by Laura Bottoms
Four of us (Dean Clark, Rosalie Mollica, Catherine Gatchell-Cooper, and Laura Bottoms) journeyed to the Norwegian Explorers of Minnesota scion society’s outstanding triennial conference, Dark Places, Wicked Companions, and Strange Experiences, August 8-11, 2019. There we learned of the upcoming Baker Street Irregulars (BSI) event, Building an Archive: A Celebration of the Arrival of the BSI Archive at the Lilly Library, at Indiana University, November 8-10, 2019. Two of us, Dean Clark and Laura Bottoms, were able to attend this symposium and exhibition of both BSI Archive and Lilly Library treasures. The Illustrious Clients of Indianapolis provided nimble and very welcoming local arrangements. Excellent speakers, both special librarians and passionate, respected collectors, discussed their experiences and insights. Both Mike Whelan (the current Wiggins) and Michael Kean (incoming Wiggins) served on the panel about the BSI Archive’s future.
Two qualities of the Eli Lilly Library make it a perfect new home for the BSI Archive: significant holdings of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle materials, and an exceptionally user-friendly public service outlook! Our event was just in time, since the Lilly Library closes soon for an 18-month renovation. I’d like to visit there again in two years.
Lagniappe: three marvelous souvenirs were given to all attendees: the only illustrated edition of Doyle’s story, “How Watson Learned the Trick”(art by Frank Cho and hand lettering by Mike McSwiggin); a printed pamphlet about early BSI leader Julian Wolff, from Sonia Fetherston’s forthcoming book, which she researched in the BSI Archive and elsewhere; and a set of beautiful postcards, courtesy of Ross Davies, one representing each speaker (or that person’s collection), with their name and photo on the back, along with a description and an opportunity to write a question to submit for Q and A that same evening.