for the bibliophile, the collector, and the gift giver!
PERSONS, PLACES & THINGS
Meet the people;
see the places; do the things that make the Sherlockian Community fascinating!
Match your wits
against Sherlock Holmes and
solve the mystery?!
SOCIETIES & PUBLICATIONS
A rare opportunity
to enjoy the words, ideas, and thoughts of Sherlockians the world over!
of memorabilia commemorating "The Man Who Was Sherlock Holmes," Jeremy
Meet Art and Mary Schroeder
Art and Mary Schroeder are active in the Sherlockian Community in, and
around, the St. Louis area. Our paths have crossed on several occasions,
but we came to know them best at an unusual event called "The Sherlock
Holmes Moonlight Madness Day" held on December 14, 1996. For this affair,
the small town of Lebanon, IL was decked out in Victorian regalia; Sherlockian
characters (including Holmes, Watson, Irene Adler, and Wiggins) roamed
the streets and the many delightful little shops. One could collect autographs
of the celebrities and clues to various mysteries which the hosts of the
event had planned. The most auspicious event of the day was an actual
broadcast of Art Schroeder's original Sherlockian radio play "The
Double Good Fortune of Henry Baker and His Lucky Goose" over radio
station WINU (with an all-star cast of eminent Sherlockians!). Being radio
fans, too, we chatted at some length with Mary and Art about the script
and the performers and then went to lunch at the Mermaid Inn (with the
claim to fame that Charles Dickens once stayed there). Art and Mary then
most generously invited us to stay overnight in their lovely St. Louis
home. We spent a fine evening chatting and having beverages, a peaceful
night on our own private floor of the home, and a splendid breakfast featuring
a great dish which we have never been able to duplicate. Art told us the
name of this gustatory delight; he called it "egg stuff."
We have been wanting to introduce Mary and Art to the "non-St.
Louis" area Sherlockian community for some time, but an excellent
opportunity to solicit their assistance in this enterprise arose when
we visited "The Game's Afloat" conference in St. Louis last
Halloween. Again, while visiting Mary and Art we asked them for photographs
and to write for us (really, for you) little autobiographical sketches.
The Schroeders kindly complied with our requests and we present the "documents"
they provided for your information and enjoyment.
Arthur C. Schroeder, Jr., called many things by many people, responds
most cordially to "Art." Born May 31 in St. Louis ten years
after The Crash,and three before the Day of Infamy. He enjoyed
an uneventful childhood--newspaper accounts, police reports and vile gossip
notwithstanding. After slogging through local public schools, Art managed
to graduate from Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, renown as the
site of Winston Churchill's famous Iron Curtain Speech--locally known
as the site of the infamous Tap Room and Spot Cafe. Deciding against a
career as a history professor on his alma mater's faculty, and oblivious
to that venerable institution's sigh of relief, he opted to attend Washington
University's School of Law and returned to St. Louis, leaving no unsettled
suits or open warrants behind him. After two years of tweed, six-foot
mufflers, jaunty caps, frothy beers, hallowed halls, and ivy, Art simultaneously
ran out of both enthusiasm and funds and found himself compelled to earn
a living. He accepted a job with an insurance company, now defunct though
through no fault of his, laboring as an underwriter and marketing representative.
Forced by circumstances into commerce, he began a duel existence: insurance
man by day, Beatnik by night. Each afternoon he returned to his trendy
West End digs, shed his three-piece suit and tie, and emerged, clad in
a beret and shades to haunt the dimly-lit cafes of Gaslight Square, mumbling
poetry and bumming drinks. In one of his more lucid decisions, he moved
into the precincts of matrimony and paternity.
Art considers the two greatest accomplishments of his insurance career
to be discovering his wife Mary, his best friend and loving companion
for over twenty-seven years, and fathering their daughter Carrie, a wonderful
chipette off the old block. Art considers the greatest accomplishment
of his Beatnik career to be avoiding arrest for indecent exposure, since
he spent it wearing only a beret and shades.
During their early lean years together, Mary and Art spent their weekend
leisure time playing bridge with invisible partners, Ignates the Iguana
and Harvey the Pukkah. The flamboyant foursome feasted on cheap beer and
homemade pizza, and watching Flash Gordon serials on late-night television
between hands. Carrie, then in her rug-rat phase, quite properly ignored
her parents but became very attached to their bridge partners.
Art's Sherlockian interest began innocently enough when Mary gave him
a copy of the complete Canon. A casual reading set the hook! In the succeeding
twenty-five some-odd years he has spent copious amounts of time, energy,
and money on playing the game with Dr. Watson and his Bohemian friend.
Failing health leading to early disability caused Art to seek a new
lifestyle in which he frequently visits 1895, formulating his own unique
views of Sherlockiana. On a world probably still unprepared, comprised
of Sherlockians and/or other suckers, Art began to inflict his humorous
impressions. Two of his "old-time radio shows"
"The Double Good Fortune of Mr. Henry Baker"
and "The Forgotten Victim" are being marketed on cassette by Classic
Specialties; more scripts are ready for recording. Also planned is the
publication of several volumes of Sherlockian cartoons drawn over the
years in the style of Abe Slaney's stick figures. These productions offer
solid evidence that a mind is a terrible thing to waste!
". . . For Art's Sake . . . (REDC)
St. Louis Sherlockian, Barbara Roscoe’s e-mail message brought us
the very sad tidings that our good friend, Art Schroeder died on August
26, 1999. We grieve deeply and sincerely over his passing. Even though
Art had been ill for some time, his death still came as something of a
shock. We were planning to visit with him during the St. Louis "Weekend
at Baskerville Hall" conference in early September.
