And We’re Back! And We’re Meeting!

guard outside sherlock holmes museum in london
Photo by Anna Kozlova on Pexels.com

First, thank you all very much for your patience as some behind the scenes chaos went on. The site is back up and running. Some of our media files are still being restored, but members can find downloadable digital Watsonian issues on the Member Resources page.

Also! We will be meeting on Zoom this Saturday, January 28. Here are the details:

You are invited to a Zoom meeting.
When: Saturday, Jan 28, 2023 12:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)

Register in advance for this meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMpceioqjkuGNzgu_jsjZGEt1FJmwAlnTGH

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Upon the Terrace for Ron Lies, JHWS “Chips”

We have received word that our dear “Chips” passed away yesterday, January 16, in Denver, Colorado.

When Ron joined the Society in 2013, he wrote:

I am at present Transcriber of Dr Watson’s Neglected Patients. I have been a past Staff Surgeon, past Chief Surgeon and member since 1972. I am a member of: The Sherlock Holmes Society of India; a member of The Sydney Passengers, The Sherlock Homes Society of Australia; and co- founder of The Sons of Shaw, a society honoring the memory of John Bennett Shaw.

I have had an overwhelming interest in Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson since seventh grade when I read “The Speckled Band” in my class’s Catholic Weekly Reader. I have always identified with Dr John Watson and now feel I am where I belong with The John H. Watson Society.

He contributed to the Society blog many, many times over the years, including his long-running irregular feature, “Tid Bits“. He always brought a spirit of joy and friendship to the world of Sherlockiana. In 2014, he shared some thoughts in an observation I will reprint here.

Recently, there have been exchanges online about who is a Sherlockian. We have always had a healthy exchange of different ideas. This discussion question has brought out responses that have caused hard feelings among some Sherlockians. This concerns me and I would like to share some thoughts I have about the Grand Game we play.

I was fortunate to meet and know John Bennett Shaw, who had the largest individual Sherlockian collection in the United States and was one of the kindest, most decent human beings I ever had the pleasure to know. In my too few visits by letter and in person, we discussed all things Sherlockian. The following points are concepts I took away from my conversations with John Bennett Shaw. I try to base my Sherlockian actions on these points:

1. If you have one of a Sherlockian collectible, you gloat. If you have two, you share.
2. A Sherlockian is anyone who has read a Sherlock Holmes story (preferably a story from the Canon) and tries to find more.
3. A Sherlockian is someone who has watched a Sherlock Holmes movie, television program or play and who tries to find more.
4. A Sherlockian is one who has listened to a Sherlockian radio show, tape or cassette and tries to find more.
5. We should treat a Sherlockian’s opinion with respect even if that opinion is wrong or disagrees with yours.
6. The most important rule is: if you are having fun, do it; if you are not having fun,

I wish you all could have met John Bennett Shaw. He was a Sherlockian and human being of the finest kind.

These then are my thoughts: I am afraid we are losing some of the fun in and respect for each other’s point of view that John mentioned we should have. We each have our own favourite Sherlock Holmes and his world. I am a traditionalist. My Sherlock Holmes is that of the Canon and of the world of 1887. The actor who portrayed my quintessential Holmes is Peter Cushing in his portrayal of Holmes in the 1968 BBC television series.

I am sure there are others who will disagree with me. I look forward to discussing my beliefs with you whether you are Brett supporters or the new wave of Cumberbatch supporters from the BBC Series “Sherlock” which updates Holmes to modern times. All I ask is that you treat my beliefs with the same respect and courtesy I will treat yours.

Greetings to all my Sherlockian friends and those friends I have not yet met.

I never had the privilege of meeting Ron in person, but he was a wonderful correspondent. I hope that we will continue to honor his spirit in all we do.

Please share your reminiscences and condolences in the comments. A memorial will be included in the Spring issue of the Watsonian.

New Issue of The Watsonian

Copies of the latest issue of The Watsonian have been arriving in mailboxes over the last week.

The Spring 2022 issue marks our 10th year of publication and features an eclectic mix of regular columns, fiction, poetry, and articles on diverse topics in Sherlockian and Watsonian scholarship.

Individual copies are not available for purchase at this time, but Society members will find a link to download the digital edition on the Member Resources page.

Society Membership

We were pleased to see so many folks at our Zoom sessions over the Weekend of Birthday Festivities. Much fun was had!

So much fun, in fact, that our Shopkeeper (that would be me) is a little bit behind in processing the membership orders that came in over the weekend.

A thousand apologies for the delay! Rest assured, your order has been received, and you will see a Welcome email very soon.

The Fall 2020 Watsonian and Digital Back Issues

A man seated at a table, reading a letter and looking unhappy about its contents.
The Watsonian is a much better thing to find in one’s mailbox!

The Fall 2020 issue of the Watsonian is now making its way to 2020 Paper+ members. There was a bit of a delay, but we hope you’ll find it worth the wait.

