Sunday, September 30, 2012

"Retrieved" a book by Charlotte Dumas

I found this beautiful book inadvertently while reviewing some listings of museum exhibitions.  Retrieved is a pictorial exposition of some of the rescue dogs who worked at the World Trade Towers site after 9/11.  Specifically, the author revisits with these aged, senior rescue dogs 10 years post 9/11. 


 for additional information about the book or for ordering the book directly. 

Currently, Dumas has an exhibition entitled "Anima" at the Corcoran Gallery in
Washington, D. C..  The exhibition runs through most of October 2012.  This exhibition
focuses on the U. S. Army Infantry horses who work at Arlington National Cemetery for
military funerals.  Here is some additional information about the "Anima" exhibition on Vimeo:

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Popularity of Dog Breeds in the United States (1880's-1920's) - A Macroscopic Viewpoint

(The popular Collie, representative for Uneeda Biscuits, circa 1910)

Dog fanciers of the fashionable, original American dog shows in the 1880's demonstrated that there were specific dog breed favorites among the "nouveau" on the American kennel club scene.  This era was part of the "Gilded Age" which was a term applied to the industrialization, wealth and power of east coast Americana.  

Companion dogs such as various types of toy dogs were extremely popular with Americans.  Perhaps the Collie was and remained the most popular American herding or working dog breed of the era between the 1880's and 1930's and was often found on average American farms and ranches.  Basically, my brain's first memories
as a 3 year old child were recorded as:  "me a 3 year old child playing with a Collie (Rough Coat) named Laddie in Detroit, Michigan, i. e.,  Laddie inadvertently knocked me into a rose bush in the backyard".  I did not get too scratched-up from the rose bush thorns and I made sure that no one reprimanded Laddie for knocking me over.  My own life as a dog person began with those initial amusing memories of playing with Laddie. 

The sporting or hunting dog breeds, selectively, became another popular group of dogs.  The popularity of sporting dogs in the 1880's coincided with the appearance of upland game bird hunting as an outdoor sport. 

To digress, during this time management of the American wilderness by the Federal government and the need for conservation of the undeveloped wilderness areas began to filter into the American public consciousness.  Yellowstone Park became the first National Park that was established in the 1880's as a consequence of this cognitive awakening.  By 1900 the populations of many species of  mammals which are indigenous to the United States, including birds, had been decimated.  Hunters who lived-off-the-land found that game species on which they subsisted had become increasingly scarce due to the increasing population of Americans moving into rural areas, precipitous decreases in wilderness/habitat areas, and hunting-in-excess by everyone within the hunting community.  There was a strange man-made dichotomy between the bounty system of paying for the killing of important first order predator mammals, such as big cats and wolves, and the implementation of Federal and State conservation laws for birds and fish.  Both bird hunting for sport and sport fishing had also become social hobbies for many types of Americans.  The devastation of the some bird species with extravagant plumage was also related to production and sales of items which utilized bird feathers (e.g., hats, dresses, etc.).   Theodore Roosevelt, an avid hunter, was instrumental in working toward a ban on the bird feather market which ultimately resulted in the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

In 1918 the Migratory Bird Treaty Act became a Federal statute between the United States and Canada. This statute regulated the numbers of migratory bird species that could hunted or killed within the United States and Canada. The dichotomy is highlighted when one considers the large bounties that continued to be paid to exterminate mountain lions, bobcats, lynx, wolves, and coyotes during these same timeframes (1800's-1900's). My perspective is that the development of recreational sports of bird hunting and fishing dictated to the Federal and State fish and game management polices through the 1930's. An important aspect of this dichotomy was the establishment of commercial wild bird farms and freshwater fish hatcheries in the United States dating to the 1880's and 1890's.

The magazine Forest and Stream was founded in 1873 and covered all aspects of outdoor recreation including bird hunting (see the note about Charles Hallock, the founder of Forest and Stream).  In every issue there were articles about pointers and setters and hunting dog training.  The excerpt about Hallock is from a book entitled:  Historical Dictionary of the Gilded Age.  Scrolling through the contents of an online issue of Forest and Stream Magazine from 1917,  the influential scope of sport hunting and fishing in the United States by the early 1900's is revealed.

Thus, sporting dogs were and still are some of the first important members of the American Kennel Club:  For dog show fans (including me) Sensation, the great Pointer and symbol of the Westminister Kennel Club in New York City, always will be the most famous American sporting dog celebrity. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Bain News Agency Photos

Bain News Agency was one of the first photographic news agencies in the United States.  This news group photographed celebrities, world leaders, dogs, and dog shows.  The agency was started by George Grantham Bain (1865-1944).  The extensive collection, which includes many photos of dogs, dog shows, early veterinary clinics, the Hartsdale, NY Dog Cemetery, and working dogs from the World War I era, is found in the Library of Congress archives.

Bain News Agency Collection (Dogs)

There is a photo of one of the inhumane ways of how stray dogs were euthanized in the 1800's and early 1900's.  I thought this was relevant since the issue of excessive dog breeding existed in the United States, as well as, other countries during the 1800's and early 1900's.  Unfortunately, backyard dog breeders existed at that time.  Also, there was an excess of dog breeding from kennels and many of the dogs, which appeared to be bred for profit, were either never sold or sold at very low prices because of the increasing population of domestic canines in the United States.  The same problem exists today, i. e., backyard dog breeders and kennels which breed dogs for profit.  Ultimately, the "for profit" dog breeders, including puppy mills, DO NOT produce any profit whether it is the 19th, 20th, or 21st Century and many of these animals end up in shelters or on the streets. 

In the Bain News Agency collection there are a number of photos from the 1908 Mineola, Long Island, New York dog show which is known by many dog show people as one of the oldest dog shows in the United States - The Ladies Kennel Association of America (Long Island).  The following   This photo is of the famous Champion Russian Wolfhound "Michael Strogoff" from the 1908 show: 

Some of the dogs in the show were owned by high profile New York City families, such as J. P. Morgan's family .  A family friend holds a Pekinese owned by the wife of J. P. Morgan, Jr. at the Mineola dog show:


and the Guggenheim family, were entrants at this dog show.  View one of the Bain News Agency photos of M. R. Guggenheim with his Eskimo Dogs at the show in Mineola, New York, 1908: 

M. R. Guggenheim is the nephew of Daniel Guggenheim.   Daniel Guggenheim was on the Titanic when the ship sunk in April, 1912.  He did not survive.  Captain Smith of the Titanic is shown with a Russian Wolfhound which was supposedly given to him by Daniel Guggenheim for his daughter.  The photo was taken prior to the departure of the Titanic from the British Isles, however, the dog was left with his daughter in England and was not on board the ship when it sank (Reference for additional information about the dogs that were aboard the Titanic.  The other dogs on the Titanic were owned by New York City (including John Jacob Astor, IV and his Airedale Kitty) and Philadelphia society members who were typically dog show people.  It was not uncommon for these travelers to bring their dogs along on trips to Europe and elsewhere) :        :

A photo of John Jacob Astor and his Airdale walking on Fifth Avenue in New York City.  Astor had been in the Middle East and Europe with his second wife and Kitty.  They were on the Titanic for the return trip to New York City: