Collection ID: LMC 2936
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Collection context


Baker Street Irregulars (Organization : U.S.)
The Baker Street Irregulars mss., 1923-2007, consists of correspondence, business files, and publications of the Baker Street Irregulars, a Sherlock Holmes literary society founded in 1934.
72 Boxes
English , Dutch; Flemish , Danish .
Preferred citation:

[Item], Baker Street Irregulars mss., Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.


Biographical / Historical:

In January of 1934, Christopher Morley hosted a party to celebrate the birthday of fictional detective Sherlock Holmes and unintentionally started what would become the Baker Street Irregulars (BSI) - one of the most preeminent Sherlockian societies in the world. Interest in the society grew rapidly after its formation was announced in Morley's Saturday Review of Literature columns "The Bowling Green" and "Trade Winds." In an effort to include only the most knowledgeable Sherlockians in the organization, Morley published a Sherlock Holmes crossword puzzle created by his brother Frank and announced that anyone who solved the entire puzzle would obtain official BSI membership.

The first official meeting took place in June 1934, and it was soon decided that, whenever possible, annual dinner meetings would be held in January to honor Sherlock Holmes' birthday. Annual meetings included toasts, speeches, and papers on Sherlockian topics as well as the official investiture of distinguished members. As the BSI grew in size through the 1930s, members formed scion societies in numerous cities across the United States. Scions and other Sherlockian societies hold their own meetings and events and many publish newsletters.

In 1946, the BSI began publishing the Baker Street Journal (BSJ), the society's official publication. Additional society-sponsored publications include the BSI archival series, which details the history of the society, the Baker Street Irregulars manuscript series, which analyzes original Arthur Conan Doyle manuscripts, and a third series which offers an international perspective on Sherlockian topics.

Scope and Content:

The Baker Street Irregulars' archive contains the official records of the BSI and the papers of BSI members from its founding in the 1930s through the present. Strengths of the collection include correspondence, business files, and event files. Particular items of note include correspondence to and from Edgar Wadsworth Smith, Christopher Morley, and Vincent Starrett as well as signed menus from annual BSI dinners. The study of fictional characters Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson and their creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is well documented in the publications, commentary and research, and catalog and bibliography series.

For digitized content, see Digital Collections.

Acquisition information:
Gift: 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2018, 2020, 2022

This collection is arranged following original order.

Physical location:
ALF (Auxiliary Library Facility)

Online content



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[Item], Baker Street Irregulars mss., Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.

Indiana University Bloomington
1200 East Seventh Street
Bloomington, Indiana 47405-5500, USA
Indiana University Bloomington
(812) 855-2452