Thursday, July 22, 2010

Through The Eyes of an Enthusiast, Part 2

These series of posts relate to one of our current Sherlock Holmes exhibits, "Through The Eyes of an Enthusiast -- The Allen Mackler Collection," on display through August 29 in the T. R. Anderson Gallery in Wilson Library at the University of Minnesota. The text comes from the accompanying exhibit booklet. Photographs are from the booklet and also of the exhibit.


The first hint of Allen that I find in the literature is from a 1975 article that appeared in Baker Street Miscellanea (BSM), "Carina: An Identification." In this piece we are pointed to another interest of Allen's -- classical music. As his obituary noted, "his first interest was in classical music. Recognizing that his talent at the piano wouldn't be adequate to achieve the goal he envisioned, he became the host of programs at Public Broadcasting Station WETA in Washington, DC focusing on the broadcast of rare recordings of classical music." Allen's article on Carina begins:

"It will be recalled in the account Watson recorded under the title of The Adventure of the Retired Colourman -- dated summer, 1898 -- that Sherlock Holmes invites the good doctor to hear Carina sing at Albert Hall. This reference has always troubled me because no mention of a singer with that name is made in Grove's Dictionary or any other musical reference work which I have consulted."

Allen goes on to solve the mystery and ends his piece with a poetic salute to musicians in the Sherlockian Canon.

The next time we see Allen, again on the pages of the BSM, is in a review of Rosenblatt and Sonnenschmidt's book Dining with Sherlock Holmes: A Baker Street Cookbook. Here is a different pointer to another of Allen's abiding interests: good food. He wrote:

"...when Holmes states that Mrs. Hudson's idea of breakfast is as good as a Scotchwoman's, he implies that not only will it be hearty, but that it will be sensible and maybe even utilitarian as well. All of this and much more about the gastronomic Holmes and about cooking and dining in Victorian Britain is explicated in the delightful, authoritative, and above all hunger-provoking commentary which appears before each group of recipes."

Case 1: The Great Illustrators
1. F. D. Steele illustration for The Hound of the Baskervilles, Limited Editions Club
2. F. D. Steele illustration for 1939 film, The Hound of the Baskervilles
3. S. Paget illustration for The Strand Magazine, No. 8, "all afternoon...stalls"
4. Charles Schulz cartoon strip, 12/30/93

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