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Dr. Robert Jackson* of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, made the following arguments persuading the members of the Sir James Saunders Society, the dermatologic scion society of The Baker Street Irregulars, that Sir James was in real life Sir Jonathon Hutchinson. (right)

  • Conan Doyle and Sir Jonathon were both physicians and happened to be neighbors.

  • Sir Jonathon showed the same intense interest in leprosy as Sir James.

  • Sir James and Sir Jonathon exhibited very similar personal characteristics.

The logo of the Society (above) shows profiles of Holmes and Sir Jonathon.

Sir Jonathon Hutchinson (1828-1913) was a remarkable physician with an intense interest in a wide range of subjects. He established his own journal, The Archives of Surgery, and for ten years he wrote every article in it. These cover a wide range of topics, including dermatology, urology, ophthalmology, and general surgery. In 1888 he founded a museum in the grounds of his Surrey home at Inval in Haslemere, allowing the public to enjoy his life's collection of objects of interest in the field of botany, geology and social history. The museum and its program of lectures and activities continues to the present.

*Robert Jackson, M.D. "Sir James Saunders: A Case of Identity." Paper presented at the Fourth Annual Meeting of the Sir James Saunders Society in Dallas, Texas, 5 December 1977.

from The Blanched Soldier

"….May I ask, sir, [said Sherlock Holmes] if you are an authority on such complaints, which are, I understand, tropical or semi-tropical in their nature?"

"I have the ordinary knowledge of the educated medical man," [Kent the surgeon] observed with some stiffness.

"I have no doubt, sir, that you are fully competent, but I am sure that you will agree that in such a case a second opinion is valuable….I have brought with me a friend whose discretion may absolutely be trusted. I was able once to do him a professional service, and he is ready to advise as a friend rather than as a specialist. His name is Sir James Saunders."

        *        *       *       *       *       *

.…the door was opened and the austere figure of the great dermatologist was ushered in. But for once his sphinx-like features had relaxed and there was a warm humanity in his eyes. He strode up to Colonel Emsworth and shook him by the hand.

"It is often my lot to bring ill-tidings and seldom good," said he. "This occasion is the more welcome."


read The Blanched Soldier


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