MINNEAPOLIS, MN (December 29, 2009) – Moviegoers spent a record $24.9 million on Christmas Day to watch Sherlock Holmes solve a crime in 19th century London.
However, researchers wanting to know more about the famous sleuth travel to the University of Minnesota, where Covenanter Tim Johnson oversees the world’s largest collection of memorabilia related to the detective.
Johnson, a former Evangelical Covenant Church archivist, is the curator of special collections and rare books at the University of Minnesota Libraries.
The Minnesota Sherlock Holmes Collections has more than 15,000 volumes – other pieces bring the archive to 60,000 or more, Johnson recently told the Associated Press. The collection is stored on shelves in a cavern roughly 85 feet below ground at the Elmer L. Andersen Library, where temperature and humidity levels are controlled.
The memorabilia include such things as magnifying glasses, an ice cream carton with a cartoon cow wearing Holmes’ iconic deerstalker cap, and a pillow with an image of Sherlock Hemlock, a Muppet character from “Sesame Street.”
Volumes of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s work include copies of the Holmes stories owned by the last empress of Russia to an original manuscript page of “The Hound of the Baskervilles.”
A “happy series of accidents” led to the start and development of the collection, Johnson says.