THE GREAT ALKALI PLAINSMEN OF GREATER KANSAS CITY
25th Anniversary History
October 20, 1988
The BSI scion society was founded in the autumn of 1963, and was ap-proaching its 25th anniversary in 1988. I’d been involved since 1972, despite living in Washington D.C. by then, and decided to mark the occasion by researching and writing a history of it. Making that possible was the fact that the Plainsmen had always been good archivists. (Today those archives are in the Sherlock Holmes Collections at the University of Minnesota Libraries — something the late John Bennett Shaw BSI, a key figure in The Great Alkali Plainsmen’s history, appreciated since his own great collection of Holmesiana was going there as well.)
The 25th anniversary history was produced in the dawn of digital word processing, as these chapters in pdf here show, and by offset printing. Embellishments came from a number of sources, but from Norman Schatell especially, items he had done for me in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s when I was the scion’s Avenging Angel. On the reverse of the book’s cover is this note: “The cover illustration is adapted from a 1978 Great Alkali Plainsmen dinner program by the late Norman Schatell, BSI, of Cliffside Park, New Jersey. We miss you, Norm!” (We still do.)
I don’t remember how many copies I produced. Certainly not more than 100, and perhaps as few as 50, since it was intended for the members of The Great Alkali Plainsmen themselves, plus a few others. Reading it again today reminds me how much fun I had putting it together, and how much fun those times with the Plainsmen were. I’ve belonged to other scion societies as well — The Red Circle of Washington, D.C., The Hounds of the Baskerville (sic) of Chicago, along with some time in Hugo’s Companions and The Scotland Yarders there, and The Sons of the Copper Beeches in Philadelphia; but for sheer fun and great companionability, The Great Alkali Plainsmen of Greater Kansas City surpassed them all.
Had I not done this in 1988, it would probably not have occurred to me in 1989, after Bliss Austin had died and some of us were worrying about how not to lose the BSI’s history, that I might tackle it myself.
- Jon L. Lellenberg
The book’s frontmatter, including a preface by John Bennett Shaw and an editor’s note by me
Part I: Beginnings
Part II: Early Years
Part III: Lellenberg Years
Part IV: Lehman Years
Part V: The Council of Elders