July 7

This Day in History

Literary

Jul 7, 1852:

Birthday of Sherlock Holmes' sidekick, Dr. Watson

According to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's stories, Dr. John H. Watson is born on this day. Coincidentally, the author died on this day in England at the age of 71.

Conan Doyle was born in Scotland in 1859 and studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh. At the University, he studied with Dr. Joseph Bell, whose extraordinary deductive powers were said to be the inspiration for Conan Doyle's character Sherlock Holmes.

After medical school, Conan Doyle moved to London, where he practiced medicine and wrote. His first Sherlock Holmes story, "A Study in Scarlet," was published in Beeton's Christmas Annual in 1887. Starting in 1891, a series of Holmes stories appeared in The Strand magazine.

The popularity of the stories enabled Conan Doyle to leave his medical practice in 1891 and devote himself to writing. But he grew tired of his character and had him hurled off a cliff, to his presumed death, in "The Final Problem". He later resuscitated Holmes due to popular demand. In 1902, Conan Doyle was knighted for his work with a field hospital in South Africa. After his son died in World War I, Conan Doyle became a dedicated spiritualist, attempting to contact his late son through the help of a medium. He died in 1930.

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