May 22

This Day in History

Literary

May 22, 1859:

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is born

It's the birthday of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of master sleuth Sherlock Holmes.

Doyle was born in Scotland and studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh, where he met Dr. Joseph Bell, a teacher with extraordinary deductive reasoning power. Bell partly inspired Doyle's character Sherlock Holmes years later.

After medical school, Doyle moved to London, where his slow medical practice left him ample free time to write. 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. Holmes enabled Doyle to leave his medical practice in 1891 and devote himself to writing, but the author soon grew weary of his creation. In The Final Problem, he killed off both Holmes and his nemesis, Dr. Moriarty, only to resuscitate Holmes later due to popular demand. In 1902, Doyle was knighted for his work with a field hospital in South Africa. In addition to dozens of Sherlock Holmes stories and several novels, Doyle wrote history, pursued whaling, and engaged in many adventures and athletic endeavors. After his son died in World War I, Doyle became a dedicated spiritualist. He died in 1930.

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