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The 1957 BSI Dinner group photo

Buttons-cum-Commissionaire Edgar W. Smith, who also served as pro-tempore Gasogene-cum-Tantalus in Christopher Morley’s absence, called the celebrations of the Master’s 103rd anniversary to order. The evening opened with the reading of the Society’s “Constitution and Buy-laws” and included canonical toasts, an assortment of readings from the Master’s oeuvre, and standing upon the Terrace in memory of Irregular Fletcher Pratt. Smith, in his capacity as Buttons, read aloud several greetings and dispatches from around the Sherlockian world, including a message “from a former Senator from a Western State by the name of Richard Nixon.”

Six members received their Irregular Shilling.  Russell McLauchlin delivered “a profound exegesis of The Sign of Four.” Challenges and Disputation in the Canon punctuated much of the evening’s proceedings.

Scion Society reports were proffered: “[m]uch revelation and ground for disputation resulted from the responses forthcoming.” At 11:45, Howard Haycraft proposed the toast to “To the Best and Wisest Man Whom We Have Ever Known.”

Dinner Details: January 11, 1957
Cavanagh’s Restaurant, New York, NY

Dinner Photo Information

Click on the above photo to see a larger version of it, and maximize your browser window to see the most detail.

Key to People in the 1957 BSI Dinner photo (PDF)

BSI Honours List

Lew D. Feldman as The Hammerford Will Case
Irving M. Fenton as The Singular Tragedy of the Atkinson Brothers
Thomas M. McDade as The Dancing Men
E. W. McDiarmid as The Bruce-Partington Plans
Chris Steinbrunner as The Tankerville Club Scandal
Ernest Bloomfield Zeisler as The Golden Pince-Nez
What is an Investiture?

Two-Shilling Award:
Not awarded until 1962.
What is a Two-Shilling Award?

The Woman:
Sylvia Porter
What is The Woman honour?

"Stand with me here upon the terrace..."
(as named at this Dinner, not their year of passing)
Fletcher Pratt (“The Dancing Men”)
What is the origin of “standing on the terrace?”

Morley-Montgomery Award:
Not awarded until 1959.
What is the Morley-Montgomery Award?

Reports on the Dinner

1957 BSI Dinner Minutes (digitized images at Harvard)

The Baker Street Journal v7 n2 (April 1957) pp. 109-112.  (available in the eBSJ)

List of 1957 BSI Dinner Attendees (digitized image at Harvard)

Key to People in the 1957 BSI Dinner photo (PDF)

The Baker Street Journal v11 n2 (June 1961) pp. 82-83. Rex Stout reflects on Edgar Smith’s reading of the telegram sent by Richard Nixon. Though Stout said it occurred in 1956, the 1957 minutes and BSJ report cited above show that it occurred in 1957.


None available online at this time.

Related Material

1957 Dinner Announcement Postcard (digitized image at Harvard)
Front and back. Sequence 55-56.

1957 Dinner Menu (digitized images at Harvard)
Cover and back. Sequence 57-58.

1957 Dinner Handout by The House of El Dieff, Inc. (digitized images at Harvard)
Rare book dealer and BSI member Lew David Feldman owned the House of El Dieff, and named his company for his initials, L. D. F. Four Pages. Sequence 59-62.

Article/partial key to 1957 BSI Dinner photo (PDF) in The Woods-Runner
This literary magazine, published by Lake Superior State College in Michigan, was started by BSI member W.T. (Bill) Rabe (who taught at the school) and some colleagues.  The article reproduced the dinner photo and identified some of the people in it.

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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 1/28/15 by Tamar Zeffren.
Page updated 8/15/15 by Andrew Solberg.
This page last updated 3/31/19 by Randall Stock.