We Need Participants! Here is an Incentive! 

New exploration that comes from questions that have and have not been asked before is a wonderful thing. It enlivens the discussion, prolongs The Game, and adds colour to our everyday routine. This topic is the passion of all of our members, and everyone of us has something to add to the discussion. Please join in. There are no wrong answers, only unlimited positions to be stated and supported for the enjoyment and benefit of us all.

Incentive: We will award an annual prize for all members attaining the stature of Attending Quiz Physician (details forthcoming). Start now! It will be a very nice prize!

Today’s question:

Who or what is a “scabby sheep” and what is the context? What other veterinary references does Dr Watson write about throughout the Canon?

Welcome to Richard J. Sveum, MD, JHWS “Marco,” BSI, “Dr Hill Barton” to Charter Membership

The Society extends a warm welcome to Dr Richard Sveum, President of the Friends of the Arthur Conan Doyle Collection at the University of Minnesota Library. Among his many Sherlockian credentials and memberships are:

» The Maiwand Jezails
» The Baker Street Irregulars (Dr. Hill Barton)
» Friends of the Sherlock Holmes Collections (President)
» The Norwegian Explorers of Minnesota
» The Illustrious Clients of Indianapolis
» The Elusive Bicyclists (The Rattle of our Wheels)
» The Speckled Band of Boston
»  The Hounds of the Baskerville (sic)
» The Bootmakers of Toronto
» The Friends of the Arthur Conan Doyle Collection
» The Sherlock Holmes Society of London
» The  STUD Sherlockian Society

Please join in welcoming Dr Sveum to our Society and extend to him a warm traditional welcome:

“You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive.”

Welcome to Michael Proudfit, JHWS “Skippy,” to Charter Membership

The Society welcomes Mr Michael Proudfit to Charter Membership. Michael is a long-time member of the Napa Valley Napoleons of S.H. and the Scowrers and Molly Maguires of San Francisco. He was a close friend of Col. Ted Schulz, an Emeritus Founding Member, and he has a near-infallible knowledge of things Canonical.

Please join in extending a very warm welcome to our colleague and friend, Michael Proudfit, with the Society welcome:

“You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive.”

A Sunday Quiz Question

As Harrison Hunt, Sandy Kozinn, James O’Leary, and Joanne Yates have proven to be deadly accurate in their answers to the previous questions, Buttons has been forced to get off his stool and repair to the library to do research for today’s offering:

“E.C” . . . .?  Who is speaking? Which story? What was the screw?

Who is Blondin?

In The Sign of Four, Holmes states: “… watch out for Blondin….”  What is the significance of this? What is he referring to?

Welcome to Frank Mentzel, JHWS, “Merridew” to Charter Membership

The Society welcomes heartily Mr. Frank Mentzel to Charter Membership.

Frank writes:

I first encountered Sherlock in the summer before Junior High School.  I have been a Sherlockian since but only had it become active about 20 years ago.   Upon retirement in 2001, the interest became a mania.  I am active in several scion societies (which I will list at  the end) and have for the past 5 years been teaching “Appreciating Sherlock Holmes,” a Life Enrichment class for a local community college.  The course was created in 1989 by the late Phil Sherman (2 Shilling BSI).  I have always been know for my bad memory and always tell the class and my fellow Sherlockians that because of that I can enjoy a new Sherlock every time I read a story.  I love Sherlock in every form and have a large collection of pastiches and videos as well as a room full of collectibles.

I am active in (in time sequence):

The Six Napoleons of Baltimore
Watson’s  Tin Box
The Denizens of the Bar of Gold
The White Rose of York
The Society of the Naval Treaty
The Carlton Club
The Red Circle
The Diogenes Club of Washington, D.C. (in formation)

And we now welcome Frank with the greeting of the Society to members:  “You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive.”

Zounds! What Have We Here?

Here are important items and events from Dr Watson’s life. Please reply by clicking on “Comments” and posting a minimum 400 word essay reply on the links between these items and Dr Watson. The prizes for each the first four essays to be posted is a First Edition of The Autobiography of Sherlock Holmes.