We say that Art had been ill for some time, in fact, he had been
very ill. He had been confined to a wheelchair for many months due to
crippling arthritis. Art was having extensive surgery on his knees because
he wanted to walk his daughter, Carrie, down the aisle when she married
in October of 1998. In the course of surgery, it was discovered that Art
had cancer - it was diagnosed as a very aggressive form of the disease.
Carrie's wedding was moved to an earlier date because of the fear that
Art might not live until October. Art did “escort” his daughter down the
aisle; continuing to be wheelchair bound didn't stop him. Art lived almost
a year longer than his doctors originally thought.
We visited Art in the summer of 1998, and found him to be in high
spirits even though still confined to his wheelchair. We chatted and made
plans to work on some new Sherlockian radio plays together when time and
health permitted. Art had written many very clever parodies in the form
of radio plays. The first one we heard was performed by a troupe of intrepid
St. Louis Sherlockian thespians in Lebanon, IL in December of 1996 and
was actually broadcast live over radio station WINU. It was entitled,
"The Double Good Fortune of Mr. Henry Baker and His Lucky Goose." Mary
Schroeder, Art’s wife, did a sterling performance as Mrs. Henry Baker.
Outstanding among his other achievements was a play called, "The Forgotten
Victim" in which Art told the story of "The Speckled Band" from the viewpoint
of the Indian Swamp Adder! The fact that Art could conceive of the possibility
that the snake had a viewpoint bespeaks to the marvelous creativity of
his mind and his sparkling and charming wit.
When we visited him, again, after the St. Louis "The Game's Afloat
III," in October 1998, he was physically frail but his wit was a sharp
as ever. Several surgeries and the progress of his disease had made it
necessary for him to take all nourishment in liquid form via a stomach
tube. In spite of his difficult physical condition, Art quipped to us
that he had to be careful at social gatherings because he could pour beer
in his tube faster than the others could drink theirs! He also wisecracked
that he would pour martinis into his fistula but he was afraid that the
olive might stop up the tube. He was like that – joking even in those
The knowledge that Art is no longer there brings great sadness to
our hearts, for we numbered him among our dearest friends. It was a privilege
to have known him. We miss Art, but we will never forget him. The Sherlockian
community has lost an unusually great and creative mind and this world
is a considerably lesser place for Art Schroeder's absence from it. It
brings us pleasure to imagine that he is now on the terrace telling Sir
Arthur about “The Forgotten Victim.” We can “see” the two of them having
a jolly good laugh.
Memorial services held September 4, 1999 were at the Schroeder home
in St. Louis. Our sincere condolences go out to Art's wife, Mary, and
their daughter, Carrie.
Return to read more about The Game's
Mary Towell Schroeder arrived in this world 18 November 1944, in time
to qualify for a ration book and avoid classification as a baby boomer.
She grew up in an ethnically rich St. Louis neighborhood where she developed
a fascination for cultural differences and a multinational palate.
After a stint in the parochial school system, Mary simultaneously acquired
college credit and earned a living as an insurance agent. In the offices
of a now defunct (though through no fault of her own) insurance company,
she met her future husband, Art. That fortuitous happening produced 27-and-still-counting
priceless years of marital adventure and one rambunctious daughter who
cleans up well for company. Their union proves the efficacy of a mutual
affinity for beer, books, and chili in producing a successful marriage.
Mary''s life-long interest in mystery and detective fiction took a specific
direction in the mid 70s when an associate introduced her to the scion
society, The Noble Bachelors of St. Louis. She has been a practicing Sherlockian
During the 80s, Mary abandoned the world of commerce to work as a homemaker
and community volunteer. In 1986, she returned to school full-time, persisting
until recently completing her PhD in modern British literature. She works
at local colleges and universities as an adjunct English professor, spreading
the Master's word, and introducing quantities of mystery and detective
fiction into the curriculum.
At home, Mary cultivates a decor enhancing her self-image as a heroine
out of a cozy novel. She rattles around a Victorian manse keeping the
hounds slathering, the cat hissing, the books dusty and artistically askew,
an aged-P in a remote upstairs' room, and a semi-old man in a corner.
Ed's note: As you can see, Mary shares Art's sense of humor
(please note the photograph, above, which Mary elected to provide for
us!). Her flair for writing is not only reflected in the little "autobiographical
sketch" which she provided for us here, but, also by the fact that
she recently finished writing her Ph. D. dissertation in English Literature.
Everyone is admonished to be properly respectful and to refer to Mary
as "Doctor Schroeder". In addition to completing her dissertation,
attending to her teaching duties, her loving care of her ailing husband,
Mary (excuse me "Dr.Schroeder") has found time to be actively
involved in many Sherlockian activities. She, along with Art, founded
"The Practical Preservers of Sherlockiana" society under the
auspices of which she created the Sherlock Holmes room in the central
library at idyllic little McKendree College in Lebanon IL. This library
room is the repository of many volumes of "The Baker Street Journal,"
numerous books, and a 70year-old original portrait of Mr. Sherlock
Holmes. Donations of Sherlockian literary materials will be welcomed.
By the way, here is Mary (in more appropriately Sherlockian headgear)
acting as the "Mistress of Ceremony" at the marvelous "The
Game's Afloat" Sherlockian convention held on Halloween Day, 1998,
and sponsored by St. Charles' "Harpooners of the Sea Unicorn"
and other St. Louis scions. Mary receives e-mail at email@example.com
and she will be happy to convey messages to Art until such time as he
can, again, get upstairs to the computer more often than he has been able
to do recently. Best wishes to Art and Mary - great Sherlockians and wonderful