Monday, March 21, 2011

The Adventure of the Socially Incorrect Surveillance

Another recording has been uploaded from the Sherlock Holmes Collections to the U Media Archive. This one is a humorous Sherlockian production with script written by Art Schroeder and produced by Randy Getz. The players in the production included Bill Cochran (Dr. Watson); Randy Getz (Narrator); Ed Moorman (Col. Moran); Mary Schroeder (Sherlock Holmes); Gordon Speck (Mrs. Hudson); Debbie Tinsley (Inspector Lestrade); Michelle Bettis, Carrie Schroeder, Mary Schroeder (Hoe Tones); and Art Schroeder (Hoe's Spokesman).

According to the tape label "This episode was recorded from a live broadcast at 'The Game Is Afloat' convention, 9 October 1993, St. Charles, Missouri and was a production of "the Victorian Broadcasting System." The production runs to just under twenty minutes.

Our thanks to Bill Cochran for his assistance and Mary Schroeder for permission to post this work.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

1994 Sixtieth Anniversary Baker Street Irregulars Cocktail Party

A happy St. Patrick's Day to you all! I started the day with a bowl of green oatmeal (compliments of my wife, who has a good sense of humor). We'll see what the rest of the day brings.

Among the Sherlockian world I'm not sure how the day is celebrated, but we might think of lifting a glass to the Doyle and Foley clans who produced Sir Arthur. Although Conan Doyle was born in Edinburgh his father, Charles Altamont Doyle, was born in England of Irish descent, and his mother, born Mary Foley, was Irish. So there is cause for celebration.

There was also cause for celebration on January 8, 1994 when the Baker Street Irregulars gathered as part of their 60th anniversary weekend. Those festivities were captured in another recording from the Sherlock Holmes Collections that has been added to the U Media Archive. The occasion was the Baker Street Irregular's Saturday-afternoon cocktail party at 24 Fifth Avenue in New York. The agenda included Jon Lellenberg and Clint Gould's "March of Time" report on the history of the BSI, a performance by Paul Singleton and Philip Brogdon of an excerpt from Jeremy Paul's play "The Secret of Sherlock Holmes", poetic reports by Al Rosenblatt and Marilyn McKay on the events of the previous evening, the award of an Irregular Shilling and Investiture to Catherine Cooke ("The Book of Life"), the usual fast-and-furious auction for the Dr. John H. Watson Fund, and a warm tribute to Tom Stix delivered by Bob Thomalen.

The recording is presented in two parts on U Media. The first part runs to about 45 minutes; the second part runs to about 40 minutes. Following the second part on the same tape is another recording from an unidentified location: a short talk by Robert Brodie on Dr. John H. Watson's Finances. (This talk may be found at the time-point 32:23 in the clip.)

However you celebrate St. Patrick, enjoy the day and stay safe. And enjoy these little glimpses into the life and times of the Baker Street Irregulars.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

This Is Your Life, Moriarty

A humorous birthday greeting tape apparently done by or for "The Brothers Three Moriarty" is the latest addition from the Sherlock Holmes Collections to the U Media Archive. The recording is a composite of a number of greetings from the following: Moriarty's Estate Agent -- Thom Utecht; Fourth Grade Teacher -- Gordon Speck; Swiss Banker -- Graham Sudbury; Geology Professor -- Peter Blau; Family Cook -- Jennie Paton; Moriarty's Mom -- Allen Mackler; and Math Master -- Peter Crupe. A note with the tape indicates the following individuals provided the voices: Thom Utecht, C. Bryan Gassner, Peter Blau, Martin Gassner, and Joyce Simpson. The recording dates from 1993 and runs just over sixteen minutes.

Jim Hawkins, in a tribute to John Bennett Shaw, noted this about the Moriarty scion society and Shaw's connection with it: "His home-made stationery showed Holmes, with deerstalker and pipe and magnifying-glass in hand, poring over a map of New Mexico with the town of Moriarty in view. Moriarty, the town, was important to Shaw's local scion, The Brothers Three of Moriarty. Their annual trek to that pitiable village was called the Happy-Birthday-You-Bastard-Moriarity."

