Treasures of the Month
Our Collection contains approximately 3000 objects, 16,000 books and 40,000 documents and photos in the archives. Each month we will delve into the Collection to showcase one of these treasures.
This year's treasures are below. Previous years can be viewed via the tabs above.
Treasure of the Month - April 2017
Inspiration from Edgar Allan Poe
In 1841 the American writer Edgar Allan Poe created a fictional amateur sleuth, Auguste Dupin, a solitary figure able to solve murders through close observation. Was he the inspiration for Sherlock Holmes who first appears in 1887? Teasingly Doyle acknowledges the similarity, and disparity, in ‘Study in Scarlet’ when Holmes remarks, ‘You think you are complimenting me in comparing me to Dupin… a very inferior fellow’.
Poe was perhaps better known for his Gothic Horror stories, typified by apparitions and macabre deaths. We find these in Sherlock Holmes: an ancient curse and spectral beast in ‘Hound of the Baskervilles’; locked- room murders and strange music in ‘Speckled Band’, and the delightfully horrific title ‘The Man with the Twisted Lip’.
How much Poe influenced Doyle’s writing, and how much was simply a response to popular taste, is probably a matter for the academics.
Photograph of Arthur Conan Doyle with his children, Denis, Adrian and Billie standing outside Edgar Allan Poe's house at Fordham, New York in America
Inscription: Found in an envelope marked 'Photo of Arthur and the children at Edgar Allen Poe's house. Taken on our American tour in 1922' in Jean Conan Doyle's handwriting
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‘There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact’, states Sherlock Holmes
This short letter, from around 1926, provides a revealing insight into Conan Doyle’s indulgent relationship with his wayward youngest son.
‘There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact’, said Sherlock Holmes.
The Christmas Exhibition at Portsmouth Central Library showcased some of the many Christmas cards in the collection collected by Richard Lancelyn Green.(Janary 2017)