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A Warm Welcome to a New Charter Member: James C. O’Leary, JHWS “Pippin,” SBB, PSI

The Society is very pleased to welcome our first Praed Street Irregular (PSI) to Charter Membership, an individual who is a charming writer and an enthusiastic Sherlockian: Mr. James C. O’Leary, “Pippin.”Here is the engaging biography he sends along:

“Growing up I had seen Daffy Duck and Bullwinkle J. Moose wear the Holmes’ deerstalker and Porky Pig and Mr. Magoo wear Watson’s bowler, but my first introduction to the detective was in the sixth grade (then the last grade of elementary school) when the class had to read The Hound of the Baskervilles in Scholastic Books “Easy Eye” edition–dark green type on light green, glare-free paper. I will admit that there were a few things that went over my head, such as Holmes’ dry wit (“You saw me, perhaps, on the night of the convict hunt, when I was so imprudent as to allow the moon to rise behind me?”) and Watson’s wonderful word-pictures (“Again the agonized cry swept through the silent night, louder and much nearer than ever. And a new sound mingled with it, a deep, muttered rumble, musical and yet menacing, rising and falling like the low, constant murmur of the sea.”)

In junior high, I sought out Holmes for my own pleasure and the school library had a copy of The Adventures and The Memoirs bound in one volume. When I came to last page with Watson’s stirring epitaph of Holmes, I could believe that the stains on the old and well-worn paper were the tears of past generations of readers.

It wasn’t until high school that I discovered that the Canon didn’t end at “The Final Problem” and that there was a whole world of scholarship and pastiche to help slake an unquenchable thirst. That was the beginning of the Great Boom of the seventies and there always seem to be something new at the bookstore. I found Pinnacle Books paperback editions of the Solar Pons Canon and was made a member of the Praed Street Irregulars by Luther Norris; I subscribed to the Baker Street Miscellanea ($4.00 a year for four issues of incredible scholarship); The Sherlock Holmes Journal and then The Baker Street Journal.

For over thirty years I’ve considered myself a Sherlockian, but it has always been a solitary pursuit. It wasn’t until I went on to the internet in 2010 and discovered Scott Monty and Burt Wolder’s I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere podcast that I was inspired to seek out others. I became a member of the Speckled Band of Boston in 2012 and corresponded electronically with wonderful and generous Sherlockians.”

Thanks,

James

And thank you, James, for this delightful, nostalgic and poignant recalling of our own similar first encounters with Sherlock Holmes, Dr Watson and the adventures that have filled our lives.

Please extend a welcoming and warm greeting to our new friend and fellow Watsonian, James C. O’Leary:

You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive.”

The Debut of the Quiz Page

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Welcome to the Quiz Page!

Each day, one of our Watsonians will ask a question for the members to answer, discuss, refute, or otherwise ruminate on, as we further the knowledge and scholarship of the writings of Dr Watson.

Any and all members may simply click on “Comments” and add their questions, answers or contribution to what can be an enjoyable daily exploration of any number of topics. Remember how much fun “Word Power” was in the Reader’s Digest?  Well, Quiz Page can be even more fun because we all have an interest in the same topics. But, it begins with you, the interested and supportive member of The John H Watson Society. We can all have some fun and participate for a few minutes each day, or we can just be a “journal” society (which we are already). Let us commit to being both; after all, John H. Watson was a man of action and intellect.

So, please… please… please… come here often and think of the many unanswered questions you have about Dr Watson, Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes, or any of the vast catalogue of characters who inhabit the greatest canon of literature ever known.

The first question is posted by the boy in buttons who is seen above in the illustration. His question: “Who are the people in the illustration and what story are they featured in and what is taking place in the scene?

Two New Features Added to The Society Website

Today the Society has added two new features on the website: Quiz Page and Watsonian Limelight.

