A large selection of Sherlock Holmes fiction, scholarship, and memorabilia was recently donated to the LSU Libraries’ Special Collections by Russell Mann, a retired professor of journalism at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Mann started building the collection in the 1990s. It is especially strong in “non-canonical” fiction (Holmes stories written by authors other than Doyle), comic books and graphic novels featuring Holmes, and rare scholarly publications, including journals of Holmes societies from around the world. The collection will join the ranks of about a dozen major Holmes collections in the United States and be one of the largest in the South.
When Sir Arthur Conan Doyle published the first Sherlock Holmes story in 1887, he could not have known that within a decade, his fictional detective would take on a life of his own. The four original Holmes novels and 56 short stories, in fact, have inspired thousands of derivative works, from pastiches and parodies, to films, plays, musicals, radio broadcasts, comics, graphic novels, video games, and even cookbooks. A vast scholarly literature on Holmes and Doyle also exists, shedding light on the Victorian super sleuth and his equally fascinating creator, who played a key role in raising public awareness of forensic science and modern crime-scene investigation techniques.
It is hoped that the collection will be of interest to students and scholars of subjects ranging from literature and history to popular culture, film, graphic arts, and more.
The Russell Mann Sherlock Holmes Research Collection is currently being cataloged thanks to a generous gift of funding from the donor. Many materials are already available for use; please contact the library with questions regarding access. The collection will be featured in an exhibition this fall, developed by Michael Taylor, Curator of Books.