The Best of Sherlock Holmes


Conan Doyle Manuscripts

Autograph signature of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle



Photograph of Sir Arthur Conan DoyleManuscripts are more than collectors' items.  They can reveal the process – creative and editorial – that went into creating a work.  They can also reveal something of the author's personality.  As such they are important resources when studying an author and his writings.


A manuscript is a one-of-a-kind item and is often difficult to locate.  The growing availability of web-based catalogs and online finding aids is helping, but many institutions have yet to convert their older catalog holdings into electronic entries.  Even when they have, it can be time-consuming to wade through all the entries from meta-databases.  Thus there is a need for specialized checklists such as the ones noted here for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.



Recent Changes


Checklists of Other Rare Material



Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Manuscripts


Sherlock Holmes Manuscripts: A Census Summary

This summary provides locations for the original Holmes story manuscripts.  See also related information below.


Checklist of Conan Doyle Manuscripts

This Checklist for works other than the 60 Holmes stories includes descriptions and locations for many of Conan Doyle's autograph manuscripts.


A Census of The Hound of the Baskervilles Manuscript Leaves

The original Hound manuscript now exists mostly as separate leaves.


A Census of The Conan Doyle Collection

This census lists the owners of lots from Christie's May 2004 sale of Conan Doyle material.

See also these related items:

A real-life story, beautifully produced: Conan Doyle's "Dangerous Work": Diary of an Arctic Adventure (2012)



Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes Manuscript News Archive


May 2016: Conan Doyle 1894 Lecture Tour Manuscript at Auction

Swann Galleries sold manuscripts from his 1894 American lecture tour & other material


September 2016: Hound of the Baskervilles Manuscript Page Reported Stolen

Help recover leaf H33 from Chapter 15 of The Hound


June 2016: Hound of the Baskervilles Manuscript Leaf Sale

Christie's New York offered leaf H5 (from Chapter 5 of The Hound)


April 2016: "The Greek Interpreter," "Thor Bridge," and a Hound leaf at Auction

Bonhams New York also offered Rodney Stone and "The Prisoner's Defence" manuscripts


March 2016: Five Brigadier Gerard Manuscripts Offered For Sale

James S. Jaffe Rare Books offers the first Gerard story and four other early Gerard manuscripts


June 2015: Toronto Announces Acquisition of "The Parish Magazine" Manuscript

Library's Arthur Conan Doyle collection now holds one of Conan Doyle's last stories


March 2015: Three Conan Doyle Manuscripts at Auction

Swann Galleries sold "Through the Veil," "The Nightmare Room," and "The Parish Magazine"


October 2014: London Exhibition of Holmes Manuscripts, Original Drawings and More

The Museum of London opens largest exhibition of rare Sherlockiana since 1951


October 2014: "How Watson Learned the Trick" Miniature Holmes Manuscript

Reproduction of a Holmes parody written by Conan Doyle for Queen Mary


June 2014: "Black Peter" Manuscript and "Silver Blaze" Paget Drawing Sale

Christie's New York sold a Holmes manuscript and an iconic Paget drawing


October 2013: Toronto Library gets "The Marriage of the Brigadier" Manuscript

The last Brigadier Gerard story written by Conan Doyle is added to Toronto's collection


January 2013: "The Retired Colourman" Manuscript on Display

The British Library holds a free exhibition in Murder in the Library: An A-Z of Crime Fiction


December 2012: Hound of the Baskervilles Manuscript Leaf Sale

Christie's New York sold leaf H36 (from Chapter 12 of The Hound)


September 2012: "Mr. Sherlock Holmes to his Friends" (Preface to The Case Book) Manuscript Sale

Freeman's of Philadelphia sold the manuscript of Conan Doyle's farewell to Sherlock Holmes


June 2012: Hound Manuscript Leaves in San Francisco Exhibit

The Book Club of California exhibit includes two leaves, an original Paget, and much more


