U Sherlock Holmes exhibit draws fans from around world

by Tim Sturrock

Maybe it’s his powers of deduction or the elegance of the Victorian era. Julie McKuras, a longtime Sherlockian, can’t explain the appeal of Sherlock Holmes.

McKuras volunteers at Anderson Library and helps maintain its Sherlock Holmes exhibition, which includes stuffed animals, dolls and rare copies of books – anything related to Sherlock Holmes.

Through the end of July, Anderson Library will exhibit just a portion of its Sherlock Holmes collection, the largest in the world.

Some books were signed by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the original author; others Holmes stories were written by different authors in homage to the famous detective.

The collection marks more than twenty years of efforts by University staff to accumulate Sherlock Holmes books, documents and memorabilia.

Tim Johnson, curator of the exhibition, said the collection gained momentum and eventually became the largest in the world.

Last week people from around the world came to Anderson Library for a conference to look at the exhibition and discuss Sherlock Holmes.

Johnson said Sherlockians aren’t that strange. “Trekkies go way more overboard than Sherlock Holmes fans do,” he said.

McKuras said that when she meets with other fans often they don’t even talk about Holmes. “Many of us are also good friends,” he said.

As McKuras took fellow Sherlockians on tours of the underground archive, many of them remembered seeing some of the collection in the homes of deceased friends.

McKuras likes to think that Holmes actually existed.

“He was a well-drawn character that ended up taking on a life of his own,” McKuras said.

Tim Sturrock encourages comments at [email protected]