About

About the Society

Founded April 11, 2013, during a time of burgeoning momentum in “Things Doyle,” the John H. Watson Society seeks a level of equality in scholarship and enthusiasm for the life and work of John H Watson, M. D. We are an open and inclusive Society, seeking the collegiality and conviviality of Members worldwide and at all stages of involvement in Watsonian, Sherlockian and Holmesian interests. Really, we are about having fun.

The Members are committed to recognition of Doctor Watson’s contributions, albeit often masked and misunderstood, to the cases, adventures and memoirs he wrote as the first biographer of Sherlock Holmes. The Society believes that Watson has an equality of stature with Holmes and that his accomplishments and talents deserve further scholarship and research. The various film and TV depictions of John H Watson have introduced opportunities for Revisionist concepts and writing never before entertained, and the endless research into the Traditionalist relationship of Watson to the Canon is, equally, verdant with new potential.

The impetus for the Society, conceptually and philosophically, comes from the highly energetic and enthusiastic culture of The Napa Valley Napoleons of S. H., a scion club of the Baker Street Irregulars, with three decades of tradition in the Sherlockian experience and guided for all those years by Prof Don Yates and Dr Joanne Yates. Now, with the wisdom and background of great Sherlockians and the enthusiasm of those newly drawn to The Game, The John H Watson Society seeks to elevate the broader objectives of the study of Doctor Watson and his relationship to Sherlock Holmes, and to bring yet deeper layers of understanding, innovation and enthusiasm to future generations of Watsonians and Sherlockians equally.

The Society’s Regalia

The Society’s Motto is that of the Clan Watson: “Insperata Floruit” (“It has Flourished Beyond Expectation”)

The Society’s Toast is: “Good old Watson! You are the one fixed point in a changing age.”

The Society’s Greeting to fellow members is: “You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive.”

The Society’s Symbol is: The Clan Watson Seal and Motto “Insperata Floruit” (“It Has Flourished Beyond Expectation”)

1389639964

The Society Lapel pin is available for purchase in the John H Watson Society Shop.

The Legacy of the Boy in Buttons

It’s been a few days and I’m still reeling from the pain of our loss. It is hard to get one’s equilibrium back in this sort of situation. One thing that haunts me terribly is that our dear Don Libey was apparently anxious over the fate of the John H Watson Society while in the hospital. He loved the society so much and he did everything he could over the years to make it a warm and welcoming corner of the virtual world. So even as things were not going well for him, he still thought of us and the community he built for us with such affection and care.

I wish I were there at that moment in time to convince him that everything would be alright for the JHWS. I wish I could have had a way to set his mind at ease – that I could show him the proof of my vow with solid, undeniable evidence as Sherlock Holmes would do for Dr. Watson whenever in doubt of the truth. Since I couldn’t be there to do that for Don, I feel strongly obligated to do the next best thing for him: Make certain the JHWS will turn out alright.

Shortly after the devastating news reached me on Sunday, I began a discussion about the JHWS with Don’s dear friend, Bob Katz “Willow.” He explained to me that Don had been thinking about passing on the torch of leadership for some time now and had been hoping for someone to take up the moniker “Buttons II” to continue the legacy of his work.

Unfortunately, there is one clear fault in this plan: no one else could be a “Buttons.” There’s only one true “Buttons” and that will always be so. I can imagine no one else who could match the enthusiasm, love and dedication that Don Libey offered to the John H Watson Society every day since its inception. This is a fact I believe we must accept.

Yet there is one other fact that we must not overlook: Our “Buttons” had a knack for gathering talented and enthusiastic people together. He could see the special qualities in a person’s spirit and draw it out of them with warmth, encouragement, and inspiration. As a result of his innate skill, I believe that the John H Watson Society is composed of some of the most talented, driven, and inspired individuals I have ever had the pleasure to encounter.

One person cannot be to the JHWS the same as Don Libey was and always will be to the JHWS. However, when we band together as a community, we become everything that our dear “Buttons” stood for and thus become a reflection of all that he wished the JHWS to represent.

