Conan Doyle, Arthur (1859 – 1930)
Conan Doyle gets wind of an early staging of Sherlock Holmes
An extraordinary one-page autograph letter signed by Arthur Conan Doyle, June 3rd 1894.
The author writes to, ‘My dear Reid,’ opening by asking about his correspondent’s new book. Then going on, ‘I want you to do something for me. A chap in Glasgow has dramatised Holmes and I am very sick about it. Would it bore you too much to attend one performance and let me know what it is like.
If you go you might send me your programme. Another point is that I want to know whether my name appears on the posters. It is possible that I make take action on the matter.’
In December 1893, Sherlock Holmes: A Psychological Drama in Five Acts — a play by Charles Rogers — was performed at the Theatre Royal, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent. The play began touring on 28 May, 1894 at the Theatre Royal, Glasgow, with Holmes played by the actor John Webb.
As can be seen in this letter, Conan Doyle was none too pleased about it, and appears to be weighing his options. Letters by Doyle that mention his most famous fictional character are excessively rare. Some age-toning, otherwise in fine condition.