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Author: admin, 02.11.2015. Category: Positive Phrases About Life

I see a lot of posts about how you’re supposed to or not supposed to describe people (especially POC), and the biggest problem that I always face when I see those is that I cannot describe people.
Chris is planning one of his very infrequent trips to New York for next Januarya€™s BSI weekend, and I think I know what aspect of it is on his mind. Ia€™ve just finished re-reading Irregular Crises of the Late a€?Forties which, of course, had to end just as the BSJ was about to be relaunched.
Edgar Smith provided some of the desired information himself in a a€?Special Notice to a€?Old-Timea€™ Irregularsa€? that was included with some copies of the July 1951 issue sent out. The press runs for each issue were already growing, he told the 60 graybeards: a€?Only 200 copies of Volume 1, Number 1 were printed, and 250 copies of Volume 1, Number 2.
Almost precisely a year ago, during my websitea€™s Great Hiatus, I received a BSI history question from John, so here it is, and Thucydidesa€™ answer. I recently thought maybe I could buy a copy of the same book by Grillparzer that Morley used for the original Irregulars, and I remembered Tom Stix once telling me that he owned the book, but didna€™t want to give it to the BSI, instead to pass it on to someone who would care for it.
Mike Whelan wrote me saying that Tom Stix never had possession of the Grillparzer Book, and that there are no copies extant because it was a blank book into which club members wrote short commentaries. George Fletcher has an entire chapter describing Morleya€™s Grillparzer Book and its history in my BSI Archival History volume Irregular Memories of the a€™Thirties. Never used a typewriter, I think I said Adrian claimed (along with knowing his father better than anyone else living or dead). As Peter says, a€?ita€™s hard to imagine anyone forging Juliana€™s signature to make some money, since he signed just about everything he sent to anyone .
My recollection is about the same as Jima€™s, and along the following lines, althoughA uncertain after all these years. The report at Stevea€™s link on Ye Sette of Odd Volumes makes interesting reading even if we fail to find a connection to the BSI.
I know about Bostona€™s Club of Odd Volumes,A as Ia€™m sure you do, but this English outfit is new to me.
Ita€™s possible Christopher Morley, deep-dyed bookman, was aware of Ye Sette of Odd Volumes. The other day I had the good fortune to meet a famous English printer who is visiting in this country; and instead of talking about Plantin and Caslon and Bruce Rogers we found ourselves, I dona€™t know just how, embarked on a mutual questionnaire of famous incidents in the life of Sherlock Holmes. How I wish therea€™d been a garrulous eye-witness to that meeting of Morley and Morison in New York in 1926! Now Smith might have been peeved with Ben Abramson, given the OS BSJa€™s collapse, butA I doubt he was a€?excommunicatinga€? him in giving Hoffman the same investiture in a€™52: Smith was a benign personality never given to nastiness even in exasperation, something clear from the many score letters of his in my Archival Histories. And then, Edgar Smith excommunicating the likes of David Randall, Rufus Tucker (Smitha€™s colleague at GM), Rolfe Boswell, or Belden Wigglesworth? But even in 1985, when Julian Wolff had Peter Blaua€™s excellent lists to work from, and Tony Montag and Dean Dickensheet were both alive, he conferred Vamberry the Wine Merchant a third time, on Arthur Liebman. I appreciate the attempt by my opponent at Augusta€™s Great Debate at Minnesota over the Sherlockian insignificance of Fr. The first three stock certificates were issued in January 1948 to Morley, Smith and Starrett. Miriam a€?Deea€? Alexander, Smitha€™s secretary at GM Overseas Operations at the time, and serving as Secretary-Treasurer of the BSI, Inc., had already received a share as a gift in recognition of her unpaid service. I cana€™t say now whether Smith succeeded in unloading any more shares to any additional stockholders in the 1950s, but if he did, it would have been as a purely charitable act on the part of the new stockholders, because it was clear by then that the BSI Inc. Manfred Lee, half of the pair of cousins who were the mystery-writing team of Ellery Queen starting in the 1920s, was not a Baker Street Irregular, though he did attend the annual dinner in 1946.
ROBERT KATZ: I recollect hearing that the BSI once met at the Players Club and the speaker (possibly Leslie Marshall) ended his presentation by igniting a piece of flash paper, as used by professional magicians. The Irregularsa€™ annual dinner was held at The Players on January and was attended by 100 thirsty enthusiasts.
Of course, all of our customs were strictly observed, and the Conanical and Irregular toasts were drunk. It was a long time ago, 1971: the second dinner at The Players, I believe, falling beyond the scope of my Archival Histories but before my first annual dinner at the Regency Hotel (the second there) in 1973. With regard to Jim Montgomery, and the difference between membership in the BSI and the Irregular Shilling [see below], I dona€™t think we disagree . Roosevelt and Rathbone and Bruce received membership certificates, but so far as I know never Shillings nor Investitures .
Ia€™m reminded of the distinction that once was made between Irregular and irregular, but I dona€™t recall who started it . Ita€™s the same with my list of Sherlockian societies, which does not distinguish in any way between societies that are scions and those that are not .
Actually, Don Pollock and I once wrote about a€?Packaging Holmes for the Paperbacksa€? that way in Baker Street Miscellanea (No.
Rex Stout was well-known for his Nero Wolfe mysteries when in early January 1941 Irregular Lawrence Williams suggested to Edgar W.
