Friday, November 25, 2016

Black Friday and some easy Sherlock Holmes deals.

"As to money, well, so far as a fiver, or even a tenner, goes, you can always look to me."
-- Godfrey Staunton's skinflint uncle

The topic of money comes up a lot in the Sherlock Holmes stories. While love or vengeance may be much sexier motivations and stir the blood more, the ebb and flow of money motivates more action in the tales than possibly anything else. Even the love stories of the Canon, be it John Watson and Mary Morstan or Mary Sutherland and Hosmer Angel, all have a strong influence of financial status to them. But I don't think we've ever seen the subject of money come up in casual Sherlockian dealings quite so much as we do these days . . . not just to buy the more expensive collectible, but just to take a chunk of your money and give it to someone or something for Sherlockian reasons.

As it's Black Friday, the ridiculous day of consumer money-moving anyway, it seemed like the perfect spot to review where you might pour some cash if you don't feel like spending it on what will inevitably be someone's garage sale items a summer or two down the line.

First, the oldest of Sherlockian spots to donate to, given a GoFundMe makeover this year, the John H. Watson Fund. Established by the Baker Street Irregulars some decades ago to help club members anonymously help fellow Sherlockians whose attendance at the annual Sherlock Holmes birthday dinner in New York was impaired by cash flow issues. Since that time, the fund annually expends itself to help all it can, and needs replenished, as the costs of meeting other Sherlockians in the largest city in America are not cheap. 'Tis a fine sort of blind camaraderie which inspires this one.

Second, and also on GoFundMe, is the newest item on this list -- a benefit to help Sherlock Seattle settle its bills from last year's con. An unexpectedly large drop in attendance for a con that has tried to go all out to make a great weekend for its attendees hit them hard last year, and Sherlock Seattle still has great potential as an ongoing center for annual Sherlock fan fun in the years ahead. There is a measure of both appreciation and hope for the future to this one.

Third, just because it's an old favorite of mine, is the Friends of the Sherlock Holmes Collections at the University of Minnesota. The U of M Libraries has created perhaps the finest non-private repository of Sherlock Holmes history and artifacts on Earth, and I am not being hyperbolic in the slightest. If you ever get the chance to attend one of their conferences, or just arrange a visit to the collection, you can encounter Sherlock Holmes in a way you will nowhere else, and the possibilities for research abound. There is no more solid investment in our Sherlockian future than the Friends of the Sherlock Holmes Collections at U of M.

Fourth, since we're on the topic of university collections, is the Baker Street Irregulars Trust. Geared more specifically toward America's oldest Sherlock Holmes fan club's history and the documentation of its historic membership and doings, this Harvard archive has already made a good number of the Baker Street Irregulars' documents available online, and has Irregulars working toward adding to the paper parts with oral histories. The Trust keeps a window open to a very special part of our Sherlockian past, and offers the opportunity to help that cause.

Fifth, there are specific Sherlockian services one can support these days, as in podcasts! "I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere" is on Patreon. The Baker Street Babes take direct PayPal donations. The Three Patch Podcast has a Paypal "Donate" button as well. While you can listen to any number of podcasts for free these days, with hosts happy just to have your listening, microphones and such still cost money and showing artists (because truly, podcasters are recording artists) you appreciate them with a few bucks on a regular basis can be a real "feel good" way of literally giving back to someone who gives you something you enjoy.

Sixth, and not to be forgotten, is the Friends of the Arthur Conan Doyle Collection who support the Toronto Public Library. If I wasn't ballyhooing the University of Minnesota collection as I did above, I'd be writing about this one first. The Arthur Conan Doyle Collection at the Toronto Public Library is just as much a North American pilgrimage site for a diehard Sherlockian as the Minneapolis one. You never know what amazing thing you'll see there, and their years of solid Sherlockian work makes them a solid investment in the future of Sherlockiana, as I said about their American cousin.

There are so many places one can be a Sherlockian angel to that I'm sure to be missing some very important ones here, and new ones spring up all the time. Support your favorite journals, writers, artists, etc. by picking up their output, of course, but when you want to just put some goodwill out there for Sherlockian culture itself with no personal return, we have some great places to do just that.

In fact, when you're making out your list of Christmas gifts to give this year, putting a few (or all) of the above on that list, if you've got the free cash to donate, is some giving that is about as stress-free as you can make it. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much, Brad, for highlighting the Sherlock Holmes Collections in this way. Just wanted to let you know that there's an online site for giving as well:

    Thanks, again!