Header Photo Image1

BSI founder Christopher Morley in 1937

The December 1934 BSI Dinner is called the “First BSI Annual Dinner.”  However, it was preceded by two earlier BSI events that year.

Founded on January 6, 1934, the BSI held its “first meeting” (cocktail reception) at the Duane Hotel to celebrate Sherlock Holmes’ birthday.  It was attended by 15-20 men and women, mostly members of Christopher Morley’s earlier clubs.  There was also a “First Formal Meeting” of the BSI on June 5, 1934, held at Christ Cella’s Restaurant. This one was “stag,” and only eight men attended.  At this, Morley read his manuscript of “Was Sherlock Holmes an American?”  

Despite these earlier events, the December 7, 1934 BSI Dinner has always been considered (even by the founding fathers) to be the First Annual Dinner. Eighteen to twenty people attended, including archaeologist Harold W. Bell, actor William Gillette (who authored the play “Sherlock Holmes” and played the lead role for many years), writer Vincent Starrett, illustrator Frederick Dorr Steele (who drew the original Sherlock Holmes stories in Collier’s Magazine, boxer Gene Tunney, and critic and commentator Alexander Woollcott. 

Dinner Details: December 7, 1934
Christ Cella’s Restaurant, 144 East 45th Street, New York, NY

Dinner Photo Information

As far as we know, no group photo was taken of the December 7, 1934 BSI Dinner.

The photo of Christopher Morley on this page is courtesy of Steven Rothman.

BSI Honours List

Not awarded until 1944.

Two-Shilling Award:
Not awarded until 1962.

The Woman:
Not identified; possibly none.

"Stand with me here upon the terrace..."
(as named at this Dinner, not their year of passing)
None this year.

Morley-Montgomery Award:
Not awarded until 1959.

Reports on the Dinner

The Baker Street Irregulars, Irregular Memories of the ‘Thirties, ed. Jon L. Lellenberg, (New York: Fordham University Press, 1990)

See also our Brief History of the BSI for more about the beginnings of the BSI.


None available online at this time.

Related Materials

1934 BSI Dinner Menu (digitized images at Lilly Library)
Cover, interior, and back.  Sequence 1-3, plus a second copy.

First published in the Saturday Review of Literature, Feb. 17, 1934 in "The Bowling Green" 

Next dinner: the 1936 BSI Dinner (no dinner was held in 1935).

For an index to all BSI Dinners and photos, see our BSI Dinner Summary list.

Material in the BSI Archive may be used by any qualified scholar, subject to the normal rules and regulations of the library. For links to a detailed finding aid and related information, see our BSI Archive page.

Page composed on 10/03/14 by Andy Solberg.
Page updated 12/8/14 by Randall Stock.
This page last updated 2/26/23 by Randall Stock.