April 2012: "The Missing Three-Quarter" Manuscript Travels to Japan

The British Library sends its first Holmes manuscript as part of a showcase of British culture


December 2011 Hound of the Baskervilles Manuscript Leaf Sale

Goldberg Coins & Collectibles offers leaf H31 (chapter-head for Ch. 13)


September 2011: Publication from the Manuscript of The Narrative of John Smith

The British Library publishes Conan Doyle's lost first novel from manuscript it now holds


May 2011 "The Story of Spedegue's Dropper" Manuscript Sale

Bloomsbury Auctions in London sold this Conan Doyle cricket story


October 2010 "Crown Diamond" and "Personalia" Manuscripts Donated

Anna Conan Doyle's estate delivered three manuscripts to the Toronto Public Library


April 2009 "Creeping Man" Manuscript Donation

Dame Jean Conan Doyle's estate delivered the manuscript to Portsmouth.


June 2008 "His Last Bow" Manuscript Sale

Sotheby's New York auction for the manuscript of Sherlock Holmes final adventure


June 2007 "Three Gables" Manuscript Sale

The sale at Sotheby's New York also included a copy of Beeton's Christmas Annual 1887.


June 2006 "Illustrious Client" Manuscript Donation

Dame Jean Conan Doyle's estate delivered the manuscript to the National Library Scotland.


March 2006 Conan Doyle Manuscript Sale

Dame Jean Conan Doyle's estate offered three manuscripts for sale


November 2004 "Solitary Cyclist" and "Hound" Manuscript Sale

The sale at Sotheby's New York also included a famous Sidney Paget drawing of Holmes and Moriarty.


June 2004 "Sussex Vampire" Manuscript Sale

The first Holmes manuscript sent to auction in five years was sold at Christie's New York.


May 2004 Conan Doyle Collection Sale

Some of Conan Doyle's heirs sold an extensive collection of his letters, manuscripts, and personal effects.


May 2004 "Retired Colourman" Manuscript Donation

Dame Jean Conan Doyle's estate delivered this Sherlock Holmes manuscript to the British Library


November 2003 Conan Doyle Manuscript Sale

Six original Conan Doyle manuscripts were offered for sale by the estate of Dame Jean Conan Doyle, the last surviving child of Sir Arthur.



Original Sherlock Holmes Story Manuscripts


Census Summary of the Sherlock Holmes Manuscripts:


Census for The Hound of the Baskervilles manuscript leaves


See the News and recent sale items listed above.


See also Angels of Darkness on the Checklist of Conan Doyle Manuscripts and the page on  The Crown Diamond for information on Holmes-related manuscripts.



Facsimiles of the Sherlock Holmes Story Manuscripts


Many of the original Holmes story manuscripts are held in library special collections or by private collectors.  Facsimiles of these manuscripts (including illustrations of individual pages) are somewhat more accessible.  An up-to-date checklist of these facsimiles should help you to locate them.


The Checklist currently has more than 130 source entries for material from 28 Sherlock Holmes stories.   Subsets of the Checklist appear on additional Web pages and are organized to support other uses of the data.  Supplementary research information is also provided.  You can read more about the Checklist in the Summer 2003 Baker Street Journal article "Perfect Reproductions: Some Notes on Canonical Manuscripts" by Randall Stock.


Checklist of Manuscript Facsimiles of the Sherlock Holmes Stories

This checklist includes a detailed description of the reproduced text as well as citations for the sources of the reproductions.  It is sorted by story title to help you locate all the available manuscript reproductions for a specific Canonical tale.


Photos of Holmes Manuscripts on the Web

A few manuscript pictures are available on the Internet.  Use this list to quickly find and view them online.


List of Citations

It's often useful to be able to locate all the facsimiles in a specific publication.  This list is sorted by the title of the book or periodical containing reproductions.  It only includes source citations, but these can be cross-referenced to the Checklist.


