Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle was born at Edinburgh, Scotland on this day in 1859. He studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh from 1876 to 1881. He served as ship's medical officer on two voyages before opening a practice with a classmate which lasted only a short time before he opened his own practice at Portsmouth. He had sold at least one story earlier, a lack of patients gave him time for more. In 1890 he studied the eye at Vienna, returning to open a London ophthalmology practice which attracted no patients at all. To make more time for his historical novels he killed Sherlock Holmes in 1893, but the public insisted on a return. He covered the Boer War as a journalist and wrote a pamphlet justifying the English position; he believed this was the reason for his knighthood in 1902. In addition to the Sherlock Holmes stories and novels, he wrote five science
fiction novels featuring Professor Challenger, seven historical novels, and a long list of articles, plays, romances, and plays.
Growing up in Connecticut I can remember visiting the Gillette Castle State Park in East Haddam on the Connecticut River. Gillette was a major playwright in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century; however he is best known for playing Sherlock Holmes on stage. It was a real treat for me, as I have always loved the Sherlock Holmes novels and movies (Basil Rathbone was by far the best Holmes in my opinion.) If you ever get the chance to visit the castle, I strongly recommend it.
The following quotes are from Sir Arthur:
Depend upon it, there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones.
Detection is, or ought to be, an exact science, and should be treated in the same cold unemotional manner. You have attempted to tinge it with romanticism, which produces the same effect as if you worked a love-story into the fifth proposition of Euclid.
I have seen too much not to know that the impression of a woman may be more valuable than the conclusion of an
It is quite a three pipe problem, and I beg that you won't speak to me for fifty minutes.
The unexpected has happened so continually in my life that it has ceased to deserve the name.
“What you do in this world is a matter of no consequence”, returned my companion, bitterly. “The question is, what can
you make people believe that you have done.”
– Arthur Conan Doyle, 1859 – 1930