The digital PDF edition of the Fall 2020 Watsonian and all previous issues are available for members to download now. Log in and visit the Member Resources page for the links.

Be on the Lookout

As mentioned a few days ago, Society members will receive an email inviting them to join the JHWS Announcement e-mail list. Those emails went out tonight, and should be arriving soon (if they haven’t already). See you there!

An Announcement About Announcements

REDH illustration by Sidney Paget
for The Strand, August 1891

Society members will soon receive an email asking them to confirm their subscription to the John H Watson Society Announcement list.

We’ll be using this list to share important information with our members, so please do join us!

Hounds, Hounds, and More Hounds

Paget illustration of black hound dog with phosphorescent glow

Over at Book Riot, Eileen Gonzalez gives us her take on 7 Unconventional HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES Adaptations.

Both BBC Sherlock and Elementary get mentions, along with Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century, which I just started watching, courtesy of my public library’s digital collections. I haven’t watched the episode she mentions yet, though.

There is also what is clearly a massive labor of love, an animated short film using LEGO®  blocks.

Have you seen any (or all) of these? Do you have a favorite HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES adaptation?

Wonderful Watsonians Interview: Beth Gallego

Be your own Boswell and tell us a little about yourself! 

Name (or alias):

Beth Gallego, but you can find me as plexippa on most social media platforms

Bullpup moniker (Contact us if you don’t know):

Selena

Who is your favorite Watson and why?

I’m partial to Dr David Q Dawson, faithful companion to Eve Titus’s Basil (of Baker Street). I’m a Children’s Librarian, and I collect Sherlockian children’s books, and Dawson is Watson, but adapted for children.

If Watson was writing a story about you, what would it be titled?

The Adventure of the Lost Librarian

Give us an improbable fact about yourself!

I completed all six of the Tinker Bell Half Marathons at Disneyland.

Why did you join the JHWS?

I fell into the Sherlockian world comparatively late and a little bit backwards, and when I get interested in something, I want to know everything I can about it. I ran across the Watson Society site in my digital wanderings and loved it right away. Through the Society, I’ve met so many clever and interesting people who are here to have fun among friends, and what could be better than that?


Want to participate? Answer the questions above and send to buttons@johnhwatsonsociety.com!

Please Welcome “Sampson Buttons”

George Hutchinson illustration (1891) from A Study in Scarlet. Sherlock Holmes and John Watson are being introduced by Stamford in a lab.
Illustration by George Hutchinson (1891)

It has been my immense honor to serve as your Boy-in-Buttons since March of 2016. Our Society has grown and changed over the last four-and-a-half years, and it is time for a new person to lead us into the future.

I am delighted to announce that Robert Perret (JHWS “Sampson”) is our “Sampson Buttons”, effective 1 October 2020. 

While I am passing on the mantle of “Buttons”, I remain JHWS “Selena”, and your faithful webmistress. While I work on improving the site, I look forward to seeing our Society as a whole move forward with new energy and ideas.

Watsonian Weekly: Now with More Watson Bull Pups! (July 13, 2020)

"The Watsonian Weekly" superimposed over image of Watson seated in armchair

What hath the second meeting of the John H Watson Society brought to the podcast party? Why so many birds? Bad podcast organization, a good diary entry, and a mysterious movie that only one person is known to have seen? And we had to stop at a half hour for this one, because our Watsonian cup is overflowing!

Regular Features:

  • Watson of the Week: A movie mystery!
  • Afootnotes with Robert Perret (JHWS “Sampson”)
  • What’s Watson On About? with Paul Thomas Miller (JHWS “Buck”) (Twice!)
  • Watson’s Word(s) of the Week with Margie Deck (JHWS “Mopsy”)

Discussed in this Episode:

The Original Sherlock Holmes and his Baker Street Irregulars game Kickstarter

Baskerville Productions

Deshaun Watson

Aliens in the Prime of their Lives by Brad Watson

The SOBs (Sound of the Baskervilles)

“Counting Watson’s Wives”

The Encyclopaedia Sherlockiana, Or, a Universal Dictionary of the State of Knowledge of Sherlock Holmes and His Biographer John H. Watson M.D by Jack Tracy

A Novel Journal: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Left Coast Sherlockian Symposium – October 10, 2020

The Last Sherlock Holmes Story by Michael Didbin

L’ultime défi de Sherlock Holmes comic book adaptation by Jules Stromboni and Olivier Cotte

Howard Ostrom

Watsonian Weekly: The lead bull pup pulling Watson’s sled (July 6, 2020)

"The Watsonian Weekly" superimposed over image of Watson seated in armchair

Let’s not bury the “lead”: Watson is Canonically naked, the exposed facts in this episode! Also, a pleasant conversation with Beth Gallego, the Boy in Buttons of the John H Watson Society, many of Watson’s words of the week, a slop shop deciphered, and can you really head down to Watsontown? It’s all here!

