Happy Birthday to Sherlock Holmes creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who was born in Edinburgh, Scotland on May 22, 1859.
Portland’s Sherlock Holmes Society, known as “The Noble and Most Singular Order of the Blue Carbuncle” was founded around 1971 by Dr. James Covert, growing out of an evening class taught by the long-time history professor. The students taking “Baker Street Revisited” determined to continue their association after the term ended. And so was born a Sherlockian club complete with charter and ‘canonical’ name. Dr. Covert ran the course for several years, and as the group grew larger it moved beyond the University. The Noble and Most Singular Order of the Blue Carbuncle of Portland and Vancouver continues today as one of the nation’s more active Sherlock Holmes societies.
In Dr. Covert’s words: “In the early 1970s I was looking to teach Victorian England in a novel way (pun intended) and came to this—a study of Victorian England through the Holmes stories. In the 1980s and 90s I occasionally taught the same course under the title of “Mystery as History: The Study of Sherlock Holmes’ England”. Finally it was put into the Honors Program and has the distinction of being my very last class taught at UP in the fall of 1997.” (Private e-mail communication, March 1, 2011)
The items pictured are located in the University Museum and are associated with the original charter members of “The Noble and Most Singular Order of the Blue Carbuncle.” The name being associated with one of the popular stories of the Sherlock Holmes saga, referred to by devoted followers of the Master Detective as “The Canon,” or “The Sacred Writings.”