Quiz Page is what you might expect: a quiz blog for ALL members to post questions, Canonical conundrums, and topics for exploration, explication, and examination. It is meant to be a DAILY stop for a bit of intriguing Canonical conundra and active participation by all.

Watsonian Limelight will highlight a member of the Society each month and provide all of us greater illumination of the member’s accomplishments, interests and creativity. The first limelight is shown upon the Life of Col. Ted Schulz, BSI “The Amateur Mendicant Society” and Founding Member Emeritus of The John H Watson Society.

These are YOUR pages. Please contribute, participate, and assist in the daily, ongoing dialogue that can add so much fun and pleasure to our shared lives of interest in the Watsonian and Sherlocklian milieu. You only have to click on “Comments” and you are in The Game, and, truly, “The game’s afoot!”

Welcome to Michael Dirda, PhD, JHWS “Alex,” BSI “Langdale Pike”

The Society wishes to extend its warm welcome to Michael Dirda, PhD., JHWS, BSI “Langdale Pike.”

Mr. Dirda’s impressive biography reads:

I am an invested member–as Langdale Pike–of The Baker Street Irregulars and write or lecture frequently about literary subjects, including the works of John H. Watson. My most recent book,  On Conan Doyle, received the 2012 Edgar Allan Poe Award–for the best biographical/critical work of the year–from the Mystery Writers of America.

For a quarter century I was a staffer at The Washington Post Book World and for the last decade have been a weekly book columnist for The Washington Post. My earlier books include the memoir An Open Book and  four collections of essays: Readings, Bound to Please, Book by Book and Classics for Pleasure.  As I live by my pen, I’m a regular contributor  to The New York Review of Books, an occasional reviewer and essayist for the Times Literary Supplement, a columnist for the online Barnes and Noble Review, and a frequent reviewer for several other  literary periodicals, as well as an occasional lecturer and college teacher (most recently at the Bread Loaf School of English and the University of Maryland).  Years ago, I earned a Ph.D. in comparative literature (focusing on medieval studies and European romanticism) from Cornell University and before that graduated with Highest Honors in English from my beloved alma mater, Oberlin College. I grew up in the working-class steel town of Lorain, Ohio and have lived in the Washington DC area since 1975.

My work has been  lucky enough to be short-listed for the Los Angeles Times Book Award (in current affairs for Bound to Please) and for this year’s Marfield Prize for Arts Writing and to have won the Ohioana Book Award for nonfiction (An Open Book), the Boydston Essay Prize (from the Association of Documentary Editing for an article  in the New York Review of Books comparing two editions of The Wind in the Willows),  and the Pulitzer Prize in criticism for my reviews and essays.  Besides the BSI, I’m a member of the Science Fiction Writers of America, the Mystery Writers of America, the Lewis Carroll Society of North America, The Friends of Arthur Machen, The Ghost Story Society, and the North American Jules Verne Society.

I live in Silver Spring, Maryland with my wife Marian Peck Dirda, a prints and drawings conservator for the National Gallery of Art. We have three sons, now in their twenties: Christopher, Michael and Nathaniel.

My current research focuses on popular fiction between, roughly, 1865 and 1930, and some day I hope to write a book about this “Great Age of Storytelling.”

Please join in welcoming Dr. Dirda to the Society with our collegial greeting to members:

“You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive.”

Welcome to Julie McKuras, BSI “The Duchess of Devonshire,” ASH “The Compliments of the Season.”

The Society is most pleased to welcome the distiguished Sherlockian, Julie McKuras, to Charter Membership. Mrs. McKuras writes:

“I’m married to Michael McKuras and have two children, both married, and two soon to be three grandchildren. On two of our excursions with the Sherlock Holmes Society of London, my Mike has been Vamberry the Wine Merchant.

I am a former ICU/CCU Nurse, having worked in both Fort Wayne Indiana and Minneapolis, MN; degrees from Purdue University and the University of Minnesota.

I am a member of the Norwegian Explorers since 1993 and president of that august group for nine years. I’ve co-chaired and worked on all of the Explorers’ triennial conferences since 1998.

