|Statuettes that made up part of the exhibit of "Spirits of Sherlock Holmes" at the Elmer L. Anderson Library at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis|
“The Spirits of Sherlock Holmes”, a conference held at the Elmer L. Anderson Library of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis was held from August 6-8, 2010. It was presented by The Norwegian Explorers, the Friends of the Sherlock Holmes Collections and the University of Minnesota Libraries.
The University of Minnesota Libraries houses, maintains and cares for the Collections. Timothy Johnson is the E. W. McDiarmid Curator of the Sherlock Holmes Collections and Curator of the Special Collections and Rare Books of the University.
That evening Karen and I attended a party at the home of Mike and Julie McKuras, active Norwegian Explorers, which helped to welcome the out-of-town Sherlockians attending the conference.
The conference opened at 11:00 am on Friday, August 6, at the Library. 110 people had signed up for the three day celebration of Sherlock Holmes and his time. Their ages ranged from late seventies to a Norwegian Explorer just nine years old and entering the fourth grade.
The final talk of the day was given by Steven Rothman, BSI and editor of the Baker Street Journal since 2000. His paper was on Christopher Morley, the founder of the Baker Street Irregulars in 1934, and his work as editor of The Saturday Review of Literature as it related to Doyle, Holmes and the Irregulars.
On Saturday, August 7, Gideon Hill, MD and a member of the Baker Street Irregulars and the Sons of the Copper Beeches in Pennsylvania gave the talk “Vintage and Spirited”. It was a tongue-in-cheek discussion of Dr. Watson’s supposed alcoholism.
Peggy Perdue, Catherine Cooke, Neil McCaw and Timothy Johnson spoke on the futures of their various Collections and answered questions from the audience.
Russell Merritt, BSI and a semi-retired Professor of Film Studies at the University of California-Berkeley gave an illustrated talk on Sherlock Holmes and the Silent Cinema, with stills from the original movies, many now lost.
Less Klinger, BSI, Master Bootmaker of the Bootmakers of Toronto, and editor of “The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes” and “The New Annotated Dracula”, gave a paper on “Sherlock Holmes and the Spirit of Detective Fiction”. He has also served as consultant on the Guy Richie/Robert Downing, Jr. movie “Sherlock Holmes”.
Saturday night a banquet was given for the conference goers at the Holiday Inn Metrodome. Brad Keefauver, BSI, ASH addressed the celebrants and an auction of Sherlockian items for the benefit of the Sherlock Holmes Collections was held with Peter Blau, BSI, ASH as auctioneer.
|Gayle with the notorious Giant Rat of Sumatra|
Most people went home that afternoon, but I stayed a few extra days. During that time I had dinner with Susan Rice, ASH, Mickey Fromkin, ASH, and Karen Murdock at a Nepali restaurant. We enjoyed yak dishes. Karen and I went to bookstores and I spent 3 more days at the Anderson Library Reading Room. I enjoyed seeing and handling many unusual items, including Vincent Starrett’s own copy of the “Beeton Christmas Annual”, the paperback magazine that published the first appearance of Sherlock Holmes in “A Study in Scarlet”. I read original copies of the Strand Magazine, which printed the Holmes short stories, and I leafed through some of the many scrapbooks John Bennett Shaw kept about all things Sherlockian. I particularly enjoyed the ones on Sherlockian-themed restaurants and Holmesian movies.
All in all, I had a wonderful time at the “Spirits of Sherlock Holmes” conference at the Elmer L. Anderson Library at the U of Minn. in Minneapolis. Their next one is in 2013 and I am already looking forward to it.