But in not too much time, the Irregulars decided Stouta€™s heart was in the right place (after all, Archie Goodwin in at least one Nero Wolfe book had mentioned a picture of Sherlock Holmes hanging on the wall of their West 35th Street office), and he became a regular at the dinners; soon with a place at the head table, and the investiture a€?The Boscombe Valley Mysterya€? (conferred in 1949). In 1954, the Higher Criticism of the Wolfe Canon got underway with an article in Harpera€™s Magazine (July) by editor Bernard DeVoto. According to a friend of mine who belongs to the Baker Street Irregulars [DeVoto began], a paper by one of his colleagues suggests that Nero Wolfe may be the son of Sherlock Holmesa€™s brother Mycroft. DeVoto proceeded to spread frivolous speculation tricked out to look like scholarship across half a dozen pages in that montha€™s Harpera€™s, all for the purpose of confounding Irregular speculation about Nero Wolfea€™s parentage. DeVotoa€™s volley only encouraged Irregular speculation, and the principal word on the subject, a€?Some Notes Relating to a Preliminary Investigation into the Paternity of Nero Wolfe,a€? was published in the Baker Street Journal in 1956 by John D. Back in 1942, at that Januarya€™s BSI dinner, Julian Wolff had responded to Stouta€™s a€?Watson Was a Womana€? with a talk of his own entitled a€?Nuts to Rex Stout.a€? Stout was not in attendance to hear it. Besides Baring-Gould, well known to Irregulars is John McAleera€™s biography Rex Stout in 1977. Thata€™s right, and I didna€™t exactly find space for Woollcott in Baker Street Irregular -- he storms up the stairs to Morleya€™s hideaway office on West 47th Street, flings open the door, marches in, and seizes control of the secret meeting going on between Morley, Elmer Davis, Edgar W. However, the sad lack of a good old-fashioned bodice ripping in the previews of Baker Street Irregular is a discouragement for further page turning. I dona€™t know that Ia€™d call it seismic, exactly; though I wouldna€™t call it joyous either. I suspect the attrition rate among men in these scions due to the change of policy by the BSI is close to zero, though it did affect the allegiance of some to the BSI itself.
And now that women do have seats at the national table, why, in your view,A have we seen so little classic Sherlockian scholarship from women or leadership at the scion level? Many scion societies today do have women at the helm, on the other hand, and not only recently founded scions.
The question is whether Woollcott was expected by Morley that night, or instead came as an unwelcome surprise to him.
I cana€™t swear that Smith invited Woollcott to the 1940 dinner, or subsequent ones prior to Woollcotta€™s death in January 1943. The saga of the Holmes Peak will have to await another historian to do it and its Head Sherpa, the late Richard Warner, full justice, Bob. As if to prove that the age of Sherlockian fun is far from over, let us turn to 1985a€™s humorous highlight, Richard Warnera€™s guide to the ascent of Holmes Peak. But time and Warner prevailed, and in this little chapbook, with a foreword by Michael Hardwick who represented the Empire at the dedication of Holmes Peak, Warner relates all one needs to know in order to scale this lofty monument to the best and wisest man we have ever known. Buster Keaton could not do it better than the deadpan Warner, without whom Holmes Peak might never have been named (or even noticed). It is a lovely hill, what in the Ozarks would be called a a€?bald knoba€? (that means no trees, for the less botanically astute), and the view is very fine. Dicka€™s case, boiled down, was that as Sherlock Holmes was once employed by the Vatican, naming the Peak after him qualified as meaningful to the Bishopa€™s work.
Billa€™s contributions to the BSI and our understanding of its history are legion, but his masterpiece is his splendid history of a piece of Irregular folklore bestowed upon the BSI at the end of the a€™40s by its greatest musical voice, James Montgomery (a€?The Red Circlea€?) of Philadelphiaa€™s Sons of the Copper Beeches: We Always Mention Aunt Clara. Will Oursler was invested in the BSI in a€?The Abbey Grangea€? in 1956, preceded in that investiture by his father Fulton Oursler whoa€™d received it in 1950.
Bill Vande Water has been engaged for some time in deep research on both Ourslers, for both the BSI and Mystery Writers of America, and if he ever finishes it, it should be the definitive account of the two men in our sphere.
Can any reader shed light on this?A  Please let Thucydides know at the email address at the top of the column. I remember reading a criticism about how non-black writers writing their Black characters going to sleep without twisting their hair or taking care of it wrong.
Be sure to accompany this with a killer cover letter and you'll soon see your job hunting efforts start to pay-off.
I mean the quotation from the bar bill at some long-ago BSI Dinner, listing the number of whiskies, gins, and scotches consumed, and "1 beer"?
Anxious to avoid another failure through lack of support, he was appealing to 60 BSI a€?old-timersa€? (a€?in order to spread the clerical load, and to facilitate the voluntary work by which alone the Journal can keep goinga€?), to renew their subscriptions for 1952 right away without waiting for the renewal form that would accompany the October issue, the final one of the year. 1 and 2 a€?reproduction issuesa€? had to wait until the NS BSJ seemed securely on its feet, its subscriber base grown to a safe point and new subscribers seeking copies of the first two Numbers.
I contacted Mike Whelan about it: I thought he would know enough about it that I could get another copy.
Someone (dona€™t remember who it was) who fancied himself a bit of a conjuror was at the head table, which included Alfred Drake as then-president of The Players, and seated next to Drake. Julian told me later that the bar bill was of the magnitude of treble the food bill.A Thing was, the bartenders, of whom there were several, strategically located around the rooms,A were pouring generously, including for themselves, encouraging BSIs to put down their partially consumed glasses and get fresh ones -- and soon lost the ability to check off accurate numbers of drinks served. A Both for its own sake, and because it suggests what the typewriter that Conan Doyle owned in the early 1890s may have been like. Symons a€” author of The Quest for Corvo a€” and am thus reading his brother Juliana€™s biography of him.
The notiona€™s wrong, and theA tip-off should have been the misapprehensiona€™s source a€” S.
All it takes is to know the notiona€™s absurd is to look up what men Smith supposedly excommunicated.
The first comprehensive if imperfect list of investitures and holders I know of is one by C. Ronald Knox, to explain away such an elementary (let us say, fundamental) mistake on Knoxa€™s part, but Ia€™m reminded, a bit sadly, of the famous exchange between Dr. Smith started talking to Christopher Morley about incorporating the BSI sometime the summer of 1947, both to create a lucrative publishing program (they thought), and to manage takeover of the BSJ if Ben Abramsona€™s publishing of it collapsed (as it did in 1949). His cousin Frederic Dannay first attended it in 1942, and became part of the BSI for the rest of his long life (dying in 1982), and was invested as a€?The Dying Detectivea€? in 1950. I think the noted actor Alfred Drake was sitting next to the speaker and was, needless to say, quite startled by this. The Constitution and Buya€”Laws, as well as the Musgrave Ritual and Sherlock Holmesa€™s Prayer, were read, and the Sherlockian songs of Jim and Bruce Montgomery were played and enjoyed. So I asked Jim Saunders (a€?The Beryl Coroneta€?) and George Fletcher (a€?The Cardboard Boxa€?), both invested in 1969, for their memories. Nash was, Morley once said, one of the Doubleday, Doran a€?assembly mena€? present at the speakeasy in the East a€™Fifties in 1930 when Morley was commissioned to write his a€?In Memoriama€? foreword for the first Complete Sherlock Holmes.
