For detailed information, please contact the Rare Book Collection at rbcref@email.unc.edu.

 

Provenance: Mary Shore Cameron (died 1968); Dr. Edward Cameron (her husband); UNC Library (donated by Dr. Cameron in 1978).

 

References: An Assessment of the Mary Shore Cameron Sherlock Holmes Collection by Christy Edina Richards, item 5A. 61 (p123; PDF); staff email to me 6/24/10.  (Last updated: 6/24/10)

 

 

WMH35.  University of Southern California (Los Angeles, California)

Special Collections Department, USC

Inscribed at top of the half-title page by Starrett.  Bookplate "Ex libris William S. Morse" and a USC bookplate.

 

Inscribed: Dear Morse— | This seems to be the hardest to find of all my books. I still like it a great deal, and am happy to have found you a copy. All good wishes— | Vincent Starrett | 24 Dec. 1929

 

Library website: http://www.usc.edu/libraries/locations/special_collections/

Library Catalog Record: Special Collections  810 S796 TU

 

Provenance: William S. Morse (inscription, bookplate); USC.

 

References: Catalog 7/21/10; Library staff email July 2010; see also copy UHX2.  (Last updated: 7/21/10)

 

 

WMH36.  University of Texas (Austin, Texas)

The Ellery Queen Collection, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, The University of Texas at Austin

Inscribed by Starrett and signed by Queen (as "Barnaby Ross" | "Ellery Queen" | 5 August 1940) on the front free endpaper.  Bookplate with "Ex Libris, Scott Cunningham" and a University Library HRC bookplate designating the Ellery Queen Collection.  Note on inside back board "Gift from V.S." along with possible bookseller notes.

 

Inscribed: For Scott Cunningham | some years after publication, | and some hours before daylight. | Vincent  Starrett | 5 October 1923.

 

Library website: http://www.lib.utexas.edu

Ransom Center site: http://www.hrc.utexas.edu

Library Catalog Record: Harry Ransom Center Book Collection QUEEN 4229

 

Provenance: Scott Cunningham (inscription, bookplate); Frederic Dannay (Queen inscription); HR HRC University of Texas (purchased in 1958 as part of the Queen collection).

 

References: Catalog 7/21/10; Library staff email July 2010.  (Last updated: 7/21/10)

 

 

WMH37.  Northern Illinois University (DeKalb, Illinois)

Vincent Starrett Collection, Rare Books and Special Collections, Northern Illinois University

Inscribed by Hill on the front free endpaper.  Prior owner bookplate: "Edith Barbara Tranter: her book."

 

Inscribed: To Edith Tranter | though perhaps lacking in ability | himself admires it in others. | With kindest remembrance and good wishes | from Walter M. Hill | Jan 8 1921.

 

Library website: http://www.ulib.niu.edu/rarebooks/index.cfm

Library Catalog Record: NIU--Special Collections PS3537.T246 U5

NIU Vincent Starrett Collection web page

 

Provenance: Edith Barbara Tranter (inscription and bookplate); NIU Library (probably cataloged 1976).

 

References: Catalog 9/8/10; Library staff email 9/9/10.  (Last updated: 9/9/10)

 

 

WMH38.  Private collector in Switzerland

Starrett "open book" bookplate on front paste-down.  No other markings.

 

Inscribed: none.

 

Provenance: Robert C. Hess (purchased at Bonham's June 2008); purchased by the current owner from Hess in December 2010.

 

References: Current owner personal conversation January 2011; Hess emails to me in August & December 2010.  (Last updated: 2/1/11)

 

 

WMH39.  Private collection of Leslie S. Klinger

Inscribed by Hill on front free endpaper.  Bookplate on inside front cover: Ex libris J. Christian Bay.  Handwritten "100 copies" on copyright page.  In a partially intact glassine wrapper, probably as-issued.

 

Inscribed: To my good friend J.C. Bay with kindest regards and best wishes from Walter M. Hill Feb. 8 1921.

