Much of the history of a breed is in its photographs, articles, and other written information. The recorded past points the direction to a breed’s future. However, how do we preserve these treasures of our past and make them available to those who want to learn?
To serve this purpose, the Afghan Hound Club of America maintains a library. Founded by people who cared deeply about preserving the breed’s history, both recent and not so recent, the library’s directive is to acquire and collect material relevant to the Afghan Hound and to make these educational materials available to those who are interested.
The difficulties of maintaining a breed library are seemingly endless. They include matters such as space limitations, moves, costs, and the need to find ceaselessly devoted people to maintain it. Despite the challenges, the AHCA library exists and has served the fancy for 41 years—from its founding in 1971 by the late Karen Armistead, to its present position in the home and care of Helen Stein.
Lack of space has informally restricted the collection to items of print and paper, which are more easily housed than are sculptures, ceramics, paintings, or other larger items. Presently the library contains issues of magazines about the breed, many now out of print, and includes a nearly complete set of Afghan Hound Review. Also included are copies of the AHCA newsletters, breed columns from the AKC Gazette, and copies of the AKC Stud Book. There are photos and scrapbooks from earlier influential breeders, including Marjorie Jagger, of Majara, and Kay Finch, of Crown Crest. There are photos of the winners of all our specialty shows. Many of these photos have now been put on CDs for preservation.
A selection of the library materials and videos are on display at all of our national specialties. The club owns reels of film from the 1960s that are so fragile that they can’t travel, but hopefully these will eventually be transferred to newer digital media so that they may be viewed. The collection includes videos from many specialty shows. Much of this material is available for rental, with a deposit required. A listing of available videos is included on the AHCA website — click on Regional Clubs on the menu bar at the top of the page, and then select Media Library from the drop-down menu.
The library also makes available our excellent booklet Introduction to the Afghan Hound. Originally compiled in 1974, a period of very high breed popularity, this booklet explains the intricacies of ownership to newcomers considering the Afghan Hound. It is available from the AHCA website under About Afghans, via the Suggested Media drop-down.
Afghan owners or fanciers who have materials they feel might be a welcome addition to the library or who would like to obtain more information on the materials available can e-mail Helen.
Libraries are vital to the understanding of a breed. It would be wonderful if there were a central, easily accessible library covering all AKC breeds. Until this is the case, the AHCA is eternally grateful to those who maintain ours. —Betty Stites, Afghan Hound Club of America, November 2012 AKC Gazette