Perhaps the matter can be cleared up when I get to the a€™Fifties volumes of the Archival History, or perhaps Peter Blau or someone else can shed light on this. Smith that Stout would be a good person to attend the up-coming 1941 annual dinner (held the 31st) and respond to some awful things Somerset Maugham had said about the Sherlock Holmes stories in a recent Saturday Evening Post article. He had already turned down an invitation from favorite-contributor Elmer Davis to join the Baker Street Irregulars, on grounds of silliness. I cannot find the treatise that contains this absurdity and mention it only as an example of the frivolous speculation tricked out to look like scholarship with which the Holmes cult defrauds the reading public.
A strident anti-isolationist before Pearl Harbor, he was off creating the Writers War Board to support the U.S.
In 1961, when he became the BSIa€™s Commissionaire, he created the honor known as the Two-Shilling Award a€?for extraordinary devotion to the cause beyond the call of duty,a€? and the first one went that January to Rex Stout. You cana€™t copyright titles of books, and if you could, this one would belong to the Conan Doyle Estate;-- fortunately, my client in a different sphere of my Irregular life.
How heavily attended are the all-male scion societies these days, setting aside the Pips, as it is not a scion society?
The all-male scion societies 20 years ago that occur to me were The Maiwand Jezails of Omaha, Hugoa€™s Companions of Chicago, Philadelphiaa€™s Sons of the Copper Beeches, The Speckled Band of Boston, and The Six Napoleons of Baltimore. It has been a long time since the a€?Junior Sherlockian movementa€? of the 1960s replenished the BSIa€™s ranks during the a€™70s, and since the comparable a€?Sherlock Holmes booma€? of the 1970s flowed from the successes of the Royal Shakespeare Company revival of William Gillettea€™s Sherlock Holmes and Nicholas Meyera€™s novel The Seven-Per-Cent Solution.
I need to point out that the first woman to be an Irregular, mystery critic Lenore Glen Offord (a€?The Old Russian Womana€?), was tapped way back in 1958, but I also acknowledge that it didna€™t include invitations to the BSIa€™s annual dinners.
So far, in the Manuscript and International Series published by the BSI, why am I not seeing womena€™s bylines more often, if at all? Ita€™s a question youa€™d have to address to ones directly responsible for those series of books published by the BSI, or to the Big Cheese himself, Mike Whelan, who has also presided over the International Series from the start, I believe. He was of course a notorious enfant terrible, and Ia€™m sure not above crashing a party given by a fellow book-caresser like Christopher Morley. But he sent Woollcott a copy of his 1939 Appointment in Baker Street lavishly inscribed to Woollcott as Baker Street Irregular, and Woollcott appears on Smitha€™s December 5, 1940, BSI membership list given in my BSJ Christmas Annual a€?Entertainment and Fantasya€?: The 1940 BSI Dinner. He has only one scene with a speaking part, and that in June 1940, but he was such a Fabulous Monster it was great fun to write him into the tale.
As you know, ita€™s been my steadfast intention from the start to cover the years 1930 to 1960, when Edgar Smith died and Julian Wolff succeeded him, and then stop, since the decades which followed are too recent for sound historical judgments.
Those acquainted with the doings of The Afghan Perceivers of Tulsa know well the daring of their intrepid exploits, which have struck awe (and some terror) in small towns throughout the American Southwest. To have been at the dedication last summer, complete with the Afghanistan Perceiversa€™ widely dreaded drum-and-bugle corps, must have been a marvelous one-of-a-kind occasion; but much of its charm and wit is surely captured in this little chapbook. When Bishop Eusebius Beltran told Dick that the hill needed a name a€?more meaningful to his work,a€? a lesser mortal would have taken no for an answer, and returned to whatever one does on a windswept prairie. This letter was promptly bounced back to the esteemed Bishop Eusebius Beltran (fiction writers, I defy you to create a more dazzling cognomen), who replied on behalf of his Pontiff. Rabe will get a chapter of his own in the first a€?Fifties volume of the Archival History, along with his Old Soldiers of Baker Street (the Old SOBs). I find I reviewed this item myself in Baker Street Miscellanea when it came out in 1990, see here. Katz: Will Ourslera€™s talks at BSI dinners are said to be legendary, although I am not sure why.
A prolific music and theater critic in Los Angeles area newspapers and magazines, he died in May, seated at his keyboard writing a review when the fatal heart attack came.
Ia€™m sure Tom said he had it and did not want to pass it on to the BSI, and even more sure it wasna€™t a a€?blanka€? book: why was it called the Grillparzer Book if it was blank? He received the Two-Shilling Award in 1983 for the immense help he gave Julian Wolff with the BSJ over many years, and was its actual publisher a number of years when he ran Fordham University Press. Based on the description of the bartending, it was a case of if you can remember it you weren't there. This Irregulara€™s shtick (excuse me, a€?papera€?) included, and ended with, igniting a bit of flash paper that erupted and fell from his hand onto the tablecloth, thus landing in Drakea€™s immediate proximity. I recall one bartender as being just this side of falling-down drunk.A Many BSIs were only too happy to get a fresh one when the old ice cubes had dwindled or the mixer had lost its fizz, or some combination thereof, and I recall the vast array of partially consumed drinks sitting all over the place. A His dreadful son Adrian swore that his father never owned or used one, but in fact Conan Doyle mentions having one in letters written from South Norwood, though it appears his sister Connie, living there at the time, used it mostly to prepare replies to correspondence hea€™d received.
