Four ages of Conan Doyle

I just thought I'd put out a little post of Arthur Conan Doyle at four different ages.

"Doctor" Arthur Conan Doyle
Here we see the young, newly-qualified, Arthur Conan Doyle. At this stage his title of doctor was honourary as he had yet to obtain his degree of Doctor of Medicine. At this stage he held a Bachelor's degree in medicine which was enough for him to practice and be called Doctor (as a courtesy only). This picture is hence from the mid-1880s. He would obtain his medical doctorate not long afterwards thus making the title Doctor official.

This situation is best explained from the pen of Conan Doyle himself in a Sherlock Holmes piece called The Field Bazaar  published in 1896 which, at the time, was the first time he had written about Holmes since 1893. In this extract Holmes is explaining to Watson how he deduced that the letter Watson was looking at was not an official one.

"I began by glancing at the address, and I could tell, even at the distance of six feet, that it was an unofficial communication.  This I gathered from the use of the word 'Doctor' upon the address, to which, as a Bachelor of Medicine, you have no legal claim.  I knew that University officials are pedantic in their correct use of titles, and I was thus enabled to say with certainty that your letter was unofficial. 

The next picture is from exactly 1893, the year of Sherlock Holmes's "death". Here we see the 34 year old Conan Doyle during one of the worst years of his life. His father died, his wife was diagnosed with tuberculosis and the public refused to understand his decision to bring an end to Holmes.

Next we have a picture of Conan Doyle from early 1900 (aged 40 but shortly to turn 41) dressed in the bespoke pseudo-military outfit that he wore for his brief turn as a medic in South Africa. Here we see a man happy to be finally getting near some conflict and doing work for his country. We also see a man who believed himself to be very much free of Sherlock Holmes.

Finally we have this still from Conan Doyle's movietone interview from October 1928 when he was 69 years old. The footage was broadcast in the United States in May of the following year only just over twelve months before his death.

The full interview can be watched below.

Written by Alistair Duncan
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