Extraordinary! Exciting News! Mark Calendars! Alert Friends! Send Emails! Inform the Watsonian World!

The Society is pleased to announce the debut of the First Annual John H Watson Society Canonical Treasure Hunt.

The First Annual John H Watson Canonical Treasure Hunt will involve a lengthy search through the Canon and scholarly material requiring Watsonian Seekers of Truth to sort through a large body of data in order to arrive at the point where the Canonical Treasure is to be found and identified.

Our treasure hunt will involve encryption, obscure references, geographic and biologic inferences, people, objects, dates, and all manner of Watsonian and Holmesian/Sherlockian knowledge.

Be cautioned! It will not be simple. The First Annual John H Watson Canonical Treasure Hunt may well take you weeks to sort out the answer . . . perhaps months. This will make the Musgrave Ritual look like child’s play. You will be required to hunt through the literature, both the Sacred Canon and the related scholarship of the past seventy years.

And there will be prizes! The first Society Charter member to email the correct answer will receive a fine first British edition of  The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes donated to the Society by an anonymous member. Other categories of winners will also receive handsome donated prizes.

And now for the Rules:

1. The Annual John H Watson Canonical Treasure Hunt will be posted on the Society’s website at the Quiz Page at exactly 12:00 Noon (Pacific) on Thursday, 1 August 2013.  All participants will have an equal opportunity relative to time and access. The Canonical Treasure Hunt will end upon submission of the first correct answer or on Monday, September 2, 2013 at 12 Noon (Pacific).

2. The Annual John H Watson Canonical Treasure Hunt shall have four categories: Charter Members, Non-Members, Founding Members and Students. One winner from the Charter Members shall be determined and one winner from Non-Members shall also be determined.  A winning Founding Member will be determined, as well. Founding Members may not compete in the Charter Member category. The Student winner may be a member or non-member, but must be enrolled in a high school, college or university of higher learning. The Charter Member winner will receive a first British edition of  The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes ( a $1,000 value). The Non-Member winner will receive a six-year membership to the Society (a $120 value). The Student winner will receive an Honorarium of $250. The Founding Member (Directors) winner shall have the satisfaction of knowing the answer submitted was correct.

3. The winners will be determined by two criteria: 1) Correctness of the final answer; and 2) Time of receipt of the correct answer by the Society via email at info@johnhwatsonsociety.com .  Winners in all categories will be posted on the Society website. NOTE: The final answer will consist of identifying the ultimate Treasure, but will also require answering correctly all questions leading up to the final answer.

4. All matters concerning the Canonical Treasure Hunt, the contest, the answers, and the determination of the winning answer will be the sole decision of the John H Watson Society Directors. The only purpose of the Annual John H Watson Society Canonical Treasure Hunt is to encourage scholarship and a deeper understanding of the writings of John H Watson, M.D.  All prizes have been donated to the Society by anonymous members.

The Society encourages its members to inform as many people of this First Annual John H Watson Society Canonical Treasure Hunt as possible. We also encourage other scion clubs and organisations to let their members know of this unique and exciting event. And, we would hope the Sherlockian, Holmesian and Watsonian media worldwide find it a worthy effort for featuring prominently in their reportage.

And so, we announce the First Annual John H Watson Society Canonical Treasure Hunt and ask you to spread the word and return promptly at noon (Pacific) on Thursday 1 August 2013 for the revealing of the mystery!  The game IS afoot!

Welcome to Nuno Robles, JHWS “Oakley,” our first Charter Member from Portugal

Please join in welcoming Mr Nuno Robles, JHWS “Oakley,” SHSL to Charter Membership. Nuno is the first member of the Society from Portugal. He writes:”I worked at Sony for 20 years but I left the company in late 2010 and now I’m a Wine Producer, with my own family company “Quinta do Falcao”. Our Wines are prestigious and we’ve won several national and international awards. The latest has been the International Wine Challenge with our Paço dos Falcoes Red Wine. I’m a member of the Sherlock Holmes Society of London and also subscribe to the Baker Street Journal.”

We would draw Nuno’s attention to By-Law #5 and assure him that he is joining a Society with members having a particularly deep and discerning appreciation for the grape and, generally, Spiritus Fermenti in most forms.

Please join in a very warm welcome and out traditional greeting to a Fellow Watsonian and follower of Bacchus:

“You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive. . . . and your tongue appears to be purple.”

Welcome to Matt Laffey, JHWS “Baron,” Priory Scholars of NY and “Always 1895” to Charter Membership

The Society is pleased to welcome Mr Matt Laffey as a Charter Member. Matt publishes the always interesting and informative “Always 1895” website at:
http://always1895.net/.

He writes:

I was born and raised in Chicago. I moved to NYC in 2006 where I kindled an interest/obsession with all things Sherlockian by starting www.always1895.net and co-restarting The Priory Scholars of NYC. You can find me on Twitter as @always1895 .

Matt recently mentioned The John H Watson Society as follows:

The John H. Watson  Society is a (very) recently founded society which “seeks a level of equality in scholarship and enthusiasm for the life and work of John H. Watson, M. D. The Founding Members are committed to recognition of Dr. Watson’s contributions, albeit often masked and misunderstood, to the cases, adventures and memoirs he wrote as the first biographer of Sherlock Holmes. The Society believes that Watson has an equality of stature with Holmes and that his accomplishments and talents deserve further scholarship and research.” You can read more about the purposes and goals of the John H. Watson Society here. For updated information and society news as well as fascinating and informative biographies of those Sherlockians…or should we say Watsonians, who have most recently become members, make sure to check out The Watsonian Blog. It should come as no surprise that the Society’s  motto is derived from one of Holmes’ final reflections on his stalwart friend  and biographer, found at the very end of “His Last Bow”:  “Good old Watson! You are the one fixed point in a changing age.” It strikes me that even though the society is a new one, the seeds of the group were planted long ago in the minds of those involved giving The John H. Watson society an air of established, long standing permanence. I also look forward to subscribing to and reading The Watsonian, journal of the society.

