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The Origin of Sherlock Holmes

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Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Memories and Adventures. London: Hodder and Stoughton, [1924]

In this autobiographical work, Conan Doyle gives details of his life which clearly provided a great deal of the Victorian English and Colonial period color present in the Holmes stories. After receiving his M.D. at Edinburgh, he traveled on ship as a doctor in the Arctic and West Africa, and "saw something of three wars, the Soudanese, the South African and the German." As he notes in the preface, "My life has been dotted with adventures of all kinds."

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Beeton's Christmas Annual. London: Ward, Lock & Co., [1887]

Sherlock Holmes first appeared in print in Beeton's Christmas Annual for 1887. A Study in Scarlet, the first of the four Sherlock Holmes novels, begins with Dr. Watson's narration of his misfortunes in the Afghan war, and his return to London for convalescence. Holmes first words to Watson are "How are you? You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive." D. H. Friston contributed illustrations

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A Study in Scarlet. London; New York: Ward, Lock, & Co., 1888.

The first book edition of A Study in Scarlet, illustrated by the author's father.

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A Study in Scarlet. London; New York; Melbourne: Ward, Lock, Bowden & Co., 1892.

A Study in Scarlet grew steadily in popularity, strongly assisted by the short stories which began to appear in The Strand Magazine in 1891. By 1892 seven editions or printings had been issued. Shown is a new edition, with forty illustrations by Geo. Hutchinson.


Bloomington by Gaslight:
Sherlock Holmes in the Lilly Library