Also, I am a member of the Friends of the Sherlock Holmes Collections Board. I’ve worked on their newsletter since the inception in 1997 and have been editor of this quarterly publication since 1999 as well as frequent contributor.

I’ve had articles in the Baker Street Journal,The Sherlock Holmes Society of London Journal and The Serpentine Muse. I’ve had essays published in Violets and Vitriol, ed. by S. E. Dahlinger, and Sherlock Holmes in the Heartland, edited by Steven T. Doyle.

I’ve been a speaker at a number of Sherlockian conferences including ones held in St. Louis, London and Indianapolis.

With Susan Vizoskie, I co-edited and wrote the introduction to Sherlockian Heresies by the late Leo Sauvage, BSI which was published by Wessex Press.

In addition to the Norwegian Explorers, I’m a member of The Sherlock Holmes Society of London, The Hounds of the Baskerville (sic), ASH (“The Compliments of the Season”), The Illustrious Clients of Indianapolis and the BSI (“The Duchess of Devonshire”).

Please join in extending a warm welcom to Julie as a Charter Member and greeting her with our traditional welcome:

“You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive.”

Welcome to Harrison D. Hunt, JHWS “Dash” to Charter Membership

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The Society is delighted to welcome Mr. Harrison D. Hunt, M.A., to Charter Membership in The John H Watson Society.

Mr. Hunt writes:

“I have an M.A. in History Museum Studies from the Cooperstown (NY) Graduate Program.  After a long career in history museums and historic preservation, I retired a few years ago from the Nassau County (NY) Department of Parks, where I was Senior Curator of History and Supervisor of Historic Sites.  One of the sites I was responsible for was The Knothole, Christopher Morley’s writer’s retreat.

I have a particular interest in the American Civil War and have authored two books about the struggle, Hallowed Ground and Heroes of the Civil War.

Following up on a longstanding interest in Sherlock Holmes, I became an active Sherlockian after the Baker Street Irregulars’ 75th anniversary excursion to The Knothole in 2009.  Since then, I have been an active member of several scions in the Northeast, including the Sons of the Copper Beeches and The Three Garridebs, and have had articles published in The Baker Street Journal and Prescott’s Press.

Most recently, my wife Linda and I founded a scion celebrating Christopher Morley, The Grillparzer Club of the Hoboken Free State.

I have a particular interest in John H. Watson, in part because I do Civil War reenacting as a Union Army Surgeon.  I have written several papers about him, which is not surprising for someone who has DRWATSON plates on his car.

I  am delighted that this Society has been established to honor his
accomplishments.”

Please join in welcoming Mr. Hunt to the Society with our traditional greeting:

“You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive.”

Welcome to Nick Utechin, BSI “The Ancient British Barrow,” SHSL, JHWS

The Society welcomes Mr. Nick Utechin, BSI, as a Founding Member. Mr. Utechin is among the world’s most well-regarded Sherlockians and is a prolific scholar, author and keeper of knowledge concerning the Sacred Canon and the Holmesian dialogue.

Nicholas Utechin joined The Sherlock Holmes Society of  London in 1966, aged 14, and ended up editing The Sherlock Holmes Journal from 1976-2006.   He is an invested Baker Street Irregular (1976) with the title ‘The Ancient British Barrow’.   Nick has contributed to Sherlockian scholarship for many years and enjoys sharing the fact that he is related to Basil Rathbone with those who may or may not be
interested..

In another life, he is a freelance radio broadcaster/producer and was on the staff of the BBC for many years. Other interests include the films of D.W.Griffith (he was once privileged to interview Lillian Gish, at the Savoy Hotel in London) and buying what fine wines he can afford in these ludicrously expensive times.

Please join in welcoming Nick with the Society’s greeting to members:

“You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive.”

Welcome to Susan R. Capell, JHWS “Heather,”  M.A.

