The Red-Headed League (organization)
In the Sherlock Holmes Stories
The Red-Headed League was an association invented by Duncan Ross (aka William Morris) and Vincent Spaulding (aka John Clay) designed to keep Jabez Wilson away from his pawnshop.
The League published an ad in The Morning Chronicle, on 27 april 1890 (REDH, 71):
'To THE RED-HEADED LEAGUE. - On account of the bequest of the late Ezekiah Hopkins, of Lebanon, Penn., U.S.A. there is now another vacancy open which entitles a member of the League to a salary of four pounds a week for purely nominal services. All red-headed men who are sound in body and mind, and above the age of twenty-one years, are eligible. Apply in person on Monday, at eleven o'clock, to Duncan Ross, at the offices of the League, 7 Pope's Court, Fleet Street.' (REDH, 62)
As Jabez Wilson is red-headed, he is motivated by Vincent Spaulding, his new employee, to apply to the ad. When he arrives at Pope's Court, Duncan Ross tells him that he has every requirement and he is employed to wrote The Encyclopedia Britannica on paper for a good pay.
The Red-Headed League was dissolved on 9 october 1890. (REDH, 220)