We learn of Mr Brosnan’s passing on 28 December 2013. We have stood upon the terrace for the last time and “Beeton” is now a distinguished Honourary Emeritus Member (1933-2013).
Our Charter Member, Vincent Brosnan, is known by legions of Sherlockians around the world as “Vinnie” and as one of the legendary Bookmen of the last half century. Mr Brosnan resides, as he has for many years, in Oceanside, California, south of Los Angeles. Here, we spotlight one of the nobles, one of the Sherlockian aristocracy.
Vincent reminisces . . .
“In my high school days (the late 1940s), I was exposed to the world of Sherlock Holmes in three distinct ways: by reading the original Arthur Conan Doyle stories; by watching the Universal Studio movies that were in production starring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce; and by listening to the weekly radio program sponsored by Petri Wine and also starring Rathbone and Bruce. I was totally taken by the radio programs which allowed full range to my imagination and appreciation of Rathbone’s unique voice and inflection which made the action believable. I believe it was the combination of Rathbone’s voice and the inciting of my imagination that was the mainspring of my love for Sherlock Holmes. Another influence was the romance of the Victorian Age which was inbred as my father was a true Dickensian.
Going forward to 1959: an important year of my life. I graduated in January from the Cinema Department at the University of Southern California and began the almost impossible task of finding employment in Hollywood. By June, with no prospects in sight, I was discouraged and running out of needed cash. There was a bookstore in downtown Los Angeles that had displayed on its top shelf the three volume Heritage set of Sherlock Holmes, The Later Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, and The Final Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. The books were priced at five dollars each. I knew I couldn’t afford it, but I bought them anyway, and it was a purchase that changed my life.
At that time, my nights were sleepless. To relieve my restlessness, I took up my Sherlock Holmes adventures. I read them all two or three times and was completely captivated. What a wonder these stories were, a perfect mixture of charm and adventure. They helped alter my spirit and attitude. Soon afterwards, in June, I got my foot in the door at the NBC Studios in Burbank–the start of a thirty-three year career.
Does Sherlock deserve credit? You bet he does! With a paycheck in my wallet, I could let loose some of my collecting urges and all the fun that comes with it. Up to that time, I had never joined a Sherlock Holmes club, better known as scions. I took a different route. Over time, my collection grew, resulting in an overfilled garage, and my dear wife pointed out the need for clearing it out. This crisis has not changed in over forty years of marriage. Nevertheless, the crisis was of good fortune. I formed my book service and named it Sherlock in L.A. Since then, fourteen privately printed catalogues featuring many great Sherlockian book collections for sale have been produced and all were well-illustrated and, more import, well-received by the Sherlockian collector world. Among those memorable sales of great collections was the John H Watson Society Emeritus Founding Member, the late Col. Ted Schulz, who is featured here in the Watsonian Limelight. The extensive catalogue of his collection is now a collector’s item in its own right.
In 1988, I became an active member of the Trained Cormorants, one of the oldest scions in the U.S. (founded in 1947) and I became the custodian of their archives. Shorty thereafter, I formed a publishing arm named The Sherlock n L.A. Press and produced three major monographs, all of which are now highly collectible. The first was The Sherlock Holmes Mother Gooseby Paula Salo; the second was The Trained Cormorants 60th Anniversary Commemorative which was the scion’s history accompanied by many archival photographs; and the third was The Sage of Santa Fe: Adventures and Public Life of John Bennett Shaw written by Susan Rice and myself.
It was with the Cormorants that I attended many of the important conferences and other Sherlockian gatherings in the 1990s. One was in 1995 for the dedication of the John Bennett Shaw Library at the University of Minnesota. The prior year, my dear wife Flavia and I went to London for the Back to Baker Street Festival where I met and friended Dame Jean Conan Doyle, who was Conan Doyle’s daughter and the last of the Conan Doyle descendants. This, I would add, was one of the great highlights of my life, and there have been many. I was so glad I was wearing a hat with her father’s name on it; I could see how happy this made her.