The New York Times, in an article on the centenary appearance of Holmes, reported the following about Shaw and the Brothers Three: "From Sante Fe, N.M., came John Bennett Shaw, secretary of the Irregulars, who said he has the country's biggest collector of Sherlockiana (12,000 books). His club in New Mexico is called the Brothers Three Moriarity.

'The club is named after the three Moriarty brothers in the Holmes stories,' Mr. Shaw said, pointing to his pin. 'Our club insignia is three J's - all three were named James - with the middle one being a crooked J because Professor Moriarty was the crooked brother.'"

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Cuneiform Inscriptions on U Media

The University of Minnesota owns nineteen artifacts inscribed in cuneiform, the script of ancient Mesopotamia. This collection comprises sixteen clay tablets, two clay cones, and one inscribed and sealed clay tag. These documents include sixteen administrative records from various cities of Sumer in the Ur III period (late 3rd millennium BCE), and three short royal inscriptions from the cities of Isin and Uruk in the early Old Babylonian period (early 2nd millennium BCE). Most of the texts were published in 1961 by Tom B. Jones, then professor of ancient history at the University of Minnesota, and John W. Snyder (Sumerian Economic Texts from the Third Ur Dynasty; a catalogue and discussion of documents from various collections. University of Minnesota Press.) They are now made available on the U Media Archive in new editions, including transliterations, translations, and photographs.

This collection has been available on our unit web site for some time but we thought it was time to migrate the text and images to the U Media Archive. The original site was designed by Matthew James Buell, Mark Gill and professor Eva von Dassow as part of The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) at the University of Minnesota. Professor von Dassow was responsible for the new text editions, Buell designed and programmed the web site, and Gill researched the history of this collection and the career of Edgar J. Banks. Ahn Na Brodie from the Libraries' digital services photographed the inscriptions. Marcel Sigrist also assisted on the text editions.

Gill made the following observations about Banks. "Edgar James Banks was the dealer who sold the University many, if not most, of its cuneiform tablets. He was very active in the first few decades of the twentieth century, and is responsible for most of the small cuneiform collections at universities, seminaries, and museums around the country. Banks led an interesting life, a summary of which can be found in the excellent article, "The Forgotten Indiana Jones," by Dr. Ewa Wasilewska. Dr. Wasilewska is writing a biography of Edgar Banks, and we are very grateful to her for her advice and help in identifying Banks' handwriting. Banks himself wrote several books, and one of them, Bismya or The Lost City of Adab, has been made available online by the University of Chicago Library. As a final note, at least one of the two cones in the collection was purchased from Banks, but we have been unable to determine which one; also, it seems likely that Banks was the source of some of the uncredited tablets."

Mrs. Kate Koon Bovey donated at least one of the tablets, but we don't have enough information to credit her with the donation of any specific tablet.

The most recent addition to our collection is the donation of a three-sided sealed clay label from the Ur III period, UM 19, donated by Karen Moynihan in August 2001.

The digitization of this collection is part of a worldwide effort to provide cuneiform-inscribed texts on the internet. This effort is spearheaded by the Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative (CDLI), a joint project of the University of California at Los Angeles and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science.

"These Days in San Diego"

On December 9, 1996 the public radio station in San Diego, KPBS, featured Sherlock Holmes as a part of its daily program "These Days in San Diego." This is the newest addition of audio files from the Sherlock Holmes Collections to the U Media Archive. Our thanks to KPBS for permission to mount this recording.

The program, hosted by Dan Erwine, featured two guests. Willis G. Frick joined Erwine in the studio and Bruce Southworth joined the conversation by telephone from Minnesota. Many of us know Mr. Frick through his web site Sherlocktron's Holmepage. Bruce Southworth is a Baker Street Irregular and member of the Norwegian Explorers of Minnesota.

The tape of this broadcast was a gift to the Holmes Collections from Bruce Southworth. The file runs to about 47 minutes.

