Identified individuals are represented by a biographical sketch, a list of connections to other signatures, and, in most cases, an artifact from the Ransom Centers collections. Help us identify more signatures by submitting your suggested identification.
Vincent Starrett (1886-1974) was a self-proclaimed bibliophile who took pride in his nicknames, the "Number One American Bookman" and "a damned old fool about books." A native of Chicago, Starrett began his career as a journalist. The publication of his first piece of short fiction in Collier's Weekly in 1916 allowed him to leave his post at the Chicago Daily News, after which time Starrett edited two books by Arthur Machen, wrote bibliographies of Ambrose Bierce and Stephen Crane, edited the Chicagoan publication The Wave, taught short story classes at Northwestern, and wrote multiple mystery novels and a biography of Sherlock Holmes. It was Starrett's interest in Sherlock Holmes that inspired his friendship with Christopher Morley, a fellow enthusiast. Starrett was a regular member in the Three Hours for Lunch Club as well as the Baker Street Irregulars, a Sherlockian society of Morley's invention.
A photograph of Vincent Starrett, undated
Inscribed to "Chris[topher Morley] ," this image by an unidentified photographer portrays Starrett during his travels in Beijing, China in the 1930s. Starrett frequented Chinese bookshops during his trip in order to acquire expert knowledge of Chinese detective fiction, which became a theme in his later novels.