Weekly Forum: October 21, 2014

Did Doctor Watson rejoin the British Army as a physician during World War I? What is the evidence and what are your surmises from knowing the life of the man?

Our Dr Bob Katz “Willow” wrote, in a BSJ article in 1992, that Watson spent World War I serving in the army performing pre-induction physicals. He would have been quite expert at identifying malingerers who were attempting to evade military service, as he had firsthand experience learning about malingering from Holmes, one of the first students of the subject (DYIN).

Announcement of Appointment of New Director

Dear Fellow Watsonians:

he John H Watson Society is pleased to announce the recognition and appointment of Robert Katz, MD, BSI, JHWS “Willow” as Director and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Society. The Society Chair, Professor Don Yates, BSI, JHWS “Pal” has moved and approved this well-deserved appointment and recommends Dr Katz for his exceptional encouragement of Societal activities and his active and productive representation and member recruitment to the Society from organizations and scion groups within the Sherlockian and Watsonian communities. Dr Katz’s brief will be to continue to represent the Society as our official Ambassador and to encourage membership and inter-organizational relations among the numerous clubs and organizations in his sphere.

As you may know, Bob Katz has been unstinting of his time, energy, guidance, wisdom and encouragement in all of our activities and our relations with other clubs, societies and scions during his time as a Founding Member. He has furthered our scholarship, not only through his papers for The Watsonian, but through his innovations and support of the Weekly Quizzes and the Weekly Forums. He, additionally, assists with proofreading and editorial suggestions for the journal. And, he is a tireless recruiter and mentor of new members.

Dr Katz is not only among the foremost Baker Street Irregulars, but he is also an accomplished Sherlockian scholar and leader of a number of respected Sherlockian organizations.

We look forward to his continued contributions to The John H Watson Society and to his influence in forwarding our Society’s goals and aims in the years to come.

Please join in welcoming Robert Katz, MD, BSI, JHWS “Willow” as a Director and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the John H Watson Society.

With best regards on behalf of the Directors and Members,

The John H Watson Society

Don Libey

Digital Edition of the Society’s Journal Now Available

A number of you– including Don Pollock “Hound” and Bob Katz “Willow”–have previously suggested that the Society consider a digital edition of The Watsonian, as well as the print edition.  Buttons was undecided and did not wish to slight or endanger our superb print edition.

Now, through the logic and reasoned persuasion offered by Margie Deck “Gwen,” the following one-year test is being conducted:

The Society will make a digital edition of the entire 178 page April 2014 journal available to members and non-members, as an elective purchase. Both extra print copies and digital copies will be priced at $10.00 per copy (the same cost as the two-year subscription for members). Orders for extra print copies will be  sent postage-paid; orders for digital copies will be downloaded to your email address. It should be noted that print copies are limited and may not be available. We print only 200 to 250 copies each issue, and they go fast!  If we are out of print on an issue, at least you can now have the Pdf digital edition.

This is not a change to your subscription as a member of the Society. You will continue to receive the print edition twice a year. This is only for those of you who wish extra copies or for non-members who would like to have the journal or have a digital copy for their libraries.

As the cost at $10.00 for either print or digital is the same as the Member cost, we believe we will not lose members and, in fact, when digital buyers see the advantage of paying $40 for two-years and four journals, they may as well join the Society and become active participants in the fastest growing Watsonian organization in the world! Plus, we believe the Society may benefit by selling a fair number of digital editions to non-members and, thereby, lowering our print production costs and ensuring the financial stability of our wonderful print journal for the years to come.

The print and digital editions of The Watsonian are available for purchase on the Society Publications page.  Choose the Buy Now button and scroll down to select the version desired. You will be taken to PayPal where you may choose cash payment or credit card, as you wish.  If you purchase the digital edition, the Society will be notified of your payment and will email you the digital copy of the journal within two days (most  are sent the same day and, in fact, often within an hour or two).

