The Sherlock Holmes Collections began in 1974 with the purchase of James C. Iraldi’s small but distinguished library of first editions of the Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Thus, the University of Minnesota Library has been building the Sherlock Holmes Collections for more than twenty years. Direct purchases and generous donations have helped the Collections to reach their current size and comprehensiveness.
Two of the more important collections of the many that have been added since 1974 are those of Philip S. Hench and John Bennett Shaw.
Philip S. Hench M.D., was a Mayo Clinic consulting physician and a recipient of the Nobel Prize for medicine (1950), who, with his wife Mary Kahler Hench, built one of the more remarkable Sherlockian libraries ever assembled. The treasures of the Hench library include: unique copies of Beeton’s Christmas Annual, (1887) containing “A Study in Scarlet”, the first Sherlock Holmes adventure; English and American first editions of the stories; plus material related to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, William Gillette, and Frederic Dorr Steele.
John Bennett Shaw, an entrepreneur from Santa Fe, New Mexico attempted to collect everything on or about Sherlock Holmes and nearly succeeded. The Shaw Collection is the most diverse, with items running the gamut from books to stuffed animals.
111 Elmer L. Andersen Library, 222 21st Av. South, Mineapolis, MN 55455