Bookseller and Auction Catalogues Supplement

Sometimes it helps to know which sources have already been checked even if they do not contain reproductions.  This page contains extra information on catalogues, including those from the House of El Dieff, Christie's and Sotheby's.


Unconfirmed Facsimile Items

If you have an extensive collection of Sherlockiana, especially bookseller or auction catalogues, please look at this list to see if you could help to augment the current checklist information.


Revision History

A list of changes to the Checklist.



Other Websites with Facsimile Information


Facsimile Editions

The Baker Street Irregulars literary society is publishing their Manuscript Series of facsimile editions of manuscripts and other documents relating to Sherlock Holmes and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  These include the first-ever color reproduction of a Holmes manuscript in Irregular Stain ("The Second Stain").  Other titles in the series include Out of the Abyss ("The Empty House"), The Wrong Passage ("The Golden Pince-Nez"),  Bohemian Souls ("A Scandal in Bohemia"),  So Painful a Scandal ("The Three Students"),  Mandate for Murder ("The Red Circle"), The Napoleon Bust Business Again ("The Six Napoleons"), The Hound of the Baskervilles (Chapter XI), and the Holmes-related play Angels of Darkness.  Most are still available from the Baker Street Journal website.


The complete facsimile of "Shoscombe Old Place" was published by the Bibliothèque cantonale et universitaire de Lausanne in a limited edition of 200 copies.  It is sold out.  A University newsletter (PDF in French) provides some information about it.


The complete facsimile of "The Lion's Mane" is still available from Calabash Press.


The complete facsimile of "The Dying Detective" was published in 1991 and is out of print.


The complete facsimile of "The Priory School" was published in 1985 (try rare book dealers including James Pepper Rare Books).


Murderland and The Valley of Fear

Murderland is an excursion book published for the 2004 Valley of Fear tour.  It includes facsimiles of five pages of Conan Doyle's manuscript notes for the story and a fine essay about the manuscript's history by Peter Blau.  The book is available at the BSJ website Murderland sale page.


Baker Street Journal

The Baker Street Journal contains many manuscript page reproductions.  A DVD with all issues from inception through 2011 is available from the Baker Street Journal website eBSJ version 2 page.  See also Tips on using the eBSJ, and use this List of Citations to quickly identify all the reproductions in the Baker Street Journal.


Sherlock Holmes Journal

The Sherlock Holmes Journal also contains many manuscript page reproductions.  The e-SHJ CD-ROM includes all issues from inception through Summer 2002 and is available at the Sherlock Holmes Society of London website and through the CD producer George Vanderburgh.  See this site's Tips on using the e-SHJ CD and use this List of Citations to quickly identify all the reproductions in the Sherlock Holmes Journal.



Other Conan Doyle Facsimiles


Conan Doyle's Arctic Diary from 1880

Conan Doyle's "Dangerous Work": Diary of an Arctic Adventure, including a full-color manuscript facsimile and more, was published in 2012.


The Horror of the Heights

Produced for a 2004 conference at the University of Minnesota, this fine facsimile includes valuable annotations, a transcription, and more.  See my review of the Horror of the Heights facsimile and get it from Calabash Press.


A Regimental Scandal

The Arthur Conan Doyle Society published a complete facsimile of this short story in 1995.  It's edited by Christopher and Barbara Roden, with a foreword by Dame Jean Conan Doyle and an introduction by Richard Lancelyn Green.  Out of print.



Checklists of Other Rare Material


The first Sherlock Holmes publication: Beeton's Christmas Annual 1887 with A Study in Scarlet


Famous Sherlockian art: Sidney Paget Original Sherlock Holmes Drawings, plus rare memorabilia and other artwork


The best and most valuable Sherlock Holmes pastiche: The Unique Hamlet by Vincent Starrett



Other Topics


This site contains other Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes information.  Don't miss the lists of each year's best Sherlock Holmes books & DVDs, the most famous Sherlock Holmes quotes, and more Top 10 Lists.






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