But Bigelow had only been invested in 1959, hadna€™t known Smith long or well, was outside the mainstream of the BSI, and looking for a reason to explain his receiving an investiture someone else still in the ranks had. Leslie Marshall (a€?A Scandal in Bohemiaa€?), who returned to the fold after many yearsa€™ absence. Stix, Jr.), by Bill Jenkins a€” to end a€” the reports of the Scion Societies, followed by the usual informal discussions. And then your old fellow saddle-tramp Lenore Carroll touched on the same thing in a€?Exploring a€?The Country of the Saintsa€™: Arthur Conan Doyle as Western Writera€? in BSM 51 (Autumn 1987).


In stating here the insoluble problem which will always frustrate biographers of Nero Wolfe I confine myself, as a member of the American Historical Association in good standing, to examining the source documents according to the approved methods of historical research. Baring-Gould, already the author of Sherlock Holmes of Baker Street and editor of The Annotated Sherlock Holmes, made the idea a foundation-stone of another book, Nero Wolfe of West 35th Street. My experience of Hugoa€™s Companions is limited, and nil in the case of The Maiwand Jezails and Speckled Band, but none of them have changed their policies. Even the wave of newcomers from the television series starring Jeremy Brett that debuted in 1984 was a long time ago now. Leavitta€™s expostulations to the contrary in his 1961 BSJ two-parter a€?The Origins of 221B Worship.a€? When Edgar W.
So I presume Woollcott had been invited to the January a€™40 dinner at the Murray Hill Hotel too.
But none have reached so high a pinnacle as the naming and ascent of Holmes Peak, which rises majestically 262 feet above the prairie floor, and from whose wind-swept summit practically all of Osage County, Oklahoma, can be seen. At one time we had passes for the ski lift, but I have seem to have misplaced them (as Dick seemed to have misplaced the lift). Dick showed this document to John Bennett Shaw, who was an active member of the Knights of Columbus and other arms of the Church. Smitha€™s death, he also edited the Baker Street Journal for many years, influenced the BSI weekenda€™s shape with his Saturday cocktail party (first in his home for those he invited, then at the Grolier Club when numbers grew too great, and after that it was Katie bar the door); and then, Julian also handed out more investitures than anyone else before or since.
Ia€™m sure Tom said he had it and did not want to pass it on to the BSI, and even more sure it wasna€™t a a€?blanka€? book:A  why was it called the Grillparzer Book if it was blank? One of the first priorities of the work was a complete examination of all previous exploration and excavation in the precinct, particularly that of Margaret Benson carried out in 1895-7. The BSJa€™s circulation wasna€™t the deep dark secret that it is today, but it will take further research to uncover just when those a€?reproduction issuesa€? were produced. George went on to be Astor Curator of Printed Books and Bindings at the Pierpont Morgan Library, later Director of Special Collections at the New York Public Library. Nor must we omit to mention those elegant keepsakes that we received through the courtesy of several Irregulars.
Instead he agitated the Irregulars that night with his soon notorious talk a€?Watson Was a Womana€? (which included an acrostic in which titles of Watsona€™s tales spelled out the name Irene Watson).
I construct only one hypothesis and I make no test of that one, leaving it for other scholars to test and apply as they may see fit. And Nicholas Meyer (a€?A Fine Morocco Case,a€? BSI) made use of the idea as well in his novels. Anderson, a valued contributor to Baker Street Miscellanea when he was was a professor of English at Texas A&M and Denison Universities, is now president of St. In fact Starrett proceeded to Christ Cellaa€™s by hansom cab that evening with Woollcott, from the lattera€™s apartment (known as a€?Wita€™s Enda€?) at 450 East 52nd Street. Smith started organizing the 1940 revival dinner, Morley dug up an old invitation list for Smitha€™s use, and Woollcott was on it. He concludes by describing the Preservation Societya€™s elaborate future plans for Holmes Peak, including such juicy things-to-come as the Scenic Highway to the top, the Holmes Cenotaph (a design contest will be announced soon), the Doyle Ski Basin, and Holmesworld amusement park. John told Dick the good Bishop had expressed himself harshly as a Bishop was allowed to, and still stay on the side of the angels.
It would be interesting to learn more about his Whoa€™s Who, his role in the Voices of Baker Street, the formation of the Mrs. Army directly into the BSI at the beginning of the a€?50s, and by 1955 had the investiture of a€?Colonel Warburtona€™s Madness,a€? which also tells us Edgar W.
Many of his Irregulars are gone today, like him, but lots of them made tremendous contributions to the BSI that are felt to this day.
When I first attended the BSI annual dinner in 1973, he had been a fixture there many years, and I found it was a tradition for him to give one of the talks each year -- and for his talk to be totally unintelligible. George Fletcher and I had a drink at the bar afterward but they wouldna€™t let us pay.A They put everything on Juliana€™s membership account.
Financially, I showed a profit on the evening of $22, which I have posted against past deficits without a qualm.
He is a leading member of the Grolier Club today as a rare books & manuscripts authority, and a bibliophile whose exhibitions there and elsewhere are glowingly reviewed in the New York Times.
The bar tab at The PlayersA was a main incentive for finding accommodations at the Regency.
The one from Lew Feldman(see Inventory)was most magnificent, and Fred Dannay generously supplied each of us with the Feb. Ia€™m a member of the latter, and also of Chicagoa€™s Hounds of the Baskerville (sic), but while both have only male members, one sees many women at the Houndsa€™ sole annual gathering every autumn, and not only spouses but others invited on their own merits -- including you this year, or so I hear, Dahlinger.