The Society extands its warm welcome to long-time Sherlockian and Watsonian, Susan R. Capell of Virginia. Susan has a Master’s in Instructional Systems Technology (Library Science) from Indiana University.

In her delightful letter to the boy in buttons, she writes of her over 400 book collection of Sherlockiana, as well as her extensive collection of scion club publications, and VCRs, DVDs and CDs of all things Holmesian and Watsonian.

She relates two highlights of her years as a Sherlockian: 1) being piped from a conference at the University of Minnesota Sherlock Holmes Collections; and 2) meeting John B. Shaw and touring his home Sherlockiana library in Sante Fe.

Susan has belonged to An Irish Secret Society in New York and to The Game’s Afoot in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Her Cat is named “Irene.” Need we say more?

Please join in a warm welcome and a rousing rendition of the Society’s greeting to members:

“You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive.”

Welcome to Harold and Theodora Niver, BSI, to Charter Membership; AKA “William and Helen Gillette”

The Society has gained not two distinguished Sherlockians, but four, as Charter Members. Harold E. Niver, BSI “The Man on the Tor” and his bride, Theodora Niver, BSI “Carmina” also embody the famous Sherlockian actor and his bride, William and Helen Gillette.

Tyke and Teddie Niver, as they are known by many Sherlockian friends around the world, have played the famous actor and his wife in presentations at Gillette Castle in Connecticut for many years. They also have appeared on stage around the world in their theatrical program re-creating William Gillette playing Sherlock Holmes. Here are two of the many rave reviews:

“Harold and Teddie Niver – as the Gillettes – are truly the First Couple of Baker Street; and, as intriguing as Gillette Castle is by itself, its heart truly beats when the Nivers are there.”
Henry Zecher, Author of “The Masque of Sherlock Holmes, The Extraordinary Life of William Gillette”

“Mr. and Mrs. Harold Niver do not simply appear costumed as the Gillettes, they seem to embody these vanished actors.  The depth of their research into the career and life of the distinguished actor/playwright allows them to speak easily and confidently in their roles. They need no script but can simply move among us never stepping out of character. You will feel you are in the presence of William Gillette and his beloved bride.”
Susan Rice, Host, the William Gillette Memorial Luncheon

The Gillettes
The Nivers as the Gillettes
Tyke and Teddie Niver as the Gillettes

Harold Niver established the scion society, The Men on the Tor “The Hound,” in Connecticut in 1977. Theodora Niver is a member of The Adventuresses of Sherlock Holmes “Mrs Robert Ferguson” and The Men on the Tor “Mrs Barrymore.”

Perhaps the Society will inspire Harold and Teddie to add to their repertoire and embody our beloved Dr John H Watson and his bride Mary Morstan; we will savour the pleasure of that possibility.

Please join in extending a warm welcome to our new Charter Members with the traditional welcome of the Society:

“You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive.”

Welcome to Russell Merritt, PhD, BSI, to Charter Membership

The Society welcomes the distinguished professor of film studies at University of California, Berkeley, Dr. Russell Merritt, to Charter Membership. Prof. Merritt was invested as “The Trepoff Murder” by the BSI in 1960.  He is a member of The Scowrers/ Mollie Maguires of San Francsico, and the Knights of the Gnomon.

Dr Merritt teaches courses in national cinemas, animation, film styles and
genre, specializing in topics that cross disciplinary lines. His current research interests include silent film, Japanese film [particularly Ozu Yasajiro], D.W. Griffith, animation, film and children’s lore, French Film, German Film, and Disney’s 1930s work.

Selected Publications

Co-author (with J.B. Kaufman), Silly Symphonies: A Companion to the Walt Disney Cartoon Series, La Cineteca del Friuli/ Smithsonian Press (in press, fall 2004).

Contributor, Fifty entries, averaging 3,500 words each on fifty Griffith Biographs for The Griffith Project, Vols. 1-8, Paolo Cherchi Usai, ed. London: BFI Publishing, 1999-2003.

