Happy Birthday, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle!

Doyle, a Scottish physician and writer, is best remembered as the creator of Sherlock Holmes, one of crime fiction’s most beloved characters.

Holmes—and his intrepid sidekick Watson—first appeared in A Study in Scarlet, published in the 1886 Beeton’s Christmas Annual. Holmes was partially modeled after Joseph Bell, Doyle’s former university professor. Doyle wrote to Bell, “It is most certainly to you that I owe Sherlock Holmes… [R]ound the centre of deduction and inference and observation which I have heard you inculcate I have tried to build up a man.”

In December of 1893, Doyle resolved to concentrate on what he considered his more important work—his historical novels. He had Holmes and Professor Moriarty plunge to their (ostensible) deaths in “The Final Problem.” Public outcry demanded that he revive his much loved sleuth. He did so in 1901’s The Hound of the Baskervilles, first published in Strand Magazine. He set the novel before the “The Final Problem.” Holmes was officially revived in 1903’s “The Adventure of the Empty House, ” in which he explains Moriarty’s death and his own miraculous survival. 

Pictured: 1) a 1901 publicity poster announcing the publication of Hound of the Baskervilles. It was illustrated by Albert Morrow. 2) Front cover of the original publisher’s binding, designed by Alfred Garth Jones. It sports a silhouette of a hound, printed in black amidst red cloth and gold accents.