The Lilly Library's“Sherlock in 221 Objects” exhibit opened Aug. 1 and will continue to be the library’s featured exhibit until Dec. 16. The public galleries are free and open 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.
The exhibit includes various pieces from the collection of Glen S. Miranker relating to Sherlock Holmes, including special editions of the novels, pirated copies of the novels and personal correspondence of the author. The exhibit was curated by both Miranker and his wife, Cathy Miranker..
The Lilly Library will conduct The Adventures of a Sherlockian Collector event at 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 18, 2022, which is a conversation with Miranker and noted author and literary critic Michael Dirda followed by an after-hours viewing of the Lilly Library.
“The exhibition is distinct because it consists of books and manuscripts that are not normally on display,”Erika Dowell, Lilly Library Associate Director & Curator of Modern Books and Manuscripts, said. “To be able to see three leaves from the hand-written manuscript of The Hound of the Baskervilles — that is very cool.”
The Sherlock Holmes exhibit is displayed in Lilly Library’s entry rooms, spanning both the front and back rooms. Each piece is numbered and corresponds to a description of the significance and historical background of the piece.
There are free drop-in tours from 2-3 p.m. every Friday. Erin Chiparo, Lilly Library Research and Teaching Coordinator, said the tours take attendees through highlights of the “Sherlock in 221 Objects” exhibit as well at the library’s two permanent displayed pieces: John James Audubon’s “The Birds of America” and the Gutenberg Bible.
“I think the exhibition can be a little overwhelming at first, especially for those who might not be as familiar with the world of book collecting,” Chiparo said. “But there is definitely something in it that will appeal to everyone, from the most hardcore fans to the more casual viewer.”
The exhibit consists of bibliographic rarities, manuscripts, books, pirated works, correspondence and artwork. The exhibit provides information that adds to the depth of the stereotypical Sherlock Holmes story and provides some humanistic qualities.
Some of the most popular pieces include a Christmas card from the actor William Gillette, who played Sherlock, to Sherlock Holmes author, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and a handwritten manuscript of “The Hound of the Baskervilles,” Chiparo said. These pieces demonstrate the varying types of material that exist in the collection.
Since the exhibit is open to the public, IU students and members of the Bloomington community can look through the exhibit on their own or during the walk-in tours.
“The displays felt really thoughtfully curated,” IU freshman Kaia Wells said. “The sheer number of copies in different editions, all from a similar time, was really surprising to me.”
The Lilly Library also features online exhibits and various other exhibits that will take residence in the library throughout each year. More details are listed on the Lilly Library website.