Friday, March 11, 2011

When Mr. Rogers Went to Washington

I just had a most amazing and wonderful post show up in my reader. I want to share it with you. It deserves to be shared again and again and again. Some of you may think it corny or trite. I beg to differ. This is a man speaking from the depth of his soul. And what he has to say is worth taking to heart.

The first clip is of Fred Rogers, aka Mr. Rogers, testifying at a Senate hearing in 1969 for support of public broadcasting. The second clip is his acceptance speech at the 1997 Daytime Emmy awards.

Click here to get to the link from the New York Times.

Oh that there were more Fred Rogers in the world!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

1994 Sixtieth Anniversary Baker Street Irregulars Dinner

Two tapes, broken into four parts for the U Media Archive because of their length, have been uploaded from the Sherlock Holmes Collections. They are recordings of the 1994 Sixtieth Anniversary dinner of the Baker Street Irregulars (BSI) held on January 7th. The head of the BSI at the time was Tom Stix.

The first part includes the toast by Bill Schweickert to The Woman, Theresa Thomalen, during the pre-dinner cocktail party; the Sherlock Holmes prayer delivered by Dr. Ben Wood; a greeting read by Richard Shull from "the sage of Sante Fe," John Bennett Shaw; a greeting from the Sherlock Holmes Society of London by Geoffrey Stavert; a letter from Her Majesty's Government via Ambassador Sir Robin Renwick read by Richard Shull; expressions of thanks from Mr. Stix to those who assisted with the celebration; a reading of Elmer Davis's "BSI Constitution and Buy Laws" by Richard Miller; and a toast to Dr. Watson's Second Wife by Robert Katz.

The second part includes the continuation of the toast to Dr. Watson's Second Wife by Robert Katz; the "stand upon the terrace" obituaries read by Michael McClure; the Musgrave Ritual read by Kathryn White and David Stuart Davies; a toast to Mrs. Hudson by Ruthann Stetak; a toast to "The Game's afoot" by Ed Van der Flaes; a toast to "the second most dangerous man in London" by Steve Doyle; a toast to the Sherlockian spouse by Michael Kean; and Don Pollock on the demise of the Baker Street Miscellanea.

The third part includes the continuation of Don Pollock's presentation on the demise of the Baker Street Miscellanea; Bruce Montgomery's melodic tribute to his grand-aunt Clara and to his father, James; George Fletcher's anecdotal history of The Baker Street Journal; and a joint presentation by Susan Rice and Mickey Fromkin of some of the better Irregular poetry.

The final part includes comments by Tom Stix, Steve Rothman's discussion of the very early meetings of the BSI, and reminiscences of the annual dinners of the 1950s by David Weiss (who had been attending the annual dinners for more than 40 years). Irregular Shillings and Investitures were given to Peter J. Crupe ("The Noble Bachelor"), Mickey Fromkin ("The Missing Three-Quarter"), Ruthann Stetak ("The Camberwell Poisoning Case"), Geoffrey Stavert ("The Shingle of Southsea"), Bill Vande Water ("An Enlarged Photograph"), Don Izban ("Market Street"), Tom Joyce ("A Yellow-Backed Novel"), Hirotaka Ueda ("Japanese Armor"), Thomas Utecht ("Arthur Charpentier"), Francine Swift ("The Wigmore Street Post Office"), and Bruce Montgomery ("The Red Circle"). Eleanor O'Connor was awarded the Queen Victoria Medal in recognition of her many years of assistance to the BSI at the annual dinners, and Don Redmond (who was nearly ready to publish a new index to the Baker Street Journal updated through 1993) received the BSI's Two-Shilling Award. Bill Schweickert's own poetic birthday tribute to the Master, "A Long Evening With Holmes," ended the festivities.

