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Peter E. Blau, BSI

Peter E. Blau (Black Peter, 1959) found the world of Sherlockians as a teenager, thanks to Ben Abramson, who wrote "I publish a magazine you will enjoy reading.  Tell your father to send me $10.00."  The magazine was The Baker Street Journal, and it offered a wonderful introduction to people who enjoyed playing a game that was as fascinating then as it is now.  He received his Investiture ("Black Peter") in The Baker Street Irregulars in 1959, went on to become an early informal member of The Adventuresses of Sherlock Holmes (barred at the time from attending their annual dinner), and a member of many other Sherlockian societies.  He sometimes claims that everything he knows about being a Sherlockian and a collector he learned from John Bennett Shaw, and is happy to be the "Simpson" (secretary) of the BSI, as was John before him.  He has edited and published an informal newsletter Scuttlebutt from the Spermaceti Press since the early 1970s, and has been published widely in other Sherlockian journals.  His career as a geologist and a journalist has allowed him to travel widely and meet a host of interesting and entertaining Sherlockians, and to indulge in his favorite pastime: telling stories, some of which you can listen to in his oral history.

He received the Two-Shilling award in 1980.  Peter is one of America’s great storytellers, raconteurs, Sherlockians, and collectors. His interview is filled with other Sherlockians, Sherlockian historical insight, amazing acquisitions, and great fun.

Click to play interview Part 1

Click to play interview Part 2

Click to play interview Part 3

Interviewee: Peter E. Blau
Interviewer: Daniel Stashower
Date: July 29, 2007
Location: Bethesda, MD
Part 1: MP3, 49.1 MB, 86kbps, 1 hour 19 minutes
Part 2: MP3, 42.7 MB, 112kbps, 53 minutes
Part 3: MP3, 48.0 MB, 112kbps, 1 hour
Transcript of Peter E. Blau Interview (PDF)

Interview Topics

Part 1:
First Meeting with a Sherlockian
First BSI Dinner
Getting His Shilling
Resurrecting the Red Circle
The Practical But Limited Geologists
Julian Wolff
Chris Steinbrenner
Isaac Asimov
The Beginning of the Adventuresses of Sherlock Holmes
John Bennett Shaw
Duet with an Occasional Chorus
Angels of Darkness
Scuttlebutt from the Spermaceti Press
Becoming a Collector
Titular Investiture of Black Peter
Most Books Signed by Conan Doyle on a Ship
Conan Doyle Manuscripts and Paperclips

Part 2:
Changes in the BSI Dinner
On Conan Doyle
Richard Lancelyn Green
Marquis of Donegall

Part 3:
Peter Blau’s Christmas Tree
Sherlockian Travel
The BSI Dinner as a Moveable Feast
Magic, Sherlockian and Non
Jack Tracy
William S. Baring-Gould
Michael Harrison

Explanation of BSI Honours & Other Terms

Related Materials

Peter Blau at 1959 BSI Dinner
Peter E. Blau gets invested at the 1959 BSI Dinner with Jim Iraldi

The 1959 BSI Dinner
Peter Blau received his Investiture at this BSI Dinner.

Scuttlebutt from the Spermaceti Press
Peter Blau's monthly newsletter for Sherlockians

Angels of Darkness: A Drama in Three Acts
A BSI Manuscript Series book edited by Peter E. Blau.

Honoring the 60th Anniversary of his investiture in the BSI.

The Red Circle of Washington, DC
The Scion Society in which Peter Blau holds no office.

For an index to all OHP interviews, see our Oral History Project Summary list.

Interviews recently added online (sorted by when recording was posted online)

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 10/8/15 by Andrew Solberg
Page updated 10/13/15 by Andrew Solberg
Page updated 6/16/21 by Randall Stock.
This page last updated 11/27/21 by Marsha Pollak.