University of Texas at Austin

Arthur Conan Doyle:

An Inventory of His Literary File Photography Collection at the Harry Ransom Center

Creator: Doyle, Arthur Conan, 1859-1930
Title: Arthur Conan Doyle Literary File Photography Collection
Dates: 1907-1932
Extent: 830 items (2 boxes, 8 bound volumes)
Abstract: The Arthur Conan Doyle Literary File consists of 440 photographic prints, 13 glass plate negatives, 4 nitrate negatives, and 355 prints in 8 albums. Images include portraits of Doyle and/or his second wife, Lady Jean Leckie Doyle, numerous spirit and fairy photographs, and a series of large exhibition prints used by Doyle during his Spiritualism lecture tours.
Call Number: Photography Collection PH-00281
Language: English
Access: Open for research. Please note: Negatives cannot be accessed without curatorial approval. To make an appointment or to reserve photography materials, please contact the Center's staff at

Administrative Information

Acquisition: Internal transfer.
Processed by: Kait Dorsky, 2017

Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Sketch

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, on May 22, 1859. He was educated in England before returning to Edinburgh where he trained as a doctor at the University. Doyle held a variety of jobs throughout his life, though he is best known as the author of the Sherlock Holmes stories. Doyle was also a leader in the Spiritualist movement, traveling widely for lecture tours and publishing a number of books on the subject.
Doyle was married twice. He married his first wife, Louisa (Louise) Hawkins, on August 6, 1885. They had two children, Mary Louise and Arthur Alleyne Kingsley, before her death on July 4, 1906. His second wife was Jean Blyth Leckie, who he married on September 18, 1907, and with whom he had three children, Denis Percy Stewart, Adrian Malcolm, and Jean Lena Annette.
Doyle died on July 7, 1930, at his home in Crowborough, England.


Edwards, Owen Dudley, "Doyle, Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan (1859–1930)," Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004), accessed June 18, 2016,

Scope and Contents

The Arthur Conan Doyle Literary File consists of 440 photographic prints, 13 glass plate negatives, 4 nitrate negatives, and 355 prints in 8 albums. Images include portraits of Doyle and/or his second wife, Lady Jean Leckie Doyle, some with their children. Also included are images of Doyle with Harry Houdini, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, as well individuals involved in the Spiritualist movement. There are also numerous spirit photographs, including images of individuals with manifestations of others, mediums, and images of fairies. In addition, several albums contain images of Doyle and his family, various foreign cities and countries, and spirit photographs. Finally, there is a series of large prints of spirit photographs that Doyle used during his Spiritualism lecture tours (see the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Collection at the Ransom Center for additional information on Doyle’s lectures). Formats include cabinet cards, cartes-de-visite, and stereographs. An index at the end of this guide lists photographers whose work is featured in this file.
The photographs are organized by portraits of Doyle, his wife, and images of Doyle and others in rough chronological order; spirit photographs arranged by subject; oversized lecture prints arranged by numbers on the prints; and albums. Descriptions of images were derived by the archivist based on inscriptions on print versos, where available.
This file forms a part of the Literary Files Photography Collection, which is comprised of photographs and albums withdrawn from the libraries and/or papers of literary figures and businesses, and generally include portraits and images taken or collected by and/or of those people and businesses.

Related Material

Additional materials by and about Doyle, including additional photographic materials, are located in the Ransom Center's Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Collection.

Index Terms


Doyle, Arthur Conan, Sir, 1859-1930.
Houdini, Harry, 1874-1926.


Authors, English--19th Century--Pictorial works.
Authors, English--20th Century--Pictorial works.
Fairies--Pictorial works.
Group portraits.
Landscape photography.
Mediums--Pictorial works.
Photography of families.
Portrait photographs.
Spirit photography.

Document Types

Albumen prints.
Cabinet photographs.
Cartes-de-visite (card photographs).
Gelatin silver prints.
Glass plate negatives.
Nitrate negatives.
Photograph albums.
Platinum prints.

Item List