There is no shortage of spellbinding anecdotes in the multi-talented Pj Doyle’s (Ettie Shafter, 2010) oral history, including her appearance in the 1970 film Airport, her involvement with the Norwegian Explorers of Minnesota, and her extensive Red Cross volunteerism.
The conversation covers wide-ranging ground. Pj’s job as ground services personnel for Western Airlines led to an appearance in Airport. In addition to her involvement in founding Mixed Blood Theater in Minneapolis, she has also published two mysteries in England, authored multiple award-winning volumes of poetry, and served on the board of the National Federation of Poets.
Pj describes Holmes as “the great equalizer” for devotees of all backgrounds and shares how much she values her work with the Beacon Society.. She shares a host of enthralling stories about her affiliation with the Norwegian Explorers of Minnesota, including some of their incredible programs and many of the Sherlockian luminaries associated with the society, such as Austin McLean, Austin Brafford, and Dr. Bryce L. Crawford, Jr.
When she first learned about the Sherlock Holmes collection at the University of Minnesota, Pj decided to call the university—a call which just happened to be answered by E.W. (Mac) McDiarmid, University Librarian, one of the founding members of the Norwegian Explorers, and a towering figure in the Sherlockian world, whom Pj describes as her mentor. Pj and Julie McKuras served as the first and second female presidents of the Explorers.
One remarkable aspect of this oral history is Pj’s compelling description of her longstanding Red Cross volunteerism. This includes deployments all over the United States; teaching international humanitarian law; conducting international tracing for families dispersed by war or natural disasters; and serving as Red Cross liaison to other emergency responders and government agencies.
Click above to play audio (playback help)
Interviewee: Pj Doyle
Interviewer: Julie McKuras
Date: May 18, 2014
Location: Red Cross facility in Minneapolis, MN
Description: MP3, 47 MB, 111kbps, 58 minutes
Early life and family
Mixed Blood Theatre Company
American Red Cross
Minnesota Writers Workshop
Writing mysteries and poetry
Dr. Bryce L. Crawford, Jr.
John Bennett Shaw
Baker Street Dozen
The Beacon Society
The 2010 BSI Dinner
Pj Doyle received her Investiture at this BSI Dinner.
Interesting Interview: Pj Doyle (website by Rob Nunn)
Nunn interviewed Pj for this September 2021 Interesting Though Elementary blog post.
The Baker Street Dozen (Amazon)
Pj co-edited this 1989 book with a selection of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s favorite Holmes stories.
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 7/1/23 by Tamar Zeffren
This page last updated 7/17/23 by Randall Stock