A thirty year old semi-invalid of a distinguished English family, she had the rare good luck to ask for the concession to a site that seemed unimportant and a site that no one else wanted. It has however been a very useful investment to me, for Connie often does as many as six or seven letters a day for me with it, and very well indeed she does them. A Ia€™d be particularly interested if one of its members in the 1920s was Stanley Morison, because it was Morleya€™s chance meeting with him in New York in 1926, that revived Morleya€™s long-dormant boyhood enthusiasm for Sherlock Holmes. Bigelow was scrambling to apologizeA for casting doubt on Lee Offorda€™s investiture (as a€?The Old Russian Woman,a€? 1958) genuineness or validity. Roberts did, of course, in his 1929 essay A Note on the Watson Problem, but I am far from home and without my copy to consult, to see if he had something to say about it. Taking place simultaneously with the Copper Beechesa€™ spring and autumn dinners every year is a dinner for wives called The Bitches of the Beeches -- started long ago by my late mother-in-law Jeanne Jewell, the idea being to get their drunk husbands home alive. Bill was an unforgettable personality with a zany streak of humor, and added something long-lasting to the BSI weekend in January with Mrs. It not only had profound effects upon our scholarshipa€™s trajectory, it brought huge numbers of new adherents into the fold (including me). Ia€™m not sure a€?legendarya€? is the word, but once youa€™d heard him, you didna€™t forget it; they were incoherent, phantasmagoric, even delusional, but delivered in a sort of bravura style that held your attention. It was assumed that even an woman amateur with no experience could do little harm at the nearly destroyed Temple of Mut, in a remote location south of the Amun precinct at Karnak.
Smith died in September 1960, and apparently posed an administrative burden without financial reward for his sons. I remember sitting there my first time wondering what the hell, because I didna€™t understand what was going on, but for others it was clearly an expected item on the bill of fare. She worked there for only three seasons from 1895 to 1897 and she published The Temple of Mut in Asher in 1899 2 with Janet Gourlay, who joined her in the second season.
These were delivered by Alfred Drake, whose address revealed him to be a real Sherlockian scholar; Thomas L.
Someone just the other day mentioned Bill referring, in a 1982 recording on Voices of Baker Street, to that yeara€™s Breakfast as the twenty-ninth, which means the first one would have been in 1954. Not only for the number and the jubilant spirit he brought to the process, but also for the displacement of the BSIa€™s previous center of gravity in the Northeast. Ia€™m not sure that everyone enjoyed it, but Julian Wolff always seemed to: in part with a ringmastera€™s satisfaction that the old boy had pulled it off once again, I think, and maybe also with a connoisseura€™s appreciation of a performer living up to or even exceeding the year before. In the introduction to that publication of her work she emphasized that it was the first time any woman had been given permission by the Egyptian Department of Antiquities to excavate; she was well aware that it was something of an accomplishment. Clarke, founder of The Five Orange Pips, and Carl Anderson of The Sons of the Copper Beeches. And for a few years, I had much the same reaction: a€?Here goes Will Oursler again, leta€™s see how wild it is this time, howa€™s he manage it year after year?a€? (This on the assumption that it was contrived. There are Black people with naturally blond and loosely-textured to straight hair, East Asian people with red hair, and so on. Smith, Edgar Smitha€™s stepson whoa€™d taken over the printing of the OS BSJ, and found it very hard to get paid by the failing Ben Abramson. I just figured that there was no way to define membership clearly for all those folks, and avoided doing so. Keep that in mind when coding characters if you tend to rely on hair color alone to denote a character is white vs. We were frankly warned that we should make no discoveries; indeed if any had been anticipated, it was unlikely that the clearance would have been entrusted to inexperienced direction. It already had the annual dinner and the Gillette Luncheon when he joined the growing throng in the early a€™50s, and he added Mrs.
3 A Margaret Benson was born June 16, 1865, one of the six children of Edward White Benson. He was first an assistant master at Rugby, then the first headmaster of the newly founded Wellington College.He rose in the service of the church as Chancellor of the diocese of Lincoln, Bishop of Truro and, finally, Archbishop of Canterbury. Benson was a learned man with a wide knowledge of history and a serious concern for the education of the young. He was also something of a poet and one of his hymns is still included in the American Episcopal Hymnal.
Arthur Christopher, the eldest, was first a master at Eton and then at Magdalen College, Cambridge.
A noted author and poet with an enormous literary output, he published over fifty books, most of an inspirational nature, but he was also the author of monographs on D. He helped to edit the correspondence of Queen Victoria for publication, contributed poetry to The Yellow Book, and wrote the words to the anthem "Land of Hope and Glory".
Most important to the study of the excavator of the Mut Temple, he was the author of The Life and Letters of Maggie Benson, 4 a sympathetic biography which helps to shed some light on her short archaeological career. He also wrote several reminiscences of his family in which he included his sister and described his involvement in her excavations. He helped to supervise part of the work and he prepared the plan of the temple which was used in her eventual publication. His younger brother, Robert Hugh Benson, took Holy Orders in the Church of England, later converted to Roman Catholicism and was ordained a priest in that rite. He also achieved some fame as a novelist and poet and rose to the position of Papal Chamberlain.
Her publication of the excavation is cited in every reference to theTemple of Mut in the Egyptological literature, but she is known to history as a name in a footnote and little else.A Margaret Benson was born at Wellington College during her father's tenure as headmaster. Each career advancement for him meant a move for the family so her childhood was spent in a series of official residences until she went to Oxford in 1883. She was eighteen when she was enrolled at Lady Margaret Hall, a women's college founded only four years before. One of her tutors commented to his sister that he was sorry Margaret had not been able to read for "Greats" in the normal way. 5 When she took a first in the Women's Honours School of Philosophy, he said, "No one will realize how brilliantly she has done." 6 Since her work was not compared to that of her male contemporaries, it would have escaped noticed. In her studies she concentrated on political economy and moral sciences but she was also active in many aspects of the college. She participated in dramatics, debating and sports but her outstanding talent was for drawing and painting in watercolor. Her skill was so superior he thought she should be appointed drawing mistress if she remained at Lady Margaret Hall for any length of time.
She began a work titled "The Venture of Rational Faith" which occupied her thoughts for many years. From the titles alone they suggest a young woman who was deeply concerned with problems of society and the spirit and this preoccupation with the spiritual was to be one of her concerns throughout the rest of her life. In some of her letters from Egypt it is clear that she was attempting to understand something of the spiritual life of the ancient Egyptians, not a surprising interest for the daughter of a churchman like Edward White Benson. A In 1885, at the age of twenty, Margaret was taken ill with scarlet fever while at Zermatt in Switzerland. By the time she was twenty-five she had developed the symptoms of rheumatism and the beginnings of arthritis. She made her first voyage to Egypt in 1894 because the warm climate was considered to be beneficial for those who suffered from her ailments. Wintering in Egypt was highly recommended at the time for a wide range of illnesses ranging from simple asthma to "mental strain." Lord Carnarvon, Howard Carter's sponsor in the search for the tomb of Tutankhamun, was one of the many who went to Egypt for reasons of health.