By continuing the John H Watson Society, we would allow it to keep flourishing beyond all expectations. In doing so, I believe we can show any who encounter our society what a good man our Buttons was and how lucky we were to know him.

Now, the question is… how do we do this? It is one thing to say “we can continue” but it is another thing altogether to get up and do so. Buttons took on so many roles and accomplished so many tasks, that no one else can fit that much into their schedule easily. Yet as a community, as a Society, I believe this is a goal we can achieve together.

So, with the blessing of Bob Katz “Willow” and our dear Andrea Stewart “Asta,” I will do whatever I can to coordinate the John H Watson Society. I won’t be a true “Buttons II,” as I don’t have the talent nor the skill. Please consider me as “Carla Buttons” instead. I cannot create quizzes, act as treasurer, or perform many other tasks that need to be done, but I can organize people and I can design the journal… so that’s what I’ll do for the JHWS. I’ll act as the main switchboard, a fixed point to turn to for questions, suggestions, ideas, and feedback.

The Watsonian will continue. The details for future volumes will need time to sort out, but the April volume will go to the printers without any problems. Also, I’ve seen the printed editions of the new Fiction Series and the latest edition to The Monograph Series, which just arrived from the printers this week, and I think they both turned out rather well.

I’ll finish the design and layout of the April 2015 edition of The Watsonian in a few weeks – it’s quite a hefty volume, full of amazing contributions and one of Buttons’ finest editorial accomplishments as far as I’m concerned. Once The Watsonian is submitted to the printers in early April, both The Watsonian and The Fiction Series will be sent to every member’s doorstep. The Monograph Series will also be available soon, so keep your eyes peeled for an announcement here in a week or so.

The entire working structure of the John H Watson Society is still in the process of forming, but I’m happy to announce a few who have officially taken up specific roles:

Andrea Stewart “Asta” shall continue to handle the treasury, which she is currently managing quite admirably. I have no words for how amazing she is to do this both for her beloved Don Libey and for the sake of the JHWS.

Beth Gallego “Selena” will continue to maintain and care for the website, as our lovely and talented Victorian Webmistress.

Margie Deck “Gwen” will host this year’s Annual International Treasure Hunt, because she is both devious and incredible. She has also taken to calling me “TheBiB,” due to that aforementioned devious streak.

Denny Dobry “Kirby” shall be our Eminent Supreme Exalted Grand High Master of Inquisition (wait a second… what?) our gracious Quizmaster. We’ll work out the details and regularity of new brilliant quizzes to challenge your mind, so please anticipate seeing them in the near future.

There are several other tasks and necessary roles which I shall address in the coming weeks, so I will announce any and all news here on site whenever I can.

It’s quite obvious at this point that I wish to ask for volunteers to keep the John H Watson Society active and enjoyable. Indeed, quite a few generous people have already reached out to offer use of their time and talents without any reservation. However, I am not here to ask each of you for all of your time and all of your talents. Instead, I ask that each of you take time to reflect and consider what you would like to share of yourself with the Society: perhaps a haiku about 221B, perhaps a monthly update of interesting Sherlockian & Watsonian news, perhaps a word of good advice, perhaps photos of a trip to London, perhaps an essay pertaining to bowler hats… it really could be anything!

Whatever comes to mind, never hesitate to send anything to me at: carla@johnhwatsonsociety.com

If everyone here offers a little bit of themselves to share, then slowly but surely the JHWS will continue to flourish and it remain a place to visit with irregular regularity for new posts, new discussions, and a shared affection for Dr John H Watson.

Just as our “Buttons” would have it: We can but try.

With great affection,

Ariana Maher
“Carla Buttons”
The Boy in Buttons

The Legacy of Buttons

Today is a day of significant importance for all of us in the John H Watson Society, so I will not host a discussion forum, as is our usual custom.

On March 15, 2015, Donald Libey went beyond the terrace. That was one year ago today.

I haven’t lost sight of this day as it neared. I knew that, once the day arrived, I would want to mark this first anniversary in a significant way. Up until recently, I wasn’t certain of what exactly to do or say when this day arrived. Thankfully, I now know what I can offer everyone that will be the best for Don’s memory, for myself, and for the John H Watson Society:

As of today, I am stepping down as Carla Buttons.