“Rescued From a Perilous Nest: Griffith’s Escape from Theatre into Film,”
revised and expanded for Theater and Film: A Comparative Anthology, ed. Bert
Cardullo, Yale University Press, 2003.

“Nickelodeon Theaters, 1905-1914: Building an Audience for the Movies” has also been excerpted [pp. 83-91, 95-98, 102] for inclusion in Exhibition, The Film Reader, ed. Ina Rae Hark. New York: Routledge, 2002, pp. 21-30.

Writer and narrator for “D.W. Griffith Years of Discovery: 1909-1913″
[3 hour analyses of twenty-four Biographs]. DVD produced by Film Preservation
Associates, 2002.

Writer and narrator of “Eisenstein and Prokofiev,” introduction to Alexander Nevsky, DVD (Criterion, 2000).

Writer and narrator for “Understanding D.W. Griffith,” [analyses of The Birth
of a Nation, Intolerance, and Way Down East] CD-ROM produced by Brian Stonehill,Pomona College, 1998.

“L’uomo che rubo ‘La Gioconda’ Introduzione”, “The Man Who Stole the
Gioconda: Introduction,” Griffithiana 64 (Ottobre, 1998), 50-59.

“100 Jahre Filmmusik: Paul Dessau, Die Alice-Komödien, und [Ladislaw
Starewicz’] Die Wunderuhr,” 35pp booklet in German, French, and English to
accompany world premiere recording of Alice Comedies/ The Magic Clock, Paul
Dessau’s music for silent films directed by Walt Disney and Ladislaw Starewicz.
BMG-Deutchland Radio-RCA Victor, 1996.

“Recharging Nevsky: Tracking the Eisenstein-Prokofiev War Horse,” Film
Quarterly 48 (Winter 1994-5), 34-45.

Productions

Producer and Director, “The Great Nickelodeon Show,” a ninety-minute recreation of a turn-of-the-century film exhibition, with live acts and illustrated lectures. This program, originally created for Film 50 in Spring 2000, has since then been performed at the Castro, the San Rafael Film Center, the Telluride Film Festival, the Los Angeles Film Festival and the Giornate de Cinema Muto in Italy. Most recently it has played at Emory University in Atlanta and is scheduled for the Aspen Film Festival and the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

“UPA and the Selling of ’50s Cool,” lecture and film program presented at
Aspen ShortsFest, Aspen, Colorado, 31 March 2004.

Moderator and co-organizer, Talk Cinema for three seasons, San Francisco,
Fall 2002-2003.

Guest Curator, Walt Disney Retrospective 1921-1937, Cinematheque Francaise,
16 Dec 1998-15 January 1999

Guest Curator, “Fashion & Film,” sponsored by the Goethe-Institüt, San
Francisco, 12 Nov-5 Dec 1996

Co-writer [uncredited] and senior consultant, D.W. Griffith: Father of Film,
three one- hour television broadcasts directed and co-written by Kevin Brownlow
and David Gill, and co-produced by American Masters [US] and Thames Television
[UK], broadcast PBS March 1993.

Please join in welcoming Dr. Merritt to the Society with our greeting to members:

“You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive.”

Welcome James B Saunders, BSI “The Beryl Coronet” to Charter Membership

The Society is pleased to extend a warm welcome to James B. Saunders, BSI “The Beryl Coronet” to Charter Membership. Dr. Saunders writes:

“I am a proud descendant of my canonical namesake, “Sir James Saunders” (BLAN), whose ancestral garb I chillingly exhibit  at the BSI Annual Meeting, i.e. I wear my kilt!

I am a professional writer and business owner; BA. MA. DuD.

I heartily support Buy-Laws (note my spelling) # 5, 3, and 6 in that order.”

We all join in a warm welcome, and the boy in buttons especially looks forward to the kilt wearing at a Society event as he also is a Scot (Clan Campbell) and has been known to wear the whole nine yards himself (nine brass buttons, of course).

We extend the greetings of the Society to Dr. Saunders:

“You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive.”