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Chicago Haymarket Revenge Rache poster
Chicago Haymarket Revenge Rache! Rache! poster of May 2, 1886 was claimed by the Workers not to have been created by them and they claim to have confiscated and destroyed the ones which they found. The preceding day there was a demonstration at the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company plant demanding an eight hour working day. During the demonstration gunfire erupted and two or six workers were killed. Everyone seems to have claimed the other guys did it. Several posters came out the next few days which were later declared inflammatory by the courts but I am most interested in the one above because it uses the same word, RACHE, as the opening statement in the entire Sherlock Holmes canon of four books and fifty six short stories.

Rache1Here we see an early rendition of Sherlock, in the first book edition, being instructed by the inspector who said the word Rache, written in blood, was intended to be Rachel but that the author was disturbed or ran out of blood. The curiosity here is that Rachel with a letter l is strikingly similar to the word Rache! written with an exclamation point. Sherlock suggested a better guess to the meaning would be the German word Rache which means revenge.

Sherlock Holmes inspects the word Rache

Sherlock Holmes inspects the word Rache

This was the illustration by D. H. Friston used in the very first illustration of Sherlock in the Beeton’s Christmas Annual. It is a little confusing just who controlled these drawings because Conan Doyle sold the entire rights to Ward, Lock & Co. This is several years before Doyle becomes rich and famous with the Sherlock Holmes short stories and he had very little power to negotiate terms at that time. In this drawing the Rache looks definitely more German in type face. That is important because Sherlock mentions the Germanic appearance of the writing. Also, with a little imagination the exclamation mark is almost visible because of the wallpaper’s slightly diagonal hash marks.

Note that Sherlock is not quite wearing his iconic deer stalker hat but he does have his magnifying glass and the original detective overcoat.