William Gillette as Sherlock Holmes

A brief but interesting recording of William Gillette is now on the U Media Archive from the Sherlock Holmes Collections. In this brief clip of about nine minutes Gillette is reenacting a scene from his play Sherlock Holmes. Based on his voice I would say that this was made late in his career.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Sherlock Holmes Cult

A recording of a number of Twin Cities Sherlockians commenting on the world of Sherlock Holmes has been added to the U Media Archive. The file begins with Ronald Hubbs providing some background to the world of Holmes. This is followed by Paul Verret's account of his attendance at a dinner of the Baker Street Irregulars in New York. Austin McLean, curator of Special Collections, acts as moderator. The recording concludes with E. W. McDiarmid describing (with the assistance of slides) treasures from the Holmes Collections.

It is not certain where this event took place but a label on the tape indicates a date of April 7, 1982. Perhaps it was a joint event between the Norwegian Explorers and the University Libraries. We'll have to dig into the archives of the Explorers to see if anything turns up.

The recording is just over 58 minutes in length.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Jack Key: Keeping the Holmes Fires Burning

On July 8, 1981 Jack Key, Librarian at the Mayo Clinic and Mayo Foundation made a presentation for the Mayo Foundation History of Medicine Society at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. We have just uploaded a copy of Mr. Key's talk from the Sherlock Holmes Collections to the U Media Archive.

The full title of Mr. Key's talk was "Keeping the Holmes Fires Burning and Dr. Philip S. Hench's Contributions." At the conclusion of his talk the Fox Movietone interview of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was shown and comments offered by E. W. McDiarmid and Bryce Crawford. Also in the audience was Andrew Malec, at the time the Doyle bibliographer for Special Collections and Rare Books at the University of Minnesota Libraries. Some of the audio quality is poor, especially the comments at the end which were not picked up well by the recording equipment. The recording is just over 51 minutes in length.

Other materials related to Mr. Key's interest in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes may be found in the Jack Key Collection, an archival component of the Sherlock Holmes Collections.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Steve Staruch and Bruce Southworth on WCAL

An interview with Sherlockian Bruce Southworth on Sherlock Holmes is one of the latest entries from the Sherlock Holmes Collections to the U Media Archive. The recording dates from January 6, 1992 (another interview on Holmes' birthday) and is interspersed with some musical pieces.

Bruce Southworth is an invested member of the Baker Street Irregulars (as Victor Hatherley) and has been a member of both the Norwegian Explorers and Friends of the Sherlock Holmes Collections. Steve Staruch, the host of the program, can now be heard on Classical Minnesota Public Radio. Previously he hosted a number of programs on WCAL, including a weeknight program of sacred and contemplative music. An accomplished musician, Staruch is a violist with the Lyra Baroque Orchestra and his own group, the WolfGang. He was a tenor in the Dale Warland Singers for seven seasons and also sang in the Oregon Bach Festival.

WCAL operated on the campus of St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota until its purchase by Minnesota Public Radio. Our sincere thanks to Gary S. De Krey, professor of History and Archivist at St. Olaf for permission to post this interesting interview.

Frederic Dorr Steele

All of the Frederic Dorr Steele images that were part of our internal grant/scanning program have now been uploaded to the U Media Archive. Along with many of the Sherlockian drawings are other Steele pieces not widely viewed before including Christmas and dinner cards, caricatures, self-portraits, and landscapes/seascapes from Monhegan Island.

Additional information on Steele may be found in the excellent exhibit catalogs from the Holmes Collections: The Other Master -- Frederic Dorr Steele and The Frederic Dorr Steele Memorial Collection, both prepared by our local expert on Steele, Andrew Malec.

Dr. Alvin Rodin, Lord Gore-Booth, and Dame Jean Conan Doyle

Another tape recording has been added to the U Media Archive from the Sherlock Holmes Collections. This is a short clip, just over eight minutes, of an off-air recording from the BBC of a report by Oliver Scott on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Included are telephone interviews with Dr. Alvin Rodin; Lord Gore-Booth, former president of the Sherlock Holmes Society of London; and Dame Jean Conan Doyle. The audio quality for this portion of the recording is not good. Following the report by Oliver Scott is a separate recording of Dame Jean Conan Doyle with her observations on the interview and report. It is not known who made this second recording of Dame Jean.