 

Provenance: J. Christian Bay (inscription, bookplate); Ron Randall; Klinger (purchased from Randall on 6/10/1985).

 

References: Klinger 8/2/10 email to me.  (Last updated: 9/9/10)

 

 

WMH40.  Folger Shakespeare Library (Washington, DC)

Inscribed by Starrett on front free endpaper.  Includes Folger bookplate, Folger case number 1687, and Maggs catalogue description on inside back cover.  With another shelfmark (not from the Folger Shakespeare Library) as 48.7 S796 (3) U on verso of end flyleaf.

 

Inscribed: For Frank M. Morris, | Man of letters ----- | And books ----- | With the cordial regard | Of his friend, | Vincent Starrett | 8 January 1920

 

Library website: http://www.folger.edu

Library Catalog Record: PZ3 S7966 U7

 

Provenance: Frank M. Morris (inscription); Maggs  Bros. (catalogue item 1227 description pasted on inside back cover); Henry Clay Folger (Folger case number 1687 and bookplate on inside back cover); Folger Shakespeare Library (1932 after completion of building).

 

References: Catalog 8/5/12; staff email to me 8/8/12.  (Last updated: 8/8/12)

 

 

WMH41.  For sale by Peter L. Stern, a dealer (Goldstone bookplate)

In a custom cloth clamshell, with bookplate of Adrian Goldstone.

 

Inscribed: none.

 

Provenance: Adrian Goldstone (from bookplate).

 

References: Offered as inventory # 32302 from his ABE web page;  email 7/24/13.  (Last updated: 7/24/13)

 

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Excluded Copies

The following items have been reported but do not qualify as confirmed copies for a variety of reasons.  If you have additional information about these copies or know about other copies, please contact me

 

UHX1.  York University (Copy Missing)

York University in Toronto, Canada may have held a copy of The Unique Hamlet.  A copy was listed at York in the OCLC WorldCat online catalog in April 2010, but none appeared in York's local catalog or on their shelves.  Library staff confirms this sometimes happens when they've removed an item from their local catalog.

 

Library web site: http://www.library.yorku.ca

 

References: Library staff email 4/30/10.  (Last updated: 4/30/10)

 

 

UHX2.  University of Southern California (Copy Missing)

The Special Collections Department at USC probably held a second copy of The Unique Hamlet.  Their online catalog showed two copies as of June 2010, but library staff was unable to locate the second copy.

 

Library website: http://www.usc.edu/libraries/locations/special_collections/

Library Catalog Record: Special Collections  810 S796 TU

 

References: Catalog 7/21/10; Library staff email 7/1/10; see also copy WMH35.  (Last updated: 7/21/10)

 

 

UHX3.  Not Identified (Conan Doyle copy) - Hill imprint (Reported)

Dame Jean Conan Doyle, daughter of Sir Arthur, reported in 1994 that she owned a copy with the Hill imprint.  This copy was not inscribed by Starrett but does include Sir Arthur's name in his own handwriting.  It may still be held by her heirs.

 

Provenance: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (inscription); Dame Jean Conan Doyle (as of 1994).

 

References: Private collector 2010 email to me; Jean Conan Doyle to private collector, 9/13/94, TLS; see also copy VS1.  (Last updated: 9/15/10)

 

 

UHX4.  Not Identified (Margolin copy) - Hill imprint (Reported)

Inscribed by Starrett.  Held in a custom slipcase.

 

Inscribed: [details pending.]

 

Provenance: Jerry Margolin (sold in August 2007 to Penzler);  Otto Penzler, The Mysterious Bookshop (sold in 2007).

