Well, it's been quite a year (again!) - both in the world of Sherlock Holmes and the planet in general. Turmoil and corruption seem to be what fills the headlines daily on our floating rock, and I'm sure the people of Victorian London felt the same way. Still, it's possible to mine beautiful nuggets out of the piles of waste, and it's something we will continue to do here at Historical Sherlock. How? By doing what we've always done - staying true to the subject.
Wednesday, December 29, 2021
I do a lot of research, and like a miner I have to sort through a lot of refuse just to find the good bits. Oft times you'll find me reading a random newspaper on British Newspaper Archive from Holmes's time just to read it. I'm always waiting for something to jump out at me, but usually I'm simply reading something from that time that interests me so much. It's true that I will look for specific things, but nearly every time I will read the rest of whatever publication I have before me. You never know what you might find. Such was the case earlier this month (December) when I came across the name Sherlock Holmes in a paper from Wales.
I wasn't expecting it, and it was something I talked about over on my corresponding Facebook Page. I have also had success on Google Books, Newpapers.com, Internet Archive, and any one of dozens of other sites that have had the foresight to keep all of the things people would generally toss out. I find it amazing what can be found on some of these sites, and I know that the world usually has better things to do than read the handwritten notes of some low-end British aristocrat no one remembers. but for me everything is another glimpse into history, no matter how insignificant others may find it.
On that subject, I recently remodeled my entire office. When we first bought this house over a decade ago I was eager to get my books up on the walls as soon as possible. I went to the nearest big box store and bought the cheapest bookcases they had. And that's what I've had since then. But I decided to change that and went on a (local) search for solid wood versions. The twist was that I didn't want them to match - I wanted random cases that had no business sharing a space. In time I had enough to cover every wall and hold my collection. I am now in love with my office. I have my special interest sections, places to line up all my knick-knacks, and a decent way to showcase my vintage typewriters (of which I have a 1905 model being restored as we "speak").
The reason I told you all of that was to expand upon keeping the things folk throw out. I am not one who collects for value. I understand doing so, but I have no desire to have the same book in several versions because the dust jacket changed or whatever. I collect books I want to read and enjoy, and I'm willing to bet the words inside my $1 bargain bin copy are exactly the same as those in a pristine one. (I'm not trying to insult that part of collecting. I've been there. I get it. I just don't do it anymore.)
I find books at sales or on websites, and often they have old price stickers or writing inside or a bumped corner or something like that. Those kinds of things just tell me part of the book's history. So, I am saving old printed words in any way I can just to make sure they don't end up in a landfill. And they're going in my library - a library that feels like an old bookstore with the mismatched bookshelves and tattered tome spines. (See how it all ties together?)
So why am I telling you all of these things you probably already know? To assure or reassure you that my passion for this has not changed or waivered in any way. Just today I spent the morning researching an old photograph from 1891 London and focusing in on one small detail. That seemingly unimportant thing allowed me to go to places I'd never been and find even more than I had hoped for. Such is research, and such is love. What I actually release for your enjoyment is but a small percentage of what I see, but that takes us back to the mining for nuggets thing. I love doing this for you and for me and for the advancement of the hobby of Sherlockiana.
But, what from here? Well, soon the world is going to be introduced to a hither-to unknown (possible) Sherlockian who did something that no one knew about until I found them in the dusty corners of time. I can't say much, but it will shake the very foundations of our accepted beliefs of who did what first and when - but in a good way. (No one will be hurt by this. It's a happy thing.) I am also considering trying a few new things on here, but without changing up what the basis is. I hate to think that content might get stale, and that fear keeps my mind working trying to come up with new ways to Keep Green The Master.
I will keep looking for chronologies. I am up to 35, and I know of another being written. I also know there are more mini-timelines out there, so the hunt will go on. I will continue to read Victorian anythings and everythings hoping for that one little tidbit in a thousand that will advance our cause. Basically, I will keep working.
Oh, and the next installment here will be a landmark. I won't say any more, but it's special to me, and I'm trying to figure out what to do to capture it properly. Until then I will carry on studying the world and times of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John H. Watson as best as I can. I hope you will stick with me and continue to enjoy my product. I'll see you next time, and as always...thanks for reading.