Friday, June 23, 2017
Unbeknownst to (or forgotten about by) many of the Sherlockians in the St. Louis area, there was once a library collection of scholarly works available to anyone that wished to use it. In the 1990's, Mary Schroeder was teaching at McKendree University in Lebanon, IL, just 30 minutes from St. Louis. While teaching there, she started a Sherlockian library collection that included many scholarly works and a beautiful pencil drawing of The Great Detective.
Mary later moved on from McKendree, but the collection stayed at the university's library until recently. With the help of Michael Waxenberg, Mary found a new home for the collection at the St. Louis Public Library's Rare Books and Special Collections Department at their main branch downtown. This move will make the collection more accessible to people in the St. Louis area.
Randy Getz and Mary moved the entirety of the collection from Illinois to its new home downtown in April, where the librarians are currently cataloging each item so they will be available to the public. During a recent Parallel Case meeting when we were discussing the project, Bill Cochran offered to donate a complete run of the Baker Street Journal to the collection, making every piece of BSJ scholarship available to anyone in the St. Louis area. At our May meeting, Bill showed up with his promised BSJ's as well as three more boxes of Sherlockian. Mary and I delivered The Cochran Addendum to the Rare Books and Special Collections room last month, almost doubling the size of the collection.
When this collection is cataloged by the librarians, thousands of articles and scores of books will be available for academic research or recreational reading to anyone interested in the Special Collections room. This is a large undertaking, and as of our visit last month, the librarians had only cataloged a portion of the original McKendree collection.
The current goal is to have the McKendree Collection and the Cochran Addendum cataloged and added to the shelves by this fall, with the library hosting a reception for Sherlockians to see just what a treasure trove we have right here in St. Louis! Once the St. Louis Sherlockian Collection is ready for unveiling, we will make sure to let everyone know. And if you see Mary, Bill, Michael or Randy, please make sure to thank them for all their hard work creating a great Sherlockian gem!