“The Medal of Brigadier Gerard”, here first titled “The Mission of Brigadier Gerard”, with the word “Mission” crossed out and the word “Medal” written above, was written in 1894 and is the first short story in Conan Doyle’s Brigadier Gerard saga. In their account of Conan Doyle’s serial publications, his bibliographers Green and Gibson give both the English title “‘How the Brigadier Won His Medal’”, and the American title “‘The Medal of the Brigadier’”, as the story was originally published in the separate English and American issues of the Strand magazine in 1894. Green and Gibson also note that the first American periodical publication was by a Newspaper Syndicate [abbreviation “N.S.”, G & G, p. 404], referring to the Bacheller Syndicate. As noted above, the present manuscripts were given by Bacheller to his friend and fellow journalist Herbert Foster Gunnison. Irving Bacheller (1859-1950), author, journalist and editor, began his career as a journalist in Brooklyn in 1882, but a few years later founded the first modern American newspaper syndicate, the Bacheller Syndicate, to provide literature and other articles to Sunday newspapers. Among the authors whose work he represented were Arthur Conan Doyle, Stephen Crane, Joseph Conrad, and Rudyard Kipling. In the 1890s, Bacheller began to write fiction and gave up his career in journalism to pursue literature, becoming a best-selling author with such works as Eben Holden (1900), D’ri and I (1901), The Light in the Clearing (1917), and A Man for the Ages (1920). Herbert Foster Gunnison (1858-1932) was a Brooklyn newspaperman associated with the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, where he worked from 1882, eventually becoming its President in 1924.In 1894, the indefatigable American impresario Major James Pond organized a lecture tour for Conan Doyle, who arrived in New York on October 2 and appeared in thirty cities before returning to England on December 8th. It was on this tour and in this way that Conan Doyle introduced Brigadier Gerard to the public, first in America, in advance of its periodical publication in the Strand later the same year. “Conan Doyle had read it [“‘How the Brigadier Won His Medal,’ the new character’s debut”] aloud to audiences in America, whose generous responses encouraged him to think he had a success on his hands. . . . he quickly turned out another seven adventures. These also appeared in the Strand throughout 1895, and were collected in book form as The Exploits of Brigadier Gerard. Though Conan Doyle often dismissed this collection as his “little book of soldier stories,” Brigadier Gerard soon emerged as one of his most popular creations.” – Daniel Stashower, Teller of Tales: The Life of Arthur Conan Doyle (N. Y.: Henry Holt, 1999), p. 191. “The Medal of Brigadier Gerard” was first published in book form in “The Exploits of Brigadier Gerard” under its original English title in 1896. The first American edition was published by D. Appleton and Company in the same year, and that edition cites Irving Bacheller as holding the American copyright to the stories. According to Green and Gibson, “The first story was written late in 1894, and the author read it during his lecture tour in America. It was published in the San Francisco Examiner and advertised as having cost 12 ½ cents a word.” G & G, A19, and p. 408. It is conceivable that Bacheller received this manuscript from the author at the end of Conan Doyle’s lecture tour in America in late 1894, or possibly after it was prepared for publication in England in December 1894.“How the King held the Brigadier”, although bearing the author’s Roman numeral II at the top, was the third story in the series to be published. “How the Brigadier slew the Brothers of Ajaccio”, although bearing the Roman numeral III, was the fourth story in the series to be published. “How the Brigadier came to the Castle of Gloom”, although bearing the Roman numeral IV, and the notation: “Not to be published before July 7” in Bacheller’s hand, was the fifth story in the series to be published. “How the Brigadier played for a Kingdom”, bears the Roman numeral VIII and was the eighth story in the series to be published. All four of these stories were first published in the Strand magazine in 1895.In 1892, Conan Doyle visited the English novelist and poet George Meredith, who introduced him to the memoirs of Jean Baptiste Antoine Marcellin de Marbot. Baron de Marbot’s Memoires had been published in France in 1844, and the first English translation appeared in 1892. Conan Doyle “came to regard it has “the first of all soldier books in the world. It required a certain “robust faith,” Conan Doyle allowed, to credit all of the Frenchman’s outlandish claims of bravery, but therein lay the book’s charm. De Marbot made such an impression that Conan Doyle transferred the French officer’s verve and vain-glorious manner into a new fictional hero, Brigadier Etienne Gerard of the Hussars of Conflans.” Stashower, pp. 190-191.As Conan Doyle’s bibliographers note, “The author was very fond of these stories, which he found easy to write. He felt that they were accurate as a portrayal of the French soldiers of the period even down to the smallest details of the costumes and of the historical background. The first story was written late in 1894, and the author read it during his lecture tour in America. It was published in the San Francisco Examiner.” – Green & Gibson, p. 93. In a letter to his wife Mary dated April 2, 1895, Conan Doyle wrote: “I have done the fifth Brigadier, and I conceived (during my illness) the sixth so that they are practically all done, for which I cannot be sufficiently thankful. I should not be at all surprised to see the Brigadier become quite a popular character – not so much so as Holmes, but among a more discriminating public.” On March 9, 1896, following the publication of The Exploits of Brigadier Gerard, Conan Doyle wrote to Mary to report that “The reviews of “Brigadier” have been most satisfactory. . . . It is pleasant to see so many people fond of him – for I was a bit fond of him myself.” – Arthur Conan Doyle: A Life in Letters. Edited by Jon Lellenberg, Daniel Stashower & Charles Foley. (N. Y.: Penguin Press, 2007), pp. 351, 369.In 1905, Conan Doyle wrote a play based on the Brigadier Gerard stories entitled Brigadier Gerard: A Romantic Comedy in Four Acts which had two brief runs in London in 1906, from March until May at the Imperial Theatre, then from May until June at the Lyric Theatre, followed by a run of several weeks at the Savoy Theatre in New York in November of the same year. The play remains unpublished. A number of films have been based on the stories, including the silent film Brigadier Gerard directed by Bert Haldane and starring Lewis Waller in 1915, and The Adventures of Gerard directed by Jerzy Skolimowski and starring Peter McEnery in 1970. In 2008, John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky began developing a feature film comedy based on the stories starring Steve Carrell as Gerard and Ricky Gervais as Napoleon. George McDonald Fraser acknowledged Brigadier Gerard as a major inspiration for his Flashman series, also set during the Napoleonic Wars.”These two volumes [The Exploits and The Adventures of Brigadier Gerard] show Conan Doyle the short story writer at his best. No one ever paced a tale more expertly, or had a better sense of timing. He was a master of suspense and the unexpected, mingling cliff-hanging action and swordplay with romance, homely philosophy, and humor, this last coming from Gerard’s gift of eccentric narrative and the author’s expertly handled contrast between his hero’s blandly egotistic view of events and what is actually happening. . . . it takes an uncommon talent, and a good heart, to create as timeless a character as his dashing, gallant little brigadier, who seems to embody all that is brightest in the human spirit.” – from Fraser’s Introduction to Exploits and Adventures of Brigadier Gerard (N. Y.: New York Review Books, 2001). The present collection represents five of the eight short stories that appeared in The Exploits of Brigadier Gerard and an extraordinary opportunity to acquire a significant portion of one of Conan Doyle’s most impressive creations. The manuscript of “The Medal of Brigadier Gerard” is in fine condition; the binding lightly rubbed; the other manuscripts, which have been assembled using revisions written on separate pieces of paper, usually of a smaller size, or cut down to a smaller size, and inserted or taped to the original drafts, are in very good condition, with a few tears and stains; the front hinge of the binding is cracked, and the top panel of the spine is detached (but retained). Provenance: By descent from Herbert F. Gunnison.