Every year, on the first Thursday in December, the local Sherlockian literary society, the Norwegian Explorers of Minnesota, enjoys a holiday dinner in celebration of the year’s activities and the Master Detective. The Explorers are a key partner for us, along with the Friends of the Sherlock Holmes Collections, in supporting our work in collecting and documenting Sherlock Holmes as a popular culture icon. Some of the Explorers support comes through programming and raising the awareness of the Sherlock Holmes Collections here at the university. Another part of their support comes through generous donations to the three funds that support the Holmes Collections: the John Bennett Shaw Fund, the Hench Endowment for acquisitions, and the E. W. McDiarmid endowment that supports my position as curator.
At the annual dinner of the Norwegian Explorers the Libraries had the opportunity to recognize their generosity over the years. Kris Kiesling, director of the Elmer L. Andersen Library and the Archives and Special Collections Department, offered these remarks during the dinner:
In 1980 the Norwegian Explorers made their first gift to the University and the Sherlock Holmes Collections. There was a ten-year hiatus, but since 1990 there have been generous gifts every year–sometimes twice a year. The most recent gift entitles the Norwegian Explorers to special recognition for cumulative giving through membership in the Chancellor’s Society of the Presidents Club at the University. The Norwegian Explorers have now given 29 gifts totaling nearly $26,000.
The University of Minnesota Presidents Club, founded in 1963, recognizes the University’s most generous donors–individuals, families, and organizations–who have taken a leadership role in helping to foster excellence and the drive to discover. Presidents Club donors join a long tradition of giving that started in 1889 with a single gift of $150,000 from John Sargent Pillsbury–businessman, University regent, state senator, and governor. Through the decades, the generosity of Presidents Club members has built scores of needed buildings, provided thousands of students with scholarships, endowed hundreds of faculty chairs and professorships, and launched hundreds of research projects that have improved our lives.
Your giving has supported special acquisitions and programming, and on occasion has been added to E.W. McDiarmid Endowment that supports the Sherlock Holmes curator. In short, it has allowed us to do some things that might not have otherwise been possible. On behalf of the University, the University Libraries, and the Sherlock Holmes Collections, I want to thank you for your engagement and support–not just financial support, but nearly 33 years of giving–that’s quite remarkable. Many Norwegian Explorers also contribute individually and through work with the Friends of the Sherlock Holmes Collections. Both Libraries and the Norwegian Explorers share a strong commitment to our shared goal–appreciation and promotion of the ongoing saga of Sherlock Holmes. We are most grateful for your work and your support. Long may we collaborate!
Our collaborations continue with our next joint venture–the triennial Holmes conference to be held in August 2013. It has been a joy to work with the Norwegian Explorers during my years as curator. Together we “keep forever green the memory of the Master.” Thank you, Norwegian Explorers, for your continued support!
Tim Johnson, Special Collections and Rare Books/Sherlock Holmes Collection