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Edith Meiser Collection (SCRB Collection Number 7)

Identifier: SCRB 0007

Scope and Content Note

The collection contains the letters and photographs of Edith Meiser. The bulk of the collection consists of manuscript material, including carbon, ditto and mimeograph copies, of stories regarding Sherlock Holmes. There is also a large group of bound mimeographed volumes.


  • 1926-1999


Language of Materials


Restrictions on Access

Materials do not circulate, but may be used in the Special Collections reading room. Materials will be retrieved from and returned to storage areas by staff members.


All rights have been transferred to the Special Collections & Rare Books Division except for individual authors who retain copyright to their manuscripts. This collection is protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). It is the user's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and to obtain all necessary permissions prior to the reproduction, publication, or other use of any portion of these materials.

Biographical Information

Edith Meiser was born on May 9, 1898 in Detroit, Michigan. Her education had an international flavor from the Liggett School in Detroit, to Kox Schule in Dresden, Germany, the Ecole de la Cour de St. Pierre in Geneva, Switzerland, to Vassar College. While at Vassar (1917-1921), she led the college dramatic society. Following her time at Vassar, and now very interested in the performing arts, Meiser performed in the American Shakespeare Festival Company, Jessie Bonstelle's Summer Stock Company, The Theatre Guild, Edward Albee's vaudeville circuit, and in the Garrick Gaieties revue. In the late 1920s Meiser and her husband Thomas McKnight left vaudeville for the world of radio and an opportunity to put Sherlock Holmes stories on the air. The first Holmes tale, "The Adventure of the Speckled Band," was broadcast on October 20, 1930 and featured William Gillette in the lead role. These shows continued until 1936. According to William Nadel, "the golden age of Sherlockian radio began in California in the fall of 1939 when the success of Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce in two Twentieth-Century Fox films precipitated a radio revival of the Edith Meiser scripts." These shows were heard on both the "Red" and "Blue" networks of NBC and continued into 1942. Mutual Radio picked up the series broadcast until the summer of 1946. According to Nadel, "one of the conditions of continuing the show on the Mutual network was the Edith would come up with 'new' adventures." This she did through the middle of 1944 and then picked it up again in 1947 through the summer of 1948. In the midst of her 1940s script-writing, Meiser also returned to the stage and appeared in a number of productions. She continued acting into the 1970s while also appearing on television and in motion pictures. In the 1950s she worked with Franck Giacoia to produce a Holmes comic strip. Meiser was a member of the Board of Governors of the Actors Equity Association from 1954 until her death on September 26, 1993 in New York.


14 boxes

12 bound volumes.


Collection contains letters, clippings, photographs, manuscripts and bound volumes on Sherlock Holmes.


The collection is organized into two series:
  1. Articles, Clippings, Memorabilia
  2. Bound Volumes


Edith Meiser donated her collection of Sherlockian manuscripts and related material to the University of Minnesota in 1986.
Edith Meiser Collection
Timothy J. Johnson
March 2005
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Special Collections and Rare Books Collecting Area