Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Mr. Holmes Comes to Minnesota

While working through some archival files for my research on the closing of the U of M library school I came across a small Sherlockian tidbit that is worth sharing. I found it in the May 3, 1974 minutes of the library school council, a governing body made up of faculty and graduate students. The meeting, as the minutes report, opened at 9:30 that morning with some preliminary comments and reports. The third report came from Dr. Edward Stanford, formerly the University Librarian and now serving on the faculty. The minutes read: "Dr. Stanford reported that the University had purchased a private collection of materials related to Sherlock Holmes. The collection had been designated the Errett Weir McDiarmid Collection in honor of Dr. McDiarmid, leader of the Norwegian Explorers (Baker St. Irregulars)."

This was the beginning of what is now the largest assemblage of Sherlockian materials in the world. The collection the University acquired was that of James Iraldi, a book collector from New York and member of the Baker Street Irregulars, the primary Sherlockian literary society in North America. The Norwegian Explorers was founded in 1948 as a scion society of the Irregulars and is still active today. E. W. McDiarmid, also a former University Librarian and member of the library school faculty, was a founding member of the Explorers and known in his leadership role of the group as "Sigerson." That name, along with the name of the group, was taken from the Holmes story "The Adventure of the Empty House."

Sherlockians are fond of saying "I hear of Sherlock everywhere." Now we can add that his name resonates even through the archives of library school faculty minutes.

No comments: