The Basic Holmesian Library: An Exhibit Based on Shaw's List of 100

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The Basic Holmesian Library: An Exhibit Based on Shaw's List of 100

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University of Minnesota Libraries




“Some years ago I staged an exhibition of what I then considered to be the One Hundred Basic Books, pamphlets and periodicals relating to Sherlock Holmes.” So wrote John Bennett Shaw in a short introduction to his first official compilation of these books, pamphlets and periodicals, which he titled “The Basic Holmesian Library.” His goal was to give “an in-depth view of the entire Holmesian culture,” and while he admitted the difficulty encountered in choosing what to include out of so many fine writings, he approached this daunting task with the enthusiasm of one who truly understood the meaning of Collecting Sherlockiana. Shaw’s list of the Basic Holmesian Library, which he revised in 1983 and 1987, has continued to serve many a collector. In 1995, a year after his death, Shaw’s Sherlock Holmes Library was formally dedicated at the University of Minnesota. His list of 100 items was revised that year by E. W. McDiarmid and Peter E. Blau in an effort to focus on more attainable items. In 1996, Carl William Thiel published an annotated collector’s guide to Shaw’s list. Two years later, Catherine Cooke published Shaw’s most recently revised Basic Holmesian Library and included his essay on collecting Sherlockiana. This exhibit catalog traces these revisions in the original list.


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Johnson, Timothy J; McKuras, Julie. (2001). The Basic Holmesian Library: An Exhibit Based on Shaw's List of 100. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy,

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