 

References: Margolin July 2010 emails to me;  Penzler 7/21/10 email to me.  (Last updated: 9/15/10)

 

 

UHX5. Various Universities/Libraries (eBook reference)

Some libraries are entering eBook copies into their catalog, including:

Simpson University, Start-Kilgour Memorial Library (Redding, California)

Saint Mary's University, Patrick Power Library (Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada)

 

References: Library catalogs; staff email.  (Last updated: 8/8/12)

 

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Other Appearances & Reprints of The Unique Hamlet

 

Listed in order of appearance:

 

221b: Studies in Sherlock Holmes, edited by Vincent Starrett.  New York: The Macmillan Co., 1940, pp. 88-108 as "The Adventure of the Unique Hamlet."

 

The Misadventures of Sherlock Holmes, edited by Ellery Queen.  Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1944, pp. 48-65 as "The Unique Hamlet."

 

Den Forsvundne Hamlet : Sherlock Holmes løser et bibliofilt problem, by Vincent Starrett, trans. Grete Jacobsen, foreword by Tage la Cour.  København : Rosenkilde og Bagger, 1952.  [Danish edition, not seen]

 

The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, by Vincent Starrett. Revised and enlarged.  Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1960, pp. 137-155 as "The Adventure of the Unique 'Hamlet': Being an Unrecorded Adventure of Mr. Sherlock Holmes."

 

The Saint Mystery Magazine (US edition), Vol. 21, No. 1 (July 1964), pp. 31-47 as "The Adventure of the Unique 'Hamlet'."

 

The Saint Mystery Magazine (UK edition), Vol. 10, No. 7 (September 1964), pp. 25-38 as "The Adventure of the Unique 'Hamlet'." [with thanks to Dan Bodenheimer, www.saint.org]

 

The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, edited by Richard Lancelyn Green.  New York: Penguin Books, 1985, pp. 78-96 as "The Adventure of the Unique Hamlet."

 

The Game is Afoot, edited by Marvin Kaye.  New York: St. Martin's Press, 1994, pp. 109-122 as "The Adventure of the Unique Hamlet."

 

The Eleventh Juror and Other Crime Classics,  by Vincent Starrett.  Shelburne, Ont.: Metropolitan Toronto Reference Library, 1995, pp. 18-33 as "The Adventure of the Unique Hamlet; Being an Unrecorded Adventure of Mr. Sherlock Holmes."

 

The 50 Greatest Mysteries of All Time, compiled by Otto Penzler.  Los Angeles: Dove Books, 1998, pp. 179-190 as "The Adventure of the Unique 'Hamlet': Being an Unrecorded Adventure of Mr. Sherlock Holmes."

 

The Unique Hamlet, by Vincent Starrett.  Ventura, CA: The Archival Reprint Company, n.d.  A facsimile of the first edition printed with rust/copper color card covers and a black booklet binding (6 3/4 x 5 3/16 inches).  This facsimile of the Hill variant was produced in a numbered, limited edition of 95 copies.

 

The Unique Hamlet, by Vincent Starrett.  The Internet Archive (5 MB PDF).  <http://www.archive.org/download/uniquehamlethith00starrich/uniquehamlethith00starrich.pdf>, accessed 4/1/10.  Full image of the Hill variant at UC Berkeley (WMH24 above).

 

The Best of Sherlock Holmes, edited by Randall Stock.  <http://www.bestofsherlock.com/story/unique-hamlet-text.htm>, accessed 8/1/10.  An online e-text as "The Adventure of the Unique Hamlet"

 

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Sources and Acknowledgments

 

Blau, Peter E. Scuttlebutt from the Spermaceti Press, various issues.  This invaluable Sherlockian newsletter is available online for 1985+ via <http://redcircledc.org/index.php?id=39>.

 

Christie's, The Detective Fiction Library of Richard M. Lackritz, MD, Part I (NY sale 17 April 2002).  New York: Christie's, 2002.  Included one of each variant, as lots 265 and 266.  Quotes Starrett as source for 200 total copies with 10 having his imprint.

