The Best of Sherlock Holmes


Sir Arthur Conan Doyle at 150: Sesquicentennial News


Conan Doyle was born on 22 May 1859 in Edinburgh, Scotland.  Sherlockians, scholars and reporters marked the 150th anniversary of Doyle's birth with special events, new books, and reports in the media.


Photo of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in 1915


Conan Doyle wrote the first Sherlock Holmes story in 1886 and saw it published a year later in Beeton's Christmas Annual 1887, which is now the most expensive magazine in the world.  Holmes is the world's most famous detective and is arguably one of the most famous and enduring literary characters of all time.  He appears in 56 short stories and 4 novels by Conan Doyle that were published over a period of 40 years.


Although best-known for Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur was also a pioneer in science-fiction, and his book The Lost World inspired later works like King Kong and Jurassic Park.  He wrote tales of the supernatural, including predecessors to The Mummy, as well as historical works like The White Company and his Brigadier Gerard short stories.


Harvard Conan Doyle Symposium


Harvard's Houghton Library hosted a symposium and exhibition to honor Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in 2009.  The symposium, entitled "Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: A Sesquicentennial Assessment," took place on May 7 – 9 and included 14 speakers on a wide range of topics. 


Symposium Proceedings

Papers at an Exhibition, Arthur Conan Doyle: A Sesquicentennial Assessment edited by Peter X. Accardo, John Bergquist, and Dan Posnansky

This book includes the 14 papers presented at the symposium.


The Baker Street Blog, May 22, 2009

"A Man of Excellent Birth and Education" [SILV] by Scott Monty

Summarizes each of the presentations at the symposium and provides links to many excellent resources


Harvard College Library News, May 11, 2009

Symposium Studies Doyle's Contributions to Literature

Reports on the symposium, quotes several speakers, and includes two photos


The Harvard Gazette, May 14, 2009

Not so elementary, my dear Watson by Peter Reuell

Similar to the HCL article, with some other information and a photo of an exhibit item


Symposium Program and Details

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: A Sesquicentennial Assessment

Advance description which includes a full list of speakers and topics



Conan Doyle Exhibit at Harvard


Harvard's Conan Doyle exhibition opened at the Houghton Library on May 5 and continued through August 8, 2009.  It included rare books, manuscripts and ephemera from Houghton, the  H.W. Bell / Speckled Band of Boston Collection, the Baker Street Irregulars archive, and private collectors.


The main exhibit area is on the entrance level of Houghton Library and is open during library hours.  Another part of the exhibit, which includes the original manuscript of the Sherlock Holmes story "The Adventure of the Three Students," is in a room on the second floor.  That room might not always be open, so consider calling ahead to confirm.  There is no charge to view the exhibit.


Harvard College Library News, April 24, 2009

Doyle's Literary Legacy Explored,

Brief description of Harvard Conan Doyle Exhibition with photo of the Harvard Beeton's


Exhibition Details

"Ever Westward": Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in American Culture


Exhibition Catalog

A printed catalog of the exhibition by Peter X. Accardo was distributed at the symposium, and a revised hardcover version was part of a Limited Edition Boxed Set.


Manuscript Facsimile

See my page on the facsimile of "The Three Students" manuscript, edited and introduced by John Bergquist for more details on this new book.



RCSE 150th Anniversary Celebration


The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh held a two-day event on May 22 – 23 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Conan Doyle's birth.  Doyle attended medical school in Edinburgh, and he took his anatomy exams at the RCSE.  Their museum holds some original Conan Doyle material.  Speakers included Owen Dudley Edwards, Andrew Lycett, and Professor Alistair Fowler.


Events at Surgeons' Hall Museums

150th Anniversary Celebration for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Advance description of the event


Edinburgh Blog, May 19, 2009

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 150 years celebration

Similar advance details plus a photo of a Holmes statue



In the News - Conan Doyle at 150


While hundreds of brief announcements reported the 150th anniversary of Conan Doyle's birth, the following articles provided the most useful information.


BBC News, May 23, 2009

Sherlock Holmes' enduring popularity by Vincent Dowd

A short examination of why Holmes remains popular (700 words)

Listen to the audio version for more details.


The Baker Street Blog, May 22, 2009

"A Man of Excellent Birth and Education" [SILV] by Scott Monty

Monty highlights many sesquicentennial reports and offers details the Harvard Symposium.


The Times, May 22, 2009

Sherlaw Kombs and the Odd Impersonators by Andrew Lycett

About literary fan-dom, Holmes pastiches and parodies (800 words)


The Telegraph, May 22, 2009

We still believe in Sherlock Holmes, even in the age of DNA by Melanie McDonagh

On Doyle, Holmes, and modern detection (600 words)


The Christian Science Monitor, May 19, 2009

The curious incident of Conan Doyle's 150th by Lyn Shepard

About Sherlock Holmes and Meiringen, Switzerland (800 words)


The Times, May 19, 2009

Made from Conan Doyle tree: a violin fit for Sherlock Holmes by  Lindsay McIntosh

A violin is made from a tree at Doyle's childhood home (600 words)


The Scotsman, May 18, 2009

Elementary, my dear Edinburgh by Jim Gilchrist

Feature article focusing on Doyle's early days, especially as they relate to Edinburgh, quoting Owen Dudley Edwards and Andrew Lycett (1,900 words)



Radio Reports Online


BBC Radio, October 22, 2008

Conan Doyle speaks about creating Sherlock Holmes

Listen to an actual recording of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle speaking about Sherlock Holmes.

One-minute excerpt from the BBC

A two-minute excerpt is streamed free online from The British Library Sound Archive

(search for CKEY6933120 at their Sound Archive Catalogue website)



BBC Radio, May 22, 2009

Sherlock Holmes' enduring popularity (Why Sherlock Holmes has remained so popular)

By Vincent Dowd, includes interviews with Andrew Lycett and Dan Stashower

Streaming Audio (8 minutes)


Or see the shorter, written summary



BBC World Service, May 22, 2009

The Strand, BBC's global arts and entertainment program with Harriett Gilbert

The curious case of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's success and Sherlock Holmes' enduring popularity

Includes comments about Doyle and Holmes by John Sutherland, Andrew Lycett, Catherine Cook, Guy Marriott, Ruth Armstrong, Roger Llewellyn and others

Streaming Audio (26 minutes, limited-time availability)

Holmes material in first minute, and from minute 10 to 20 in the program



BBC Radio Scotland, May 22, 2009

Vote for Conan Doyle! by Bert Coules

A dramatized version of Conan Doyle's run for parliament in Central Edinburgh in 1900.

Doyle is played by John Sessions

Streaming Audio (30 minutes, limited-time availability)



Readers' Review, The Diane Rehm Show, aired at 11am Eastern on 20 May 2009.

Discussing The Hound of the Baskervilles

It was produced at WAMU 88.5FM and distributed by NPR, NPR Worldwide, and SIRIUS satellite radio.

This interview with Peter Blau, Dan Stashower, and Carla Coupe includes questions from callers to the show.


Listen to the 51-minutes show in Windows Media streaming audio or in Real Audio for RealPlayer format


For a CD, transcript, and other program details see



BBC Radio Scotland, May 18, 2009

In the Footsteps...of Conan Doyle

Scottish crime writer Val McDermid explores Conan Doyle's Edinburgh

Streaming Audio (30 minutes, limited-time availability)



Learn More About Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes


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The Most Famous Sherlock Holmes Quotations


Conan Doyle Manuscript News


Sherlock Holmes and the World's Most Expensive Magazine


The Best Holmes Books & DVDs of the Year





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