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Meet The Garridebs: Dr. Robert S. Katz

Meet The Garridebs: Dr. Robert S. Katz

“… Dr. Ainstree, the greatest living authority …”

– The Adventure of The Dying Detective (DYIN)

Bob Katz
Photo by Michael Paras ~ Haverford Fall 2014 issue

It is fitting that we get to meet the 29th Garrideb, Dr. Robert S. Katz, aka Dr. Ainstree, this month as we are discussing The Adventure of The Copper Beeches. Since 2012, Bob has been the Head Mastiff (Gasogene) of the Philadelphia scion, The Sons of The Copper Beeches and has been a Master Copper-Beech-Smith for over 30 years.

A 1972 graduate of Baker Street Irregulars founder Christopher Morley’s alma mater, Haverford College, Katz went on to earn his medical degree at the Albert Einstein School of Medicine. Bob has retired after spending 35 years practicing Pathology.

Katz is a member of Mrs. Hudson’s Cliffdwellers – “Dr. Joseph Bell,” the Priory Scholars of New York City, the Grillparzer Club of the Hoboken Free State, and the Adventuresses of Sherlock Holmes – “Dr. Jackson.” In addition, Katz was Gasogene XXI of the Six Napoleons of Baltimore, and is currently a Director of the John H Watson Society – “Willow.”

Receiving his investiture shilling from the Baker Street Irregulars in 1983 as “Dr. Ainstree,” Bob would receive the BSI’s coveted Two Shilling Award in 1995. In 1990, Bob founded the Epilogues of Sherlock Holmes, and 25 years later, is still leading the highly intense story discussions at their quarterly meetings.

1909-S VDB Lincoln Cent

Bob collected coins during his childhood and is proud that he still recalls the significance of a 1909-S VDB Lincoln Cent – a low mintage coin struck at the San Francisco mint before designer Victor David Brenner’s initials were removed from the reverse. The VDB initials would be added back in 1918, under Lincoln’s shoulder.

Preferring to focus on Sherlockian friendships, Bob does not actively collect “Sherlockian stuff.” His other interests are varied and include the American Civil War, classic Hollywood films, and history of medicine.

BSIMS-Wrong PassageBSIMS-Irregular StainBSIMS-Out of the Abyss

A prolific speaker and author, Katz has presented papers at numerous scion meetings and annual BSI dinners, as well as being published in many periodicals – The Baker Street Journal and The Watsonian, just to name two. Along with Andy Solberg, Katz co-edited the BSI Manuscript Series books on “The Golden Pince-Nez,” The Wrong Passage and “The Second Stain,” Irregular Stain. Katz, Solberg and Steven Rothman would edit the most recent BSI Manuscript Series book on “The Empty House,” Out of The Abyss.

When asked to name his favorite story from the Canon, Bob replied, “All of them….that’s like asking me which of my children I prefer…they’re all wonderful and there’s something of interest in all of them.” Other favorite authors (besides Arthur Conan Doyle) of Bob’s include George McDonald Fraser, CS Forrester, John Le Carre, Bruce Catton, and Albert Camus.

We mentioned earlier that Bob likes to focus on friendships, so it should be no surprise that when we asked him what famous person he would choose to dine with, he could not limit his response to just one name. Bob would have a very large table and invite Alexander the Great, Nathaniel Greene, Sigmund Freud, Bruce Catton, Winston Churchill, TE Lawrence, Sir John Monash, Henry V, Judah P Benjamin, Robert Clive, Napoleon Bonaparte, Marc Bloch, Chester Nimitz, William Powell, John Wayne, Hedy Lamarr, Mae West, Jean Harlow, Rosalind Franklin, J Robert Oppenheimer, Groucho/Harpo/Chico, Moe/Larry/Curly….and of course Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Mr. Sherlock Holmes, and Dr. John H. Watson.

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