Regular Features:

  • Watson of the Week: Watsontown, Pennsylvania
  • What’s Watson On About? with Paul Thomas Miller (JHWS “Buck”)
  • Watson’s Word(s) of the Week with Margie Deck (JHWS “Mopsy”)
  • Afootnotes with Robert Perret (JHWS “Sampson”)

Discussed in this episode:

Three-Patch Podcast Episode 106 (Davey Nellist Q&A at 0:28:06)

Hamilton on Disney+

Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Blank Page by Leah Guinn

The Watsonian, Fall 2020 submission deadline: Monday, August 17. Need a writing prompt to get you started? We’re looking for articles and stories related to Watson’s life before he became an army surgeon. Who influenced him? Who broke his heart? Who made him the man we came to know? We know so little of Watson’s past that we’re all dying to hear more, so if you have it, let us read it! Email publisher@johnhwatsonsociety.com .

221B Con – April 9-11, 2021

Left Coast Sherlockian Symposium – October 10, 2020

JHWS Meeting on Zoom – July 11, 9am PDT – join us for toasts, a song, a little show-and-tell of Watsonian artifacts, and general merriment and delights of a John H Watson nature. Email podcast@johnwatsonsociety.com for a Zoom invite.

Iliad Books, North Hollywood, CA

Junior Sherlockian Society (Beacon Society)

Beth’s copy of the 1948 BSI-published edition of BLUE:

Upon the Terrace for Sheila Holtgrieve, Our “Daisy”

The John H Watson Society sadly lost charter member Sheila ‘Daisy’ Holtgrieve this past week to intestinal cancer.

Sheila, a long-time member of the Sound of the Baskervilles of Seattle, joined the JHWS as part of the inaugural Treasure Hunt team from Seattle in 2013. An avid quiz taker and puzzle solver, she played an active part in each treasure hunt from then through 2019.

In addition to the JHWS and the SOBs, she was also a member of The Stormy Petrels of British Columbia, The Dogs in the Nighttime of Anacortes, WA, and The Sherlock Holmes Society of London. She read mysteries and Holmes pastiches daily and corresponded with Sherlockians in many parts of the country, sending many thank you notes and encouragement cards.

Sheila moved to Seattle in 2009 from California, after her retirement from Stanford University Medicine where she worked as an RN in the ICU for many years, and the death of her husband, Denis. She is survived by her son, daughter-in-law, twin 8-year-old grandchildren, a sister and brother-in-law, and a niece and nephew.

Watch Sherlock Hound with Selena Buttons

Not long before my workplace closed to the public, a co-worker told me I ought to watch Sherlock Hound.

I think it might be fun to watch with a little virtual company. So, while I watch it tomorrow, Saturday, April 25, at 8:00am PDT (11:00am EDT) (4:00pm BST), I will be hanging out in our Society Slack. I’d love it if some Watsonians would join me!

Can’t make it tomorrow morning? I’ll let you know when I’ll be watching another episode. Or we can schedule a watch-along for something else – Granada, anyone?

Escape!

Paget illustration for STOC in The Strand, 1893

A rare Sumatran tiger has escaped from the London Zoo! Professor Stamford, President of the Zoological Society of London, calls for Sherlock Holmes to help track down the missing cat. Since time is of the essence, Holmes requests your assistance.

While so many of us are sequestered at home for the duration, the Cotsen Children’s Library at Princeton University provides a bit of Holmesian fun with their virtual escape room. Can you solve the mystery and find the missing tiger?

Checking In

Paget illustration of Holmes and Watson
Finding that Holmes was too absorbed for conversation, I had tossed aside the barren paper, and leaning back in my chair, I fell into a brown study. [RESI]

These are strange times we are living in.

The Covid-19 pandemic has many of us sheltering in place, with our workplaces closed and social gatherings prohibited. Others, like the Good Doctor, are essential workers in the medical field or in the service industries that we depend upon. You have our deepest gratitude.

While we are sad to see beloved and highly anticipated events canceled or postponed, we are heartened to see friends connecting through the virtual world. Being an online Society, the virtual world is our home.

We hope that all of you are keeping well and safe, and that you have plenty of good things to read.

Fall Watsonian Coming Soon

The Fall issue of the Watsonian is headed to press, with print copies expected to arrive later in the month.

The digital version will be released to members over the next few days, so watch your email for an update to your order.

Shop Note

Our Shopkeeper is headed up to Oregon for the Left Coast Sherlockian Symposium. While she is away, print publications and the Print+ membership will be temporarily unavailable. Digital editions of publications and the Worldwide Paperless membership will remain available in the Shop.

We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience!

Leadership Changes

This month, some changes in Society leadership took effect. I am pleased to introduce our first official Carter (the Treasurer), Tonya Spratt-Williams (JHWS “Mallory”) and Boswell (Membership Secretary), Courtney Powers (JHWS “Destiny”).

In addition, Elinor Gray (JHWS “Misty”) is handing the reins of Watsonian Editor-in-Chief to Brad Keefauver (JHWS “Calder”). We look forward to the Fall 2019 issue, which will be the first under his charge.