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The 1968 BSI Dinner group photo

Sherlock Holmes’s 114th birthday is possibly best known for an historic event that happened outside of the Dinner.  During the cocktail hour that preceded the Dinner, six young women from Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, Connecticut picketed the BSI in front of Cavanaugh’s restaurant for not allowing women into the Dinner.  When Julian Wolff heard about the picketing, he said to John Bennett Shaw and Peter Blau (with whom the women had corresponded), “Your damned girls are at the door. Do something!"  Shaw and Blau invited the women into the downstairs bar where the women composed a manifesto to be read to the BSI.  "Gentlemen' this is it! We have long been distressed by your apparent reluctance to admit ladies into the BSI. In order to bring our opinion to your attention we have come here through the bitter chill of winter to ask you to reconsider and bow to the feminine influence. It is not for ourselves that we have come—oh, no! it is for those lovers of Sherlock Holmes everywhere (he did get around a lot). In conclusion, we hope that when you are choosing new members you will give equal consideration to the feminine Irregulars." When read to the BSI, the manifesto was met with a deafening silence.  However, the young women went on to form The Adventuresses of Sherlock Holmes, which became a national Sherlockian organization and still thrives today.

The dinner, itself, was marked by “capacity attendance,” Julian Wolff’s Commissionaire’s Report notes. All Canonical rites, including the Irregular toasts, Sherlockian musical performances, and the recitation of the Musgrave Ritual and Sherlock Holmes’ Prayer, were closely observed. Regine (Mrs. Thomas L.) Stix (Sr.) was toasted as The Woman. Tributes were paid to Sherlockian luminaries who had recently passed, such as William S. Baring Gould and Basil Rathbone. After judges H.W. Starr and James Nelson awarded the 10th annual Morley-Montgomery Award to William Baring-Gould’s “Mrs. Hudson’s Inheritance,” the impresario behind the $100 check, Lew. D. Feldman, was honored for his support of this prize by being named “Guest of the Irregulars.”

Seven Irregulars were invested. The Commissionaire, who during the course of the evening was “surprised and flattered—and delighted” to receive the Two-Shilling Award, closes his account with the estimation that “this was one of the best dinner-meetings we have ever had.”

Dinner Details: January 5, 1968
Cavanagh’s Restaurant, 258 West 23rd Street, New York

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 1968 BSI Dinner photo (not available at this time)


BSI Honours List

Investitures:
Marvin E. Aronson as Penrose Fisher
Terry Belanger as Cartwright
Ralph Earle II as Joyce Cummings
Daniel Griffin as General de Merville
Harry Hartman as The Ancient British Barrow*
Herman Herst Jr. as Colonel Emsworth, V.C.
Willmer A. Hoerr as The Famous Card Scandal of the Nonpareil Club*
Charles Kaegebehn as Birdy Edwards
Fred Kelly as Robert Ferguson
Bruce Kennedy as Bannister*
Bernth Lindfors as Thor Bridge*
Jason Rouby as Vanderbilt and the Yeggman*
Richard Wait as The Speckled Band*
* received Investiture at another event during the year
What is an Investiture?


Two-Shilling Award:
Julian Wolff
What is a Two-Shilling Award?

The Woman:
Regine (Mrs. Thomas L.) Stix (Sr.)
What is The Woman honour?

"Stand with me here upon the terrace..."
(as named at this Dinner, not their year of passing)
William S. Baring-Gould
Richard Horace Hoffmann
Robert K. Leavitt
Basil Rathbone.
What is the origin of “standing on the terrace?”

Morley-Montgomery Award:
William S. Baring-Gould, "Mrs. Hudson's Inheritance"
The Baker Street Journal v17 n1 (March 1967) pp. 28-36 (available in the eBSJ)
What is the Morley-Montgomery Award?


Reports on the Dinner

The Baker Street Journal v18 n1 (March 1968) pp. 48, 52 (available in the eBSJ)

List of 1968 BSI Dinner Attendees (PDF)


Recordings

None available online at this time.


Related Material

1968 BSI Dinner Menu (digitized image at Harvard)
Two pages. Cover, interior, and back. Sequence 27-28

Reports on the Picketing of the BSI Dinner
The Baker Street Journal Christmas Annual (Christmas 2004) (available in the eBSJ)


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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 9/10/2015 by Tamar Zeffren
This page last updated 9/19/15 by Andrew Solberg.


 


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