It is important to me that I not lose sight of the fact that taking up this position was done to honor Don, his legacy, and his promises. Once “The Adventure of the Doctor and the Duellist” sees print this spring, we will have worked hard together to fulfill the last of Don’s promises that he made before his passing. I believe that this is the best time for me to step down and welcome new leadership, so that the John H Watson Society, as a community, will be able to focus ahead to whatever may come next.

This past year was one of the most memorable and exciting series of events in my life. Thank you all so much for your warmth, patience, and support. I offer my deepest gratitude to all who stood up and volunteered in the wake of tragedy, and my warmest respect to all who continue to work so hard to make the John H Watson Society such an active and welcoming community.

Although I am no longer a Buttons, I am still a “Carla” and I will continue to be an enthusiastic member of the JHWS. I intend to continue to do what I love so much: designing the JHWS publications, especially The Watsonian, for Pippin & his amazing Editorial team, as well as being an active member of our community.

Please join me in celebrating Don’s legacy by welcoming our third¬†Buttons to assume the mantle. This is someone who I feel that most of you know and trust, someone who has put countless hours into ensuring that our community has a¬†home here on the internet. Please show your support for our webmistress and dear friend to our community: Beth Gallego, JHWS Selena.

May we honor the memory of our dear Buttons by carrying on his warm enthusiasm for the good and loyal Dr Watson.

May we look to our future and raise a glass to welcome Selena Buttons!

“I will introduce you” [PRIO]

stud-gwh-02

Study in Scarlet illustration by George Hutchinson

(Part of this entry will also appear in the Spring 2016 issue of The Watsonian)

As our “Carla” posted last week, I am taking on the role of “Boy-in-Buttons” for the John H Watson Society.

Typing that sentence still leaves me a bit awestruck, in the fullest sense of the word. To say that I was surprised when my name was suggested would be an understatement. I had long been content to remain in the background, keeping our digital home on the web tidy and functional.

I still see myself as a new arrival among you, having found my way to Baker Street late compared to many, and somewhat sideways at that. I must confess a twinge of jealousy toward those who can tell of falling in love with the Canon at the age of 10 or 11. Somehow I missed meeting Holmes and Watson at that tender age. But, as they say, when the student is ready, the Master appears.

In my case, he appeared as Benedict Cumberbatch, accompanied by the ever-amazing Martin Freeman. I watched the first six episodes of the BBC series (all that existed at the time), which proved enough merely to whet my appetite for all things Holmesian. I picked up a two-volume paperback edition of the complete stories at my favorite used bookshop and started exploring the many and varied opportunities to connect with other fans.

That was how I found my way to the John H Watson Society site, and it quickly became one of my favorite places online. The weekly quizzes were challenging and the weekly discussions were interesting, but it was the blend of people that made the magic.

The roster of members included people who had been in the Sherlockian world for decades, who published scholarly articles and books, and who led scion societies. It also included people who were newcomers (like me), who created transformative works of fanart and fanfic, and who were active on twitter and tumblr. There were people who fell into any and every possible combination of those categories. Somewhere in this glorious mingling of old and new, traditional and ultramodern, I found a place that felt like home.

These years later, it still does. The quizzes are still challenging, the forum discussions are still engaging, and the Treasure Hunt is still fiendishly difficult (and I mean that in the very best possible way). Most importantly, the people are still an amazing community of individuals with different backgrounds and worldviews who can come together to discuss the life and times of that eminent gentleman, Dr John H Watson. Amongst his many fine qualities, he was the best friend one could ever wish to have.

I take to heart these words “About the Society“:

We are an open and inclusive Society, seeking the collegiality and conviviality of Members worldwide and at all stages of involvement in Watsonian, Sherlockian and Holmesian interests. Mostly, we are about having fun.

As I adopt the moniker of “Selena Buttons”, I am inspired by Don Libey, who was the kind of person I hope to be: friendly and welcoming and encouraging to all, no matter how you found your way here. I look forward to hearing from you!

This week, in lieu of a Canonical discussion topic, please introduce (or re-introduce) yourself in the Comments section.