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"the cleverness of women" [SCAN]

When the Baker Street Irregulars finally made the watershed decision to admit women to its membership in 1991, Evelyn Herzog, BSI ("The Daintiest Thing Under a Bonnet"), ASH ("Violet Hunter") and Susan Rice, 2s., BSI ("Beeswing"), ASH ("A Practical Handbook of Bee Culture, with Some Observations Upon the Segregation of the Queen") were there. And yet the history of what led up to that moment is not widely known.

From Evy's and Susan's perspectives, it began some three decades or more earlier, gaining momentum as they entered their college years in the Northeast and Midwest, respectively. And from the BSI's perspective, it was rooted in the traditionalism of a longtime leader. How the two vastly different outlooks clashed and eventually collaborated is what we discuss.

We've had the pleasure of knowing Evy and Susan for—well, let's just say for longer than any of us can remember. Together we explore the history of their journeys and uncover exactly what it was like to be outsiders in a world that very much should have included them much earlier. The story of Julian Wolff, BSI ("The Red-Headed League") and Tom Stix, Jr., BSI ("The Norwood Builder"), the leaders of the Baker Street Irregulars at the time, is both complex and delicate, and Evy and Susan do them both justice in the matter.

The history of the ASH is the subject of the 2004 Baker Street Journal Christmas Annual, and it its still available for sale. Also included in our interview are audio clips [courtesy of the BSI Trust] from the 1991 BSI Cocktail Reception, during which women first received investitures. And we might have another Easter egg for you.

Our special thanks go out to Mary Miller and Christian Mongaard for their Patreon support!


This episode includes our two longtime sponsors and a special sponsor with us for the first half of this year:

The Wessex Press, featuring A Curious Collection of Dates, and The Baker Street Journal, where you should get your annual subscription in now to secure all four issues - now accepting 2016 subscriptions. And Paula Berinstein's Amanda Lester, Detective series for young adults.

Would you care to become a sponsor? You can find more information here.


1:53 Welcome and introduction
8:27 We're joined by Evelyn Herzog and Susan Rice
10:17 First meetings with Sherlock Holmes
16:04 The initial formation of ASH at Albertus Magnus College
19:01 Getting to the BSI Weekend
22:02 Protesting the BSI dinner
31:11 Lurch chimes in
36:36 What happened after graduation
38:05 The origins of the first "alternative" dinner
42:47 Evy's doubts about the growth of ASH
46:50 The first male investitures of ASH
48:08 ASH Wednesdays
53:38 Ka-ching!
57:44 That fateful day in 1991
59:34 A Stygian remark
1:06:04 Hey Burt!
1:08:42 Balancing ASH membership with BSI membership
1:11:46 What the future of ASH holds
1:13:05 The Serpentine Muse
1:14:20 Ladies! That famous call-to-order
1:15:21 Final thoughts

Download [Save As] | File size 38.3 MB, 1:22:37



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