After Cairo and Giza she went on by stages as far as Aswan and the island temples of Philae. She commented on the "wonderful calm" of the Great Sphinx, the physical beauty of the Nubians, the color of the stone at Philae, the descent of the cataract by boat, which she said was "not at all dangerous".
By the end of January she was established in Luxor with a program of visits to the monuments set out.
I don't feel as if I should have really had an idea of Egypt at all if I hadn't stayed here -- the Bas-reliefs of kings in chariots are only now beginning to look individual instead of made on a pattern, and the immensity of the whole thing is beginning to dawn -- and the colours, oh my goodness!
The ancient language and script she found fascinating but she was not as interested in reading classical Arabic. Her interest was maintained by the variety of animal and bird life for at home in England she had been surrounded by domestic animals and had always been keen on keeping pets.
By the time her first stay ended in March, 1894, she had already resolved to return in the fall.
When Margaret returned to Egypt in November she had already conceived the idea of excavating a site and thus applied to the Egyptian authorities. Edouard Naville, the Swiss Egyptologist who was working at the Temple of Hatshepsut at Dier el Bahri for the Egypt Exploration Fund, wrote to Henri de Morgan, Director of the Department of Antiquities, on her behalf. From her letters of the time, it is clear that this was one of the most exciting moments of Margaret Benson's life because she was allowed to embark on what she considered a great adventure. A Margaret's physical condition at the beginning of the excavation was of great concern to the family. A Margaret Benson had no particular training to qualify or prepare her for the job but what she lacked in experience she more than made up for with her "enthusiastic personality" and her intellectual curiosity. In the preface to The Temple of Mut in Asher she said that she had no intention of publishing the work because she had been warned that there was little to find.
In the introduction to The Temple of Mut in Asher acknowledgments were made and gratitude was offered to a number of people who aided in the work in various ways.
The professional Egyptologists and archaeologists included Naville, Petrie, de Morgan, Brugsch, Borchardt, Daressy, Hogarth and especially Percy Newberry who translated the inscriptions on all of the statues found. Lea), 10 a Colonel Esdaile, 11 and Margaret's brother, Fred, helped in the supervision of the work in one or more seasons.
A It is usually assumed that Margaret Benson and Janet Gourlay worked only as amateurs, with little direction and totally inexperienced help.
It is clear from the publication that Naville helped to set up the excavation and helped to plan the work.
Hogarth 12 gave advice in the direction of the digging and Newberry was singled out for his advice, suggestions and correction as well as "unwearied kindness." Margaret's brother, Fred, helped his inexperienced sister by supervising some of the work as well as making a measured plan of the temple which is reproduced in the publication. Benson) was qualified to help because he had intended to pursue archaeology as a career, studied Classical Languages and archaeology at Cambridge, and was awarded a scholarship at King's College on the basis of his work.
He organized a small excavation at Chester to search for Roman legionary tomb stones built into the town wall and the results of his efforts were noticed favorably by Theodore Mommsen, the great nineteenth century classicist, and by Mr. Benson went on to excavate at Megalopolis in Greece for the British School at Athens and published the result of his work in the Journal of Hellenic Studies. His first love was Greece and its antiquities and it is probable that concern for his sister's health was a more important reason for him joining the excavation than an interest in the antiquities of Egypt.
13A It is interesting to speculate as to why a Victorian woman was drawn to the Temple of Mut. The precinct of the goddess who was the consort of Amun, titled "Lady of Heaven", and "Mistress of all the Gods", is a compelling site and was certainly in need of further exploration in Margaret's time. Its isolation and the arrangement with the Temple of Mut enclosed on three sides by its own sacred lake made it seem even more romantic.
14 When she began the excavation three days was considered enough time to "do" the monuments of Luxor and Margaret said that few people could be expected to spend even a half hour at in the Precinct of Mut. A On her first visit to Egypt in 1894 she had gone to see the temple because she had heard about the granite statues with cats' heads (the lion-headed images of Sakhmet).
The donkey-boys knew how to find the temple but it was not considered a "usual excursion" and after her early visits to the site she said that "The temple itself was much destroyed, and the broken walls so far buried, that one could not trace the plan of more than the outer court and a few small chambers".


15 The Precinct of the Goddess Mut is an extensive field of ruins about twenty-two acres in size, of which Margaret had chosen to excavate only the central structure. Connected to the southernmost pylons of the larger Amun Temple of Karnak by an avenue of sphinxes, the Mut precinct contains three major temples and a number of smaller structures in various stages of dilapidation. She noted some of these details in her initial description of the site, but in three short seasons she was only able to work inside the Mut Temple proper and she cleared little of its exterior.
Serious study of the temple complex was started at least as early as the expedition of Napoleon at the end of the eighteenth century when artists and engineers attached to the military corps measured the ruins and made drawings of some of the statues.
During the first quarter of the nineteenth century, the great age of the treasure hunters in Egypt, Giovanni Belzoni carried away many of the lion-headed statues and pieces of sculpture to European museums. Champollion, the decipherer of hieroglyphs, and Karl Lepsius, the pioneer German Egyptologist, both visited the precinct, copied inscriptions and made maps of the remains.16 August Mariette had excavated there and believed that he had exhausted the site.
Most of the travelers and scholars who had visited the precinct or carried out work there left some notes or sketches of what they saw and these were useful as references for the new excavation. Since some of the early sources on the site are quoted in her publication, Margaret was obviously aware of their existence.
17A On her return to Egypt at the end of November, 1894, she stopped at Mena House hotel at Giza and for a short time at Helwan, south of Cairo.