Please join in extending to Matt the warm welcome of the Society: “You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive.”

M.D., Dr., Mr., FRCS, ?

The British have their own way of referring to physicians. Some are Mr, some are Dr, some have FRCS after their name, and some have M.D. Our own John Watson was styled: John H. Watson, M.D. and referred to as Dr Watson.  What are the distinctions, the degrees or education indicated, and who can come up with the list of all the physicians and their appropriate professional titles as per the Canon?

Dr Watson’s “Stuff”

We have an extensive catalogue of Mr Holmes’s personal belongings, from dressing gowns to pipes to commonplace books and on and on.

But, what do we know of Dr Watson’s belongings? Who can catalogue those items that are Dr Watson’s personal things? And where no evidence exists, who would care to speculate on Dr Watson’s likely inventory?

Our Own Benoit Guilielmo, JHWS “Cicero” to Present Paper at  University of London

Charter Member Benoit Guilielmo of Nice, France will present “The Birth of a Textual Community: Early Sherlockiana (1927-1934)” at the upcoming conference Sherlock Holmes: Past and Present at the Institute of English Studies of the School of Advanced Study, University of London. Congratulations!

The programme is described here: http://www.ies.sas.ac.uk/ies-events/conferences/SherlockHolmes

As one reads the various topics, it becomes clear this is a major academic gathering with serious papers being presented that indicate the Holmesian genre as written by Dr Watson has entered an age of mainstream academia. Note, for instance, “Sherlock Holmes: Modern Literary Virgil,” and “The Spatial Code in Sherlock Holmes Stories.”

Welcome to Melissa Anderson JHWS, “Faith” to Charter Membership

The Society extends a very warm welcome to Melissa Anderson of Peoria, Illinois to Charter Membership.

A Sherlockian since age 13, Melissa is a former Instructor of English Literature and Writing Composition at Bradley, University. She has most recently written and produced a play featuring Sherlock Holmes and is completing a novel of Watson and Holmes titled The Mystery of That Woman.”

Melissa also has the distinction of being the winner of the 221B Cellars essay contest on the topic “Beeswing.” Her entry is an absolute gem of concision and insight packed into 400 words. She won the prize and her essay will be published in the forthcoming inaugural issue of The Watsonian in October. She has also received an offer from another scion group for its later publication.

When not writing about Dr Watson and Mr Holmes, Melissa is a Ministry Assistant at a Peoria church. She is a member of The Sherlock Holmes Society of London and The Hansoms of John Clayton.

Please welcome Melissa with our traditional warmth and Canonical greeting:

“You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive.”

Dr Watson’s Moons

Dr Watson writes of moons in about thirty instances throughout the Canon. Has anyone worked out the references, the pattern, or the significance of the moons?

Why a Bearskin Rug?

Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson have a bearskin rug in front of the fireplace. Anyone care to speculate on this? Would not a bearskin rug be unusual in Victorian England? Were (are) there bears in Great Britain?

On a separate note, Buttons has it on first authority that Vamberry Wine Merchant bottled the First Edition A Study In Scarlet today. He reports that it is something a bit special in a red wine. A case is being sent to Dr Watson for “medicinal purposes.” www.221bcellars.com.

And, now, back to the bear…

Welcome to Joseph Kruth, JHWS “Marlowe”

The Society is pleased to welcome Mr Joseph Kruth as a Charter Member. Joe has been corresponding regularly and has sent along his delightful biography:It was quiet. No radio or TV allowed on the ward floor.  As I was drifting in and out of a swirling yellow fog, a smartly turned-out young women in a crisp Red Cross uniform was approaching – book cart in tow.  Maybe a book would clear my head.  The book cart had many well-thumbed books including one Sherlock Holmes book. Sadly, I neither remember the book title nor the stories. This was in my adventurous year of 1969.  Three years later, in a library, I came across William S. Baring-Gould’s two volume Sherlock Holmes Annotated and spent several hours paging through this weighty tome.  Yes, I was hooked. Within a few days I purchased my own Baring-Gould set for about $50 – no small amount of money at the time. However, money well spent.

Through the years, I have endeavored to keep-up on all things Sherlockian:

Seven 3-ring binders containing 526 newspaper clippings, advertisements, book excerpts, etc. Please note: my collection is hard copy-print media. No internet searches.

Also, my main Sherlock Holmes index appropriately sub-titled “Behold the Fruits of Laborious Days and Pensive Nights,” contains 324 entries ranging from books, tapes, DVDs and miscellany.

And, in August 1996, Classic Specialties was gracious enough to publish my small unworthy monograph “I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere.”

In August 1998, I corresponded with the Franco-Midland Hardware Company based in England. After a little time, I passed the 200 question exam and received my Certificate in Holmesian Studies (CHS).  I am no longer in contact.

Lastly, it was the Peter Blau newsletter of April 2013 that alerted me to your august John H. Watson Society.

It is time to end with a non-canonical, but appropriate, exit:

“Holmes Again? Always Holmes…Until the End.”  Recognize the line?

Thank you.
Joe.

And, Joe, we all warmly welcome you to the Society with our also most appropriate greeting:  “You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive.” 

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.”