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The Speckled Band of Boston Celebrates 75th Anniversary

The Speckled Band of Boston Celebrates 75th Anniversary

“It was the band! The speckled band!”

– The Adventure of The Speckled Band (SPEC)

Photo by Scott Monty – I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere, Episode 77

April 24, 2015 at the Tavern Club, in an alley off Boylston Street opposite the Common, was held the 75th anniversary dinner of the Speckled Bank of Boston. The officers, Keeper of the Band Daniel Posnansky, Herpeton Dean W. Fairbrother, Cheetah Tom Francis, Poker Richard Olken, Keeper Emeritus John D. Constable and Executive Officers Daniel Polvere, and Glen Miranker were all in attendance as well a very healthy number of members and guests—all male—from near and far.

The SBB is steeped in tradition, starting with its single gender membership and ending with its dinner menu, unchanged, but cooked anew, since 1940. The Band is an official and one of the earliest scion societies of The Baker Street Irregulars. Its annual dinners are usually held in April, to commemorate the month Holmes and Watson’s investigation to the mysterious doings at Stoke Moran occurred.

Members arrive before dinner for libations and hors d’oeuvres, catching up with old friends and making new ones. When dinner is called, members crowd into the second floor dining room where, after the Prayer for The Speckled Band of Boston and between Vichyssoise a la Vernet, Steak and Kidney Pie a la Martha Hudson, Salad Five Orange Pips and dessert of Trifle Irene Adler, there are toasts to the Two Queens, founder James Keddie, Sr., Holmes and Watson, the Stoner sisters, Grimesby Roylott (hisssss) and the reading of the Musgrave Ritual in Latin and English. There is also a quiz and an awarding to the winner of the Quiz Bowl.

After dinner there is a rousing rendition of “We Never Mention Aunt Clara” sung by all then an ascent to the third floor stage for the Feast pro Mente where a reading of papers, usually three and usually done by those wishing to attain membership, is held. The paper voted best by applause results in the winner holding for a year a magnificent engraved silver Paul Revere bowl—The Sherlock Holmes Bowl—and a smaller replica to keep.

The SSB irregularly publish a book of scholarship, starting with The Second Cab (1947, 300 copies)—so named from a misremembrance of Holmes’ admonition to Watson in “The Final Problem”–, The Third Cab (1960, 500 copies), The Fourth Cab (1976, 100 copies), The Best of the Cabs (1980, 100 copies) The Fifth Cab (1988, 150 copies). There will be a 75th anniversary The Sixth Cab, limited to 75 copies, later this year.

For an aural history of the 75th dinner, I recommend listening to “I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere Episode 77: The Speckled Band of Boston” and to “I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere Episode 75: Prince of the Sherlockian Realm” with Sonia Fetherston on her biography of Bliss Austin.  Bliss was present at one of the Band’s most infamous dinners which Sonia recounts in the podcast.

James C. O'LearyJames C. O’Leary, the 28th Garrideb known as Others Perhaps Less Excusable, assumes the editorship of The Watsonian with the Fall 2015 issue and authored the second monograph in the JHWS Monograph Series Some Observations Upon the Early Writing of John H Watson, MD, 1887-1894, an incredible bargain at $12.00 postpaid and available from the John H Watson Society.

One Response to The Speckled Band of Boston Celebrates 75th Anniversary

  1. This may never be read, as the letter I am responding to is four years old. I am an eighty-one year old Sherlockian in Tennessee. There is a story related in the very first issue of the Baker Street Journal (1946) p 93 wherein P M Stone told Jim Keddie of his long and fruitless search for a 1904 Parker Brothers card game called “Sherlock Holmes” and of Keddie’s later finding a set in an old tin trunk in his attic. The story interested me and I have just bought such a game over eBay. I just wanted to share this with the Boston brethren. If you come to Nashville, drop in- the bar is always open. Regards, Dave Price

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