 

De Waal, Ronald Burt.  The Universal Sherlock Holmes. Edited by George A. Vanderburgh.  Toronto: Metropolitan Toronto Reference Library, 1994.  The ultimate guide to all things Sherlockian indexes the first edition of The Unique Hamlet as C23136 (Hill version with 190 copies) and as C23137 (Starrett version with 10 copies).  De Waal's book is available from George Vanderburgh's Battered Silicon Dispatch Box.  An electronic version of this work is available online from the University of Minnesota.

 

Queen, Ellery, ed.  The Misadventures of Sherlock Holmes.  Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1944.  Queen calls it "one of the finest pure pastiches."

 

Queen, Ellery.  Queen's Quorum.  New York: Biblio and Tannen, 1969.  First published in 1951, Queen lists The Unique Hamlet as one of the 106 most important books published in the detective-crime-mystery short story field since 1845.  It is No. 66 (chronologically) based on Historical Significance, Quality of literary style and originality of plot; and Rarity of first edition.   He says the story is "universally conceded to be the best pastiche of Holmes extant."

 

Ruber, Peter and George A. Vanderburgh.  75th Anniversary Souvenir of the publication of Vincent Starrett's "The Adventure of the Unique Hamlet."  [S.l. : s.n.], 1995.  A 12-page pamphlet with a brief history of the tale and a reproduction of a fair copy of the first four pages of the manuscript, all in Starrett's hand, held at the University of  Minnesota, along with other details about Starrett and Basil Rathbone.

 

 

Special thanks to Richard Sveum, who inspired this census and whose help was essential in its development.  

 

As noted in the census entries, staff members at many libraries provided invaluable assistance.  My thanks go to Nancy Brown at the University of New Mexico, Tara C. Craig, at Columbia University, Ashley Davis at the University of North Carolina, David K. Frasier at Indiana University, Jean M. Gosebrink at the St. Louis Public Library, Valerie Harris at the University of Illinois, Timothy Johnson at the University of Minnesota, Jessica Jones at Tulane University, Debbie Malone at Desales University, Peggy Perdue at the Toronto Public Library, Amy Purcell at the University of Louisville, Anna St. Onge at York University, David E. Schoonover at the University of Iowa, Heather Smedberg at the University of California, San Diego, Rachelle Balinas Smith at the University of Southern California, Laura Stalker at the Huntington Library, Margaret Tenney at the University of Texas, Lynne M. Thomas at Northern Illinois University, Abby Yochelson at the Library of Congress, and Georgianna Ziegler at the Folger Shakespeare Library.

 

In addition, private collectors and Sherlockians graciously offered their expertise and knowledge.  I'm indebted to Peter E. Blau, Dan Bodenheimer, Andrew G. Fusco, Alexis Galanos, William Goodrich, Douglas Greene, Ralph Hall, Paul Herbert, Robert C. Hess, Tom Joyce, Michael Kean, Fred Kittle, Leslie S. Klinger, Julie McKuras, Jerry Margolin, Russell Merritt, Glen Miranker, Andrew Peck, Otto Penzler, Constantine Rossakis, Steven Rothman, George Vanderburgh, and others who preferred to remain anonymous.

 

While this checklist could never have been made without everyone's help, I am solely responsible for any errors or omissions.  If I omitted your name, please be assured it was inadvertent and let me know so I can correct it.

 

If you know of other copies of the first edition of The Unique Hamlet, or have any corrections or other additions to the entries above, please contact me.  I will keep your name private upon request.

 

Topics


 

 

More Sherlock Holmes Rarities

 

This website has information on many Conan Doyle manuscripts, including both Sherlock Holmes and non-Holmes material.

 

The site also has details on other Conan Doyle rarities, including a census of Beeton's Christmas Annual 1887 with the first Sherlock Holmes story, and a census of Sidney Paget original drawings.

 

While not rare, there are also lists of the each year's best Sherlock Holmes books & DVDs, the best Holmes stories, and the most famous Sherlock Holmes quotes.

 

 

Topics


 

Read the full text of The Unique Hamlet by Vincent Starrett

 

Please send me e-mail if you have additions, corrections or suggestions for this census.

 

 


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