Helwan was known for its sulphur springs and from about 1880 it had become a popular health resort, particularly suited for the treatment of the sorts of maladies from which Margaret suffered. People at every turn asked if she remembered them and her donkey-boy almost wept to see her. A "On January 1st, 1895, we began the excavation" -- with a crew composed of four men, sixteen boys (to carry away the earth), an overseer, a night guardian and a water carrier. The largest the work gang would be in the three seasons of excavation was sixteen or seventeen men and eighty boys, still a sizable number. Before the work started Naville came to "interview our overseer and show us how to determine the course of the work". A A good part of Margaret's time was occupied with learning how to supervise the workmen and the basket boys.
Since her spoken Arabic was almost nonexistent, she had to use a donkey-boy as a translator.
It would have been helpful if she had had the opportunity to work on an excavation conducted by a professional and profit from the experience but she was eager to learn and had generally good advice at her disposal so she proceeded in an orderly manner and began to clear the temple. On the second of January she wrote to her mother: "I don't think much will be found of little things, only walls, bases of pillars, and possibly Cat-statues. I shall feel rather like --'Massa in the shade would lay While we poor niggers toiled all day' -- for I am to have a responsible overseer, and my chief duty apparently will be paying. 18A She is described as riding out from the Luxor Hotel on donkey-back with bags of piaster pieces jingling for the Saturday payday. She had been warned to pay each man and boy personally rather than through the overseer to reduce the chances of wages disappearing into the hands of intermediaries.
The workmen believed that she was at least a princess and they wanted to know if her father lived in the same village as the Queen of England.
When they sang their impromptu work songs (as Egyptian workmen still do) they called Margaret the "Princess" and her brother Fred the "Khedive". A PART II: THE EXCAVATIONSA The clearance was begun in the northern, outer, court of the temple where Mariette had certainly worked. Earth was banked to the north side of the court, against the back of the ruined first pylon but on the south it had been dug out even below the level of the pavement. Mariette's map is inaccurate in a number of respects suggesting that he was not able to expose enough of the main walls.
At the first (northern) gate it was necessary for Margaret Benson to clear ten or twelve feet of earth to reach the paving stones at the bottom. In the process they found what were described as fallen roofing blocks, a lion-headed statue lying across and blocking the way, and also a small sandstone head of a hippopotamus.
In the clearance of the court the bases of four pairs of columns were found, not five as on Mariette's map.
After working around the west half of the first court and disengaging eight Sakhmet statues in the process, they came on their first important find. Near the west wall of the court, was discovered a block statue of a man named Amenemhet, a royal scribe of the time of Amenhotep II. The statue is now in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo 19 but Margaret was given a cast of it to take home to England. When it was discovered she wrote to her father: A My Dearest Papa, We have had such a splendid find at the Temple of Mut that I must write to tell you about it. We were just going out there on Monday, when we met one of our boys who works there running to tell us that they had found a statue. When we got there they were washing it, and it proved to be a black granite figure about two feet high, knees up to its chin, hands crossed on them, one hand holding a lotus. 20A The government had appointed an overseer who spent his time watching the excavation for just such finds. He reported it to a sub-inspector who immediately took the block statue away to a store house and locked it up. He said it was hard that Margaret should not have "la jouissance de la statue que vous avez trouve" and she was allowed to take it to the hotel where she could enjoy it until the end of the season when it would become the property of the museum.
The statue had been found on the pavement level, apparently in situ, suggesting to the excavator that this was good evidence for an earlier dating for the temple than was generally believed at the time.
The presence of a statue on the floor of a temple does not necessarily date the temple, but many contemporary Egyptologists might have come to the same conclusion.
One visitor to the site recalled that a party of American tourists were perplexed when Margaret was pointed out to them as the director of the dig.
At that moment she and a friend were sitting on the ground quarreling about who could build the best sand castle.
This was probably not the picture of an "important" English Egyptologist that the Americans had expected. A As work was continued in the first court other broken statues of Sakhmet were found as well as two seated sandstone baboons of the time of Ramesses III. 21 The baboons went to the museum in Cairo, a fragment of a limestone stela was eventually consigned to a store house in Luxor and the upper part of a female figure was left in the precinct where it was recently rediscovered.
The small objects found in the season of 1895 included a few coins, a terra cotta of a reclining "princess", some beads, Roman pots and broken bits of bronze. Time was spent repositioning Sakhmet statues which appeared to be out of place based on what was perceived as a pattern for their arrangement.
Even if they were correct they could not be sure that they were reconstructing the original ancient placement of the statues in the temple or some modification of the original design. In the spirit of neatness and attempting to leave the precinct in good order, they also repaired some of the statues with the aid of an Italian plasterer, hired especially for that purpose.
A Margaret was often bed ridden by her illnesses and she was subject to fits of depression as well but she and her brother Fred would while away the evenings playing impromptu parlor games.
For a fancy dress ball at the Luxor Hotel she appeared costumed as the goddess Mut, wearing a vulture headdress which Naville praised for its ingenuity.
The resources in the souk of Luxor for fancy dress were nonexistent but Margaret was resourceful enough to find material with which to fabricate a costume based, as she said, on "Old Egyptian pictures." A The results of the first season would have been gratifying for any excavator. In a short five weeks the "English Lady" had begun to clear the temple and to note the errors on the older plans available to her. She had started a program of reconstruction with the idea of preserving some of the statues of Sakhmet littering the site.
She had found one statue of great importance and the torso of another which did not seem so significant to her.
Her original intention of digging in a picturesque place where she had been told there was nothing much to be found was beginning to produce unexpected results.A The Benson party arrived in Egypt for the second season early in January of 1896.
After a trip down to, they reached Luxor Aswan around the twenty-sixth and the work began on the thirtieth.
That day Margaret was introduced to Janet Gourlay who had come to assist with the excavation. The beginning of the long relationship between "Maggie" Benson and "Nettie" Gourlay was not signaled with any particular importance.
By May of the same year she was to write (also to her mother): "I like her more and more -- I haven't liked anyone so well in years". Miss Benson and Miss Gourlay seemed to work together very well and to share similar reactions and feelings. They were to remain close friends for much of Margaret's life, visiting and travelling together often.
