The Maniac Collector's Inbox (62)
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The Crowded-Box Room (2nd Edition)
By Don Hobbs
A few years back I had the semi-brilliant idea that I would publish a book that listed every Sherlockian newsletter, journal, and magazine. Scion publications and non-scion publications alike were to be included. I wanted to list every volume and every number and the specific date for each publication. As it turned out, I had really bitten off a huge chunk of Sherlockian undertaking.
The scope of the project grew and grew. As the idea developed, wearing my best Jay Finley Christ look-a-like cap, I came up with a 3-letter abbreviation for each publication. Some of them were easy, such BSJ for The Baker Street Journal or BSM for Baker Street Miscellanea but others were not so easily defined. The reasoning behind this was directly related to my collection of publications. I needed a way to have them organized on my shelves. Peter Blau's excellent Scuttlebutt From the Spermaceti Press was coded as SSP. Peter was quick to tell me no one would refer to it as SSP. I knew this and explained it was simply for a convenient way of shelving.
I poured through all of the publications I had in my collection and the Inventory section of The Baker Street Journal. I wrote massive numbers of letters and e-mails. I had many wonderful Sherlockian who send me the missing information. With the help of Leslie Klinger, I was able to publish 50 copies of The Crowded-Box Room. Each edition cost about $25 to produce and even so I quickly sold out. That was in 1999. That was the end of that, at so I thought.
Recently I was contacted by Christy Richards who is working on a post graduate degree at UNC. She was wanted to know about The Sherlock Holmes Scion Society of Chapel Hill and specifically about Ineffable Twaddle, the newsletter they published. No problem, I would just look it up in The Crowded-Box Room except it when I did, it was not listed. She sent me a photocopy of Inffable Twaddle from the library of The University of North Carolina, where they had received it in the post in February 1982.
James Clark and Marcia Decker edited this publication. It is listed as Series III no.01, January - February 1982. None of the Sherlockians I have contacted remember this society or publication. Christy asked me about some other publications that I was able to find and provide the information to her. The same week however, I had two more inquiries about The Crowded-Box Room. After four years of no interest, suddenly the thing started showing signs of life.
Since 1999, there have been several new Sherlockian publications and sadly, there have been some "deaths". I have begun updating my original database with the hopes of publishing a second edition of The Crowded-Box Room. This time I hope to produce a cheaper but more informative book. I also hope to fill in some of those nagging gaps in the first edition.
I would like to make a plea to Sherlockians everywhere to help me. I have a document that lists all of the publications I need more information on. I have this in either Miscrosoft Word or plain text format. If anyone would care to assist, please contact me at djhobbs @ airmail.net. I plan of collecting data until the end of November 2003.