Public Domain Super Heroes
Dr. Watson
Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson

Real Name

John H. Watson

First Appearance

A Study in Scarlet (originally serialized in Beeton's Christmas Annual 1887)

Original Publisher

Ward Lock & Co

Created by

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle


Dr. Watson (left) and Sherlock Holmes, by Sidney Paget.

Dr. John H. Watson was Sherlock Holmes' closest friend, assistant, and flatmate. Watson was also Holmes' biographer and the narrator of all but four stories in the Sherlock Holmes canon.

Watson graduated with a medical degree from the University of London in 1878, and later became a surgeon in the British Army. While in the Army, he joined British forces in India and saw service in the Second Anglo-Afghan War. However his military service was cut short after being wounded at the Battle of Maiwand. He was sent back to England to recover.

After returning to London in 1881, Watson takes the advice of an old friend of his named Stamford, that an acquaintance of his, Sherlock Holmes, is looking for someone to split the rent at a flat in 221B Baker Street. Sherlock eventually agrees to allow Watson to be his flatmate.

After their first case together which concerned a series of murders related to Mormon intrigue, Watson was angered that Holmes is not given any credit for it by the press for solving the crime. When Holmes refused to record and publish his account of the adventure, Watson decided to become his biographer. In time, Holmes and Watson become close friends going on many adventures together.

In The Sign of the Four, John Watson becomes engaged to Mary Morstan, a governess. However, she passed away by time Holmes returned from his faked death in the Final Problem, but Watson later re-marries. However, this wife was never named, described, or explained by Conan Arthur Doyle.

Literary Appearances


Short stories

  • The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (contains stories published 1891–1892 in The Strand)
  • The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (contains stories published 1892–1893 in The Strand as further episodes of the Adventures)
  • The Return of Sherlock Holmes (contains stories published 1903–1904 in The Strand)
  • His Last Bow (contains stories published 1908–1913 and 1917)
  • The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes (contains stories published 1921–1927) The stories in this volume originally published after 1923 are still under copyright in the United States.

Golden Age Appearances

  • Cartoons by McCutcheon #[nn]
  • Four Color #1169,1245
  • Kid Eternity #8

Public Domain Stage Appearances

  • Sherlock Holmes: A Drama in Four Acts, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and William Gillette (1899)
  • The Speckled Band, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1902)

See Also