The other event, which ranks as one of the great surprises of my life, was my introduction by Michael Whelan, the Wiggins, into the Baker Street Irregulars. My investiture is “That Gap on That Second Shelf,” which is a line spoken by Holmes while disguised as an old bookman.
How fitting were these words for a bookman like myself. In reading over this thumb nail sketch, you can appreciate how my life’s journey with Sherlock Holmes led to many rewards and new friends. But this, of course, is only part of the story. There is so much more to be said and remembered. I have always viewed my collecting endeavors as one of responsibilities; that is, to inform, educate, and advance many Sherlockians on the significant studies, scholarship, and endless variety of pastiches that have gone before. This is a wide subject which, for right now, I have to put on hold.”
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We very much thank Mr Brosnan for this intimate look at a life of Sherlockian and Watsonian devotion. Buttons, himself an antiquarian book dealer, has long known of the fine reputation and high respect accorded Mr Brosnan by the book trade professionals. Among Sherlockian book collectors, the name Vinnie Brosnan is always mentioned with awe and reverence. He has decades of history as a Bookman of integrity, fairness and scrupulous standards, and that is achievement enough for any life. The Society is honoured to have Vincent Brosnan, JHWS “Beeton” as a member and, it must be noted: his Society moniker, a reference to the priceless Beeton’s Christmas Annual, was specially chosen by the Chair, Don Yates, to signify Mr Brosnan’s rarity, his value, and his pre-eminent position in the Sherlockian world.
Now and then–but rarely–one is privileged to have passed this way and known a true gentleman and wondrous person. These are the ornaments of a life, and they come to us spontaneously and with little fanfare. They are ethereal in their goodness and perfection; one knows instinctively that one is in the company of a Higher Spirit. Such a person was Ted Schulz who returned to the The Reichanbach Falls on January, 24, 2013, and we believe did so with joy in his sight, as he would be meeting his dear Mary in the mist of the Falls they both loved so much.
Col. Ted Schulz in his own words:
“I have lived a good life, you might say a charmed life. Married to the beautiful, gracious Mary Chizuko Iwaki for 54 years. She was a pharmacist, I a soldier. We achieved modest success in life. Mary was Chief Pharmacist at a large California hospital, I got to be a Colonel in the U.S. Army.
I was born in San Francisco at Mt. Zion Hospital on June 2, 1923 of William John Schulz and Marie Hortense Grandi. I have only one sibling, a younger sister, Wilma Horwitz. She is a widow and lives in Orinda. My parents lived in a pair of flats at 2332 and 2234 Divisadero St., in The City. My father’s mother “Grandma” and my father’s sister “Louise” aka “Aunt Lou” lived in the upstairs flat. In addition to Aunt Lou, my Dad had a younger brother, Fred. Fred was married to Audry, who was a “Schultz” before she became a “Schulz”
My parents loved me and protected me and my sister. During the “Great Depression” I never missed a meal or didn’t have a bed to sleep in. I was completely unaware that those were “hard times.”
* * * *
Ted was a ray of sunshine. A realist and a deep thinker, he has collected many Sherlock Holmes collectibles. He read Sherlock Holmes and was a widely-regarded Canonical expert. He referred to himself, with his unfailing graciousness, as an “enthusiast.”
His catalog of Sherlock Holmes books, magazines, pamphlets and ephemera listing over 1,000 items offered to collectors in the 1990s is a collectible itself. He was long a member of the Baker Street Irregulars, invested by Julian Wolff in 1961 as “The Amateur Mendicant Society.” He belonged to San Francisco’s scion, The Scowerers and the Molly Maguires and the Persian Slipper Society. He was a loyal member of the scion club, The Napa Valley Napoleons of S.H. He had belonged to The Illustrious Clients of Indianapolis, and ran the famous “221B Detachment” of the Soldiers of Baker Street (The S.O.B.’s), more familiarly known as “The Flying Squad” while stationed in Washington, D.C. On his twenty-fifth anniversary of the BSI, he was duly recognized and honoured with the Two-Shilling Award.
Along the way, John Ruyle, BSI “Baron Dawson” wrote a poem about Ted Schulz and Watson:
Ted Schulz and Watson
Between Ted Schulz and Watson
there is little to choose.
They’re both trusty comrades
who are always of use.
Yes, Teddy and John,
the sound is melodious.
This is a case where
comparisons are not odious.
Both are old soldiers
who stalked down their quarry,
And both found a treasure
in a wife named Mary.
Both have a humor
which is frequently pawky:
Ted’s son’s “William Sherlock,”
Fondly called “Shocky.”
Ted like Watson is loyal
and you can’t circumvent him.
If he didn’t exist,
we’d have to invent him!
* * * *
Ted was also an enthusiast of August Derlith’s Solar Pons stories. With his usual enthusiasm, he rose to become The Lord High Warden of the Pontine Marshes, the Solar Pons Scociety and did much to further the aims of this distinguished group.
Tributes by John H Watson Society Members
There have been many who have honoured Ted Schulz with their reminiscenses and memories, and several from our own John H Watson Founding and Charter Members provide us with a view of the high regard Ted Schulz engendered in everyone he met during his fascinating and interesting life: (These are from the catalogue showcasing Ted’s book collection prepared by Mr. Vincent Brosnan in the late 1990s.)
Peter Blau, BSI “Black Peter,” JHWS “Curly”
It’s been forty-one years, actually, since I first met Ted Schulz, in the same place I’ve met many other Sherlockians: in the pages of The Baker Street Journal. Ted was in the U.S. Army in Japan in the 1950s, when I was briefly in Japan in the U.S. Navy, but neither of us knew the other was there. In fact, neither of us knew of any Sherlockians, Japanese or American, in Japan at that time. I returned to the United States in July 1956, but he stayed out in Japan for another year.
And Ted was more enterprising than I had been: he went to a Japanese bookstore in search of translations of the Canon, and he found one: Mei Tantei Homuzu (with The Hound of the Baskervilles and “The Red-Headed League”), and he bought not just one copy, but rather a hundred of them, and he wrote to Edgar W. Smith about his discovery, and offered the books to his fellow Sherlockians, in the October 1957 issue of The Baker Street Journal, at cost: $1.00 each.
That was the first Japanese translation to find its way into my modest Sherlockian collection (all Sherlockian collections were modest in those long-ago days, of course, because there wasn’t all that much Sherlockiana to collect). It was a wonderful introduction to Ted, of course; we began a correspondence, and soon we were able to meet, what with both of us being members of the same late-50s-early-60s Sherlockian generation, and we have been friends ever since, and we’ve met often, most recently in New York this year when he proudly watched his wife Mary toasted as “The Woman” at the cocktail party before the annual dinner of the Baker Street Irregulars.
The room was full of Ted and Mary’s friends, because they have so many of them acquired over the decades, and treasured. It is the friendships formed over the decades that have made the Sherlockian world so much fun for us, and I’m looking forward to seeing some of the other stories told by other friends in this well-deserved tribute.
Michael Kean, BSI “General Charles Gordon,” JHWS “Toby”
A tribute that even begins to capture the generosity of Ted Schulz would take all of the pages of this catalogue; his heart is truly that big. There are few people as caring and considerate as Ted, and I’m blessed to be one of those individuals who has experienced it firsthand.
I met Ted at one of my first BSI dinners in the late 70s, and when some years later we again crossed paths, and I told him of the Kean family’s planned move to the Monterey Peninsula, he was delighted. It was through Ted that I received invitations to the Scowrers meetings and becmae part of the Persian Slipper Club. It was Ted who, over a dozen years ago, helped this enthusiastic amateur collector fully appreciate the magic of spending time together in a Sherlockian library.
The Kean family has visited the Schulz’s home on numerous occasions, and I’m happy to say, Ted and Mary have often returned the favor of visiting our home and The Diogenes Club. I recall a July 4th weekend visit to Marin when our children Megan and Adam were both quite young, and how patient and genuinely loving Ted was. I think he took special delight in knowing that someone else had also gifted his son with a Canonical name.
In this day and age it may not be fashionable to use the term “sweet” when referring to a man, but it readily applies to Ted Schulz, as does generous, caring and enthusiastic. But the term I value the most when describing Ted is “friend.”
