Having taken over the position of Secretary to the BSI, Edgar W. Smith made sure that the BSI Dinner became an annual event. Twenty six people attended, including author Basil Davenport, Boston Sherlockians James Keddie, Sr. and James Keddie Jr., the mystery writer Rex Stout, and Dr. Julian Wolff (who would ultimately become the head of the BSI in 1961). Toasts were drunk to The Woman, Mrs. Hudson, and Doctor Watson’s Second Wife. The BSI’s Constitution was read. Robert Keith Leavitt subjected the attendees to a quiz entitled, “A Brief Examination upon the Sacred Writings for the Refreshment of Irregular Memories and the Testing of Those Now Regular Which Aspire to be Otherwise.” Julian Wolff spoke on the atavistic tendencies toward Black offspring in mixed marriages. Rex Stout, the guest of honor and principal speaker, advanced that Watson was a woman. Harvey Officer spoke on Holmes’ religious bent. Frederick Dorr Steele discussed the graphic representations of characters in the Canon. P. M. Stone read a paper entitled “King’s Bench Walk and Baker Street.”
Dinner Details: January 31, 1941
Murray Hill Hotel, 112 Park Avenue at East 40th Street, NY, NY
Dinner Photo InformationAs far as we know, no group photo was taken of the January 31, 1941 BSI Dinner.
The photo of Edgar W. Smith on this page is courtesy of The Red Circle of Washington, D.C.
BSI Honours ListInvestitures:
Not awarded until 1944.
What is an Investiture?
Not awarded until 1962.
What is a Two-Shilling Award?
Not identified; possibly none.
What is The Woman honour?
"Stand with me here upon the terrace..."
(as named at this Dinner, not their year of passing)
Archie Macdonell, the moving spirit of the Sherlock Holmes Society of England
Miss Helen Simpson
What is the origin of “standing on the terrace?”
Not awarded until 1959.
What is the Morley-Montgomery Award?
Reports on the Dinner1941 BSI Dinner Minutes (digitized images at Harvard)
List of 1941 BSI Dinner Attendees (digitized image at Harvard)
The Baker Street Irregulars, Irregular Records of the Early ‘Forties, ed. Jon L. Lellenberg, (New York: Fordham University Press, 1991)
RecordingsNone available online at this time.
Related MaterialsThe Trust does not have a 1941 Dinner Menu. If you have a copy, or even a scan of one, please contact us.
Leavitt, Robert Keith, “A Brief Examination upon the Sacred Writings...” (digitized images at Harvard)
Quiz given at dinner. 6 pages, plus another copy filled out. Sequence 7-19.
"Watson Was a Woman" by Rex Stout in The Saturday Review of Literature, 23, No. 19 (March 1, 1941), 3-4, 16. (at unz.com)
Rex Stout presented his infamous theory about Watson at the 1941 BSI Dinner. His paper appears online, starting with the main link above and concluding with page 16 online.
Previous dinner: the 1940 BSI Dinner
Next dinner: the 1942 BSI Dinner
For an index to all BSI Dinners and photos, see our BSI Dinner Summary list.
The BSI Archive is located at the Houghton Library at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Archival material 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 at Harvard page.
Page composed on 10/15/14 by Andy Solberg.
Page updated 2/7/15 by Andy Solberg.
This page last updated 2/2/20 by Randall Stock.