WILLIAM GILLETTE (1853-1937)
Eleven autograph letters signed to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (two are addressed jointly to Sir Arthur and Lady [Jean] Conan Doyle), Savoy Hotel, London, Lyceum, The Plaza Hotel, New York, Chicago, Chester, Connecticut, and elsewhere, 1905-1918 and n.d., 30 pages, 8vo; also an autograph letter signed to Lady [Jean] Conan Doyle, 1928 and one autograph letter signed with initials 'W. G[illette]', to 'C. F.', 1907, seven mounted or with traces of mount and glue, one with left-hand margin torn.
In an undated letter (headed Lyceum Theatre) Gillette assures Conan Doyle that he was attending to all the points he had raised in his letter ('I WANT all of your suggestions. Don't talk about being a nuisance'), but stresses 'it is difficult to change an actor's style - Abingden [W. L. Abingdon who played Professor Moriarty] has his set very strong' and insisting 'Watson has always had the 2nd button [of his waistcoat] missing. You failed to see it - but I don't see what else we can do. Do you?'.
In 1911 Gillette sends a Pinkerton account of 'a great criminal' [not present]: 'Do you notice how well the old "Sherlock" still does on this side?'; later he commiserates on the war "our getting into the struggle on this side kept me here" and in an undated letter assures him 'You must not grow weary of the fact that we are still here - trying our level U. S. best to get your "Sherlock" before your public as a living presence'.
'Sherlock Holmes' in 4 Acts by Edgar Hayes, manuscript on paper, with stage directions and notes on pronunciation, titlepage, original glazed cloth, 100 pages plus blanks, 4to.
A note by Jean Conan Doyle states that this is a 'Copy of the script of the Gillette Sherlock Holmes' but the cast numbers only twelve compared with twenty in the Royal Lyceum production.
Programme of Gillette in Sherlock Holmes, Royal Lyceum Theatre, London.
William Gillette as Sherlock Holmes, printed volume of photographs, original paper covers, New York, 1900, 2to, edges frayed.
The actor-manager William Gillette was the original stage Sherlock Holmes and many of the characteristics of the great detective in the popular imagination were created by Gillette. In 1899 he adapted Sherlock Holmes for Broadway. Born in Hartford, Connecticut, he made his professional debut at the Globe Theater, Boston.
The copyright performance of Sherlock Holmes, a drama in four acts, by Conan Doyle and Gillette took place at the Duke of York's Theatre, London, on 12 June 1899. It was performed at the Garrick Theater, New York 6 November 1899 - 12 June 1900. (13)