Their correspondence reflects a deep mutual sympathy and Janet was apparently much on Margaret's mind because she often mentioned her friend in writing to others.
After her relationship with Margaret Benson she faded into obscurity and even her family has been difficult to trace, although a sister was located a few years ago. A For the second season in 1896 the work staff was a little larger, with eight to twelve men, twenty-four to thirty-six boys, a rais (overseer), guardians and the necessary water carrier. With the first court considered cleared in the previous season, work was begun at the gate way between the first and second courts. An investigation was made of the ruined wall between these two courts and the conclusion was drawn that it was "a composite structure" suggesting that part of the wall was of a later date than the rest. The wall east of the gate opening is of stone and clearly of at least two building periods while the west side has a mud brick core faced on the south with stone.
Margaret thought the west half of the wall to be completely destroyed because it was of mud brick which had never been replaced by stone.
She found the remains of "more than one row of hollow pots" which she thought had been used as "air bricks" in some later rebuilding.
Originally built of mud brick, like many of the structures in the Precinct of Mut, the south face of both halves of the wall was sheathed with stone one course thick no later than the Ramesside Period. During the Ptolemaic Period the core of the east half of the mud brick wall was replaced with stone but the Ramesside sheathing was retained. Here the untrained excavator was beginning to understand some of the problems of clearing a temple structure in Egypt. Mariette's plan of the second chamber probably seemed accurate after a superficial examination so a complete clearing seemed unnecessary. Other fragments were found and the original height of the seated statue was estimated between fourteen and sixteen feet high.
The following year de Morgan, the Director General of the Department of Antiquities, ordered the head sent to the museum in Cairo The finding of the large lion head is mentioned in a letter from Margaret to her mother dated February 9, 1896, 22. In the same letter she also mentions the discovery of a statue of Ramesses II on the day before the letter was written.
23.Her published letters often give exact or close dates of discoveries whereas her later publication in the Temple of Mut in Asher was an attempt at a narrative of the work in some order of progression through the temple and dates are often lacking. About the same time that the giant lion head was found some effort was made to raise a large cornerstone block but a crowbar was bent and a rope was broken. The end result of the activity is not explained at that point and the location of the corner not given but it can probably be identified with the southeast cornerstone of the Mut Temple mentioned later in a description of the search for foundation deposits. A Somewhere near the central axis of the second court, but just inside the gateway, they came on the upper half of a royal statue with nemes headdress and the remains of a false beard. There had been inscriptions on the shoulder and back pillar but these had been methodically erased. The lower half was found a little later and it was possible to reconstruct an over life-sized, nearly complete, seated statue of a king. The excavators published it as "possibly" Tutankhamun, an identification not accepted today, and it is still to be seen, sitting to the east of the gateway, facing into the second court.24 A large statue of Sakhmet was also found, not as large as the colossal head, but larger than the other figures still in the precinct and in most Egyptian collections. It was also reconstructed and left in place, on the west side of the doorway where it is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the temple. In the clearance of the second court a feature described as a thin wall built out from the north wall was found in the northeast corner. It was later interpreted by the nineteenth century excavators as part of the arrangement for a raised cloister and it was not until recent excavation that it was identified as the lower part of the wall of a small chapel, built against the north wall of the court. The process of determining any sequence of the levels in the second court was complicated by the fact that it had been worked over by earlier treasure hunters and archaeologists.
In some cases statues were found below the original floor level, leading to the assumption that some pieces had fallen, broken the pavement, and sunk into the floor of their own weight. It is more probable that the stone floors had been dug out and undermined in the search for antiquities.
A An attempt was made to put the area in order for future visitors as the excavation progressed. This included the reconstruction of some of the statues as found and the moving of others in a general attempt to neaten the appearance of the temple.
Other finds made in the second court included inscribed blocks too large to move or reused in parts of walls still standing.
The statue identified as Ramesses II, mentioned in Margaret's letter of February 9, was found on the southwest side of the court, near the center. It was a seated figure in pink granite, rather large in size, but when it was completely uncovered it was found to be broken through the middle with the lower half in an advanced state of disintegration. The upper part was in relatively good condition except for the left shoulder and arm and it was eventually awarded to the excavators. A Mention was also made of several small finds from the second court including a head of a god in black stone and part of the vulture headdress from a statue of a goddess or a queen.
The recent ongoing excavations carried out by the Brooklyn Museum have revealed a female head with traces of a vulture headdress as well as a number of fragments of legs and feet which suggest that the head of the god found by Margaret Benson was from a pair statue representing Amun and Mut. Another important discovery she made on the south side of the court was a series of sandstone relief blocks representing the arrival at Thebes of Nitocris, daughter of Psamtik I, as God's Wife of Amun.25A At some time during the season Margaret was made aware of the possibility that foundation deposits might still be in place.
These dedicatory deposits were put down at the time of the founding of a structure or at a time of a major rebuilding, and they are often found under the cornerstones, the thresholds or under major walls, usually in the center. They contain a number of small objects including containers for food offerings, model tools and model bricks or plaques inscribed with the name of the ruler.
The importance of finding such a deposit in the Temple of Mut was obvious to Margaret because it would prove to everyone's satisfaction who had built the temple, or at least who had made additions to it.
A They first looked for foundation deposits in the middle of the gateway between the first and second courts.
At the same time another part of the crew was clearing the innermost rooms in the south part of the temple. Under the central of the three chambers they discovered a subterranean crypt with an entrance so small that it had to be excavated by "a small boy with a trowel". This chamber has been re-cleared in recent years and proved to be a small rectangular room with traces of an erased one-line text around the four walls. In antiquity the access seems to have been hidden by a paving stone which had to be lifted each time the room was entered. A The search for foundation deposits continued in the southeast corner of the temple (probably the place where the crowbar was bent and the rope broken).
Again no deposit was found but in digging around the cornerstone, below the original ground level, they began to find statues and fragments of statues. As the earth continued to yield more and more pieces of sculpture, Legrain arrived from the Amun Temple, where he was supervising the excavation, and announced his intention to take everything away to the storehouse.
Aside from the pleasure of the find, it was important to have the objects at hand for study, comparison and the copying of inscriptions.




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