Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson fandom is surely the oldest organized fandom existing today. Major fan clubs formed in 1934 in both London and New York. Even before that groups met papers were written about the subject (fan-fiction, new stories of Sherlock Holmes, mostly came later: many are published every year now that the original stories up to those written before 1922 are out of copyright). The New York group, called The Baker Street Irregulars, has existed continuously since 1934 when it was founded by Christopher Morley. The Sherlock Holmes Society of London disbanded as World War II approach but then reorganized a little more than a decade later. Famous novelists like Dorothy L. Sayers and Rex Stout belonged to the clubs and submitted scholarly papers and talks on Sherlock Holmes. Two United States Presidents, Roosevelt and Truman, also belonged as did Isaac Asimov and many other names most of us recognize. This fandom is serious about its love for a character who as one fan said early on, "Never lived and so can never die." (Vincent Starrett)

The Sherlock fandom has been called the fandom which waited, but their wait was nothing compared with the fans of the original stories who saw their hero killed by his creator, who then claimed for 10 years that Sherlock Holmes was truly dead and could never be resurrected, until finally the cry was heard by media which offered high sums of money to Arthur Conan Doyle and so Sherlock Holmes returned to life.

Some papers written about Holmes or presented to the above clubs for more than a century:
  • "Studies in the Literature of Sherlock Holmes" by Ronald A. Knox (1912)
  • "Dr. Watson Speaks Out" by A.A. Milne (1929)
  • "Oxford or Cambridge? Holmes' College Career" by Dorothy L. Sayers (1934)
  • "The Mystery of Mycroft" by Ronald A. Knox (1934)
  • "On Moriarty On the Nomenclature of the Brothers Moriarty" by Anthony Boucher (1941)
  • "Dr. Watson's Christian Name" by Dorothy L. Sayers (1944)
  • "Watson Was a Woman" by Rex Stout (1944)
  • "Letter re Holmes as an American" by Franklin D. Roosevelt (1945) - this may be related to a previous article "Was Sherlock Holmes an American?" by Christopher Morley (1936)
Fans, Fandom and FanFiction (sometimes referred to as "non-Canonical writing") up to the 21st Century
  • As for fan fiction, it started even earlier than the literary criticisms (shortly after his death was announced) - source Sherlock Holmes Letters, edited by R.L. Green:
    • "The earliest pastiche ia thought to be 'My Evening with Sherlock Holmes', which appeared in the Speaker on 28 November 1891 and described a visit to Baker Street" (Ibid p. 7)
    • "The earliest known burlesque is one by C. C. Rothwell in the Ludgate Weekly of 9 April 1892, which concerned Sherlwood Hoakes of Quaker Street; but Robert Barrr's 'detective story gone wrong' in the May 1892 Idler is far better known.
    • "Stories and verses about the ghost of Sherlock Holmes were numerous." (Ibid p. 10)
    • "The Reerudescence of Sherlock Holmes" by Frank Marshall White "appeared in New York Life in October 1894... described how Holmes had escaped and made his way to America via China (Ibid p. 11)
    • "The Reappearance of Sherlock Holmes" in Puck on 25 September 1895 had Holmes and Moriarty survive by using parachutes."
    • Gertrude Clay's female detective, Miss Clara Beauchamp, "whose methods were...similar to those of Sherlock Holmes." (Ibid p. 11)<
    • American fans coined the word 'Sherlockian' in December 1902. (Ibid p. 14)<
    • Trinity College members started the study of the chronology of the stories in January 1902.
  • Bustle: Fan Fiction Has A Bad Name, But Do People Really Understand What It Is?
  • Lois McMaster Bujold (tied for most Hugo Awards for novels) has an essay on fan fiction saying, "People do not sign on to 'endure the unexquisite agony of writing', as Edward Gorey puts it, because they are indifferent to stories, but because they are overwhelmed by them."
  • Patricia C. Wrede on fanfiction says, "There is a lot of very good writing in fanfiction. And plenty of bad, too; Sturgeon’s Law most definitely applies – 90% of everything is crud. But that last 10% can be very, very good, and in at least some cases, I think one reason is that the writers do not have to angst about 'being original' – at least, not as long as they write fan fiction." And Cara M replies to this in a comment, "The thing that excites me about retellings are when by using something old, we can see how much the world has changed, or how people have different viewpoints."
  • Bustle: Sherlock Holmes is in the Public Domain (mostly). Copyright no longer applies to the original character but Aspects of Sherlock Created for the TV Show are Copyrighted
  • Kickstarter-funded web series based off Sherlock spin-off is the future of fan fiction - not only discusses this new venture but other things happening in Sherlock fandom and how it developed from other fandoms.
  • Devotion to 'Timeless' Sherlcok Holmes from CBS Sunday Morning Story (including Arthur Conan Doyle).

Some FanFiction stories (no slash or cross over, just scenes or stories that could exist in the Sherlock universe. (Please email links to your favorite such fan fiction to

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