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AKE 20.1

c. 1880s-1930s [bulk: 1880-1910]

2 linear feet (in 2 document boxes and 2 oversized boxes)

Click here for a printable PDF of the collection finding aid

 

The George Shepherd Page papers include the records of the Page family’s kennel, Dunrobin Kennels, which includes some of the first Scottish Deerhounds in America. The collection will be of interest to rearchers seeking the history of Scottish Deerhounds in America, the breeding and care of dogs in the late 19th Century, and some information on late 19th Century coursing for hounds. The resources include pedigrees, kennel diaries, minutes, track plans, photographs, and show awards.

Biographical Information

George Shepard Page was born in 1840 in Readfield, Maine. At the age of eight he moved to Chelsea, Massachusetts, where he was educated in the public school system. Upon high school graduation in 1857 he moved westward to Minneapolis, Minnesota where he intended to work in real estate. However, due to the financial difficulties of the time, he soon returned east to New York City. There he settled permanently, married Emily De Bacon and joined his father in the paraffin oil business. He had a home in New Jersey where he and his son, Albion L. Page, later started Dunrobin Kennels, breeding Scottish Deerhounds and Greyhounds. They had their first litter in 1884 and Page continued the kennel until his death in 1892.

Mr. Page was a gifted businessman. He had a profound influence on the gas and oil industry in the United States during the 20 years he was involved in it. Soon after he entered the business, he introduced a process through which the by-products of the oil could be reduced, thereby creating tar, which could be worked into pitch, a product much in demand for construction at the time. Though European gas companies had already realized this and began to take advantage of it, the idea was new in the United States. He founded the New York Coal Tar Chemical Company and began to amass his fortune. The process quickly took hold elsewhere in the United States, since the by-products had long been considered useless waste by American gas companies. This was Page’s first major contribution to the gas industry, but certainly not his last. He went on to introduce new and more effective “washer scrubber” cleaning processes as well as a process by which ammoniacal liquor, a liquid used to make fertilizer, could be produced from the by-products of coal production. [1] Page also applied his brilliant business sense to Wall Street and was a well-known stock-market man. Through his involvement with the gas and coal industries and his activities on Wall Street, Page became a millionaire.

Though doubtless a successful and innovative business man, Page was also a passionate sportsman. He was once described as “a man of large physique and commanding appearance”. [2] His main estate in Stanley, New Jersey, was located on several hundred acres of game preserves where Page took great joy hunting and fishing. He was the founder of Quassaic Sportsmen’s Club in his home state of Maine. He also started and maintained Dunrobin Kennels on his estate in New Jersey and could often be found hunting in the fields with his dogs. Page was a keen fisherman and for a time was president of the Chatham Fish and Game Protective Association and vice-president of the American Fish-Culturists Association. He worked for the protection and propagation of fish and was the main impetus behind the formation of the United States Fish Commission. It was in fact Page’s passion for fishing that led to his involvement with dogs. He was responsible for introducing black bass into England and received a gift of two Scottish Deerhounds from the Duke of Sutherland as a token of thanks. The hounds came from Dunrobin Castle in Scotland, hence the kennel name Page went on to use. Page was one of the earliest Scottish Deerhound breeders in the United States. His dog, Bonnie Robin, was the first AKC-registered Scottish Deerhound. Bonnie Robin was registered in 1886 and her registration number was 4345.  [3] Page’s records of his kennel include pedigrees and some detailed description of his dogs. From these records, we know he was an avid breeder and that he continued to import dogs such as Bruar II, a successful show dog imported from England in 1891, in order to strengthen his breeding stock. He bred many winning dogs, including Ch. Olga, whelped in 1886. Ch. Olga is described as “the finest deerhound bitch we have ever raised…” and she left behind “an enviable [show] record and offspring”. Dunrobin Kennel also bred Greyhounds, English Setters, Fox Terriers and Beagles.

Page was also an active member of the Congregational Church and several philanthropic ventures associated with it. He was president of the Howard Mission and Home for Little Wanderers. He was a founder of the New Jersey Temperance Association and went on to be president of this organization for seven years. He was also the superintendent of the Sunday School at his church, where he taught for twenty years. Page was also a great proponent of education. He believed that public education should be non-sectarian, compulsory and free for every child. When he first moved to his home in Stanley, just outside of Chatham, New Jersey, he noticed the lack of a school and immediately founded one, hiring teachers and supplying materials. He went on to spend thousands of dollars to found a school for children of the poor. The National Education League of England even invited him to give a lecture on the free public school system of America.

George Shepard Page died 28 March 1892 of a heart attack in his home at the age of 52. He was survived by his wife and his four children. Albion L. Page, who had bred dogs with his father, continued the Dