Earlier editions contain seven stories in total; some later editions of the collection also include an eighth story, "The Adventure of the Cardboard Box", which was also collected in The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (1894).
Five of the stories were published in The Strand Magazine between September 1908 and December 1913. The Strand published "The Adventure of Wistaria Lodge" as "A Reminiscence of Sherlock Holmes" and divided it into two parts, called "The Singular Experience of Mr. John Scott Eccles" and "The Tiger of San Pedro". Later printings of His Last Bow correct Wistaria to Wisteria.
The final story, "His Last Bow. The Wars Service of Sherlock Holmes (LAST)" (1917), an epilogue about Holmes' war service, was first published in Collier's on 22 September 1917—one month before the book's premier on 22 October.