Wolfhound, by Zenos Frudakis
Last fall, when Addi Velasquez and Sarah Minkiewicz-Breunig toured Brookgreen Gardens, I mentioned in passing that Anna Hyatt Huntington, the founder of the Gardens, had been the first breeder of Scottish Deerhounds in America. The post, which contained pictures of Anna’s sculpture “Deerhounds Playing”, had been linked on an online Deerhound discussion list.
Sometime afterwards I was contacted by the historian for the Scottish Deerhound Club of America, Clay Finney. Mr. Finney, whose first Deerhound was descended from one of Mrs. Huntington’s Stanerigg dogs, wanted to let me know that hers was not the first Deerhound kennel in the States. There were a number of kennels active in this country in the 1800s, long before Stanerigg. He also shared with me some wonderful photos from the Huntington archives, which he allowed me to share here.
This first one is Anna with a group of her hounds, taken in 1939.
He also included this one with a rider and a pair of Deerhounds. I had assumed this was Anna’s husband, Archer Huntington, but I realize now that the photo is not identified directly.
I’ve had a lot of reason to think of Mr. Finney’s kind note these last few months as I have worked on the horse color books. The information I had on the Stanerigg Kennels came from an old newspaper article that was part of an exhibit on the Huntington dogs. It illustrates the problems of dealing with contemporary references from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Information was often rather carelessly assembled, and once printed often got repeated endlessly. It has been shocking to me to see just how many equine texts from the late 1800s simply lift whole sections from previous publications, without regard for copyright. What’s worse is that these are often presented as first-hand accounts. For a researcher, this is maddening. As a person whose livelihood is so closely tied to issues of intellectual property, it’s depressing.
So while I have obsessively checked far too many small details – which explains my absence and distraction of late – I am pretty sure errors will slip through. My experience with the Deerhound post is that sometimes a mistake is the best way to meet someone with new and interesting information.