Thank you, Ted.
Bruce Parker, BSI “A Garroter by Trade,” JHWS “Oxford”
Ted and I first met at a meeting of the Scowrers and Molly Maguires in San Francisco shortly after I moved to Californina. Although I had known Sherlockians most of my life, I had never met anyone as enthusiastic as Ted. The beauty of Ted, of course, is that he is as enthusiastic about life in general as he is about Holmes in particular. When it comes to relieving a down mood, Ted is better than Prozac.
By the early 1980s he and I, prodded by our wives, decided that we had to dispose of some books from our overly-loaded libraries. It seemed that it would be more fun to sell at book fairs or through the mail than to just dispose of them through established dealers. We registered with the State of California, had business cards and bookmarks designed by Laura Parker, and went to our first fair at Dominican College in Marin County. The turnout was modest, the sales poor, but Ted made friends with every dealer present. Our next venture was a book fair at Stanford University. The crowds were excellent, the selling brisk, and it looked like we had a going concern. Ted, however, showed his true colors as a bookman. Periodically he would leave me in charge of the booth while he went out to greet other dealers. Unfortunately for the bottom line, he invariably returned with more books than we sold! Parker and Schulz, book dealers, met an early demise after the Stanford Book Fair.
I have been privileged to meet many wonderful people in my life but none so genuinely human as Ted Schulz. As Sherlockian collector, husband, father, grandfather, teacher, and friend, he sets a standard few of us can ever hope to match. Ted’s book collection has been a source of pride to him for years. Those people wise enough to purchase one of his books will receive not just another book, but one that was always treated with love and respect by one of the most decent human beings God ever created.
Don Yates, BSI “The Greek Interpreter,” JHWS “Pal”
When Joanne and I moved to California from MIchigan in 1982, I recall that we enjoyed no welcome more immediate and cordial than the warm reception accorded to us–as relocating Sherlockians–by Ted Schulz, of nearby San Rafael. Someone in the BSI had alerted Ted to our plans and he was promptly on the phone to us in Calistoga, making us feel like visiting royalty. This was especially important at the time because we were not yet sure that our rose-colored determination to pursue our lives in California was feasible or merely foolish. Ted really did make us feel at home out here and, in the end, we were able to make our hoome in our chosen Napa Valley–within hailing distance of other eventual west-coast pals whom Ted introduced us to: Laura Parker, Ray and Grets De Groat, Bob Steele, Bruce and Nan Parker, to name but a few of these “kinspirits” as Ted is wont to call them.
Ted, who was awarded a noble investiture, “The Amateur Mendicant Society” (my very first exposure to scion activities was with the Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit), has probably performed more yoeman service in the interest of the BSI and Sherlockain studies in general than anyone else in the American west. Others will surely invoke Ted as an archivist, as a collector, an information center, and as a cohesive force who has for years kept the memory of Sherlock Holmes alive and thriving in this part of the world. But I want to stress here especially the unswerving friendship and inexhaustible hospitality that he, together with Mary, have treated so many of us to for so long, in the essential and characteristic spirit of Baker Street Irregulars conviviality.
* * * *
Ted served in the armed forces for a long time; World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. during the war. He became a Regular Army officer, and retired as a Colonel. He thought himself fortunate that he never came under direct fire, and that he never fired a shot in anger.
Ted’s John H Watson Society moniker, “Captain” is not a military reference, rather the name of a loyal and faithful dog who visited his master’s grave every day until he himself passed on. Such was the pure loyalty, steadfastness and devotion of Ted Schulz.
Perhaps Ted’s summary best expresses his gentle life: “I’m a most fortunate fellow! I was born healthy, I married very well (I married “up”), I have (am blessed with) two fine children.”
When one comes to The Reichenbach Falls, turns and looks back for a moment, there can be no satisfaction greater than having lived a life as full, loving, kind and gracious as that attested to by these good friends and fellow Sherlockians. And so, we celebrate a Life in the Limelight, a good and meaningful life. Please stand and raise your glass and give a final toast to “Ted Schulz, Sherlockian, Kind and Good Human “KinSpirit.””