So, thank you Margie Deck “Gwen” for your very helpful analysis and for persuading the Society to open up access to our fine journal to Sherlockians and Watsonians worldwide. And thank you to others who have made very helpful suggestions recently regarding the journal and the production costs associated with a print publication.  We appreciate all of your thoughts and take them very seriously. We are all about inclusiveness and access to our Society by as many enthusiasts as care to be involved. This is a wonderful step forward for our goal of honouring Doctor Watson for his many excellent qualities and values and for his immortal talent as a writer.  Insperata Floruit.

Irregular Stain:  BSI Manuscript Series


Irregular Stain

A Facsimile of the Original Manuscript of
“The Second Stain” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
with Annotations and Commentary on the Story

Edited & introduced by Andrew Solberg, BSI, JHWS “Herbie” and Robert Katz, MD, BSI, JHWS “Willow”

“The Adventure of the Second Stain” is one of the three Sherlockian adventures dealing with international espionage, and since its publication over a century ago, has engendered considerable speculation concerning the actual parties and nations involved. Irregular Stain, the ninth in the Baker Street Irregulars Manuscript Series, presents the story in a larger format than earlier Series offerings.  It’s the first color reproduction of a Holmes manuscript, and also features color facsimiles of proofs and of an original drawing by Sidney Paget.

Published by the BSI in cooperation with Haverford College, the volume reproduces the original manuscript of the story as well as the galley proofs of the original publication. Also included are an annotated typescript of the manuscript, along with commentary, a history of the manuscript, analyses by noted Sherlockians, and articles on topics related to the tale and its historical and political background.

200 pages, 10″ x 7″ hardcover, December 2013
With the manuscript reproduction plus 1 color and 7 b&w illustrations

Purchase from the Baker Street Journal by using this link:


Robert Katz, MD, JHWS “Willow,” BSI “Dr Ainstree” to be the Society’s “Unofficial Ambassador” to the BSI Weekend

The Society is honoured to report that Robert Katz, MD, JHWS “Willow” has graciously volunteered to represent the Society as our “Unoffical Ambassador” (in true Holmesian and Watsonian “irregular unofficialness”) during the Baker Street Irregulars Annual Weekend in New York City. He will endeavor to inform BSI members and others of the worthy pursuits of The John H Watson Society and to encourage interest in our activities and collegiality.

Dr Katz is a renowned Sherlockian with a special interest in reaching out to young people with enthusiasm for the Canon. He has distributed copies of The Watsonian to young readers and encourages them to submit articles to our journal.

“Willow” has a highly distinguished Sherlockian and Watsonian history and will be a most able, qualified and enthusiastic Ambassador of our Society.

His biography follows:

“I have been a Sherlockian since my early teens, but John Watson has always seemed to be the focal point of my interests. I received my BA from Haverford College (alma mater of all three Morley brothers) and then received my MD from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. I trained and worked in a variety of places before settling in Morristown, NJ, in 1987, and recently retired after 35 years of practicing Pathology. In 1983, I received the Titular Investiture of “Dr. Ainstree” from The Baker Street Irregulars and in 1995 I received the Two-Shilling Award. I founded The Epilogues of Sherlock Holmes, in New Jersey, in 1990. I am also the current Headmastiff of The Sons of the Copper Beeches in Philadelphia. My ASH investiture is “Dr. Jackson”. In addition, I have served as both Commissionaire and Gasogene of The Six Napoleons of Baltimore and am a member of The Five Orange Pips.  I am an active member of most of the scion societies in the New York area (including Mrs. Hudson’s Cliffdwellers and The Montague Street Lodgers).

I have had the pleasure and honor of speaking at many scion society meetings, the John Bennett Shaw workshop in Williamsburg, and at several of the Annual Dinners of The Baker Street Irregulars.

I have been published in The Baker Street Journal, The Baker Street Miscellanea, The Serpentine Muse, and various scion society publications. Most recently, I co-edited with Andrew Solberg (also a Charter Member of this group), the latest volume in the BSI Manuscript Series, entitled The Wrong Passage. Andy and I are currently working on another volume in this series.

Perhaps because of our mutual profession, perhaps because I admire his personality so much, Watson has always fascinated me. I am pleased and proud to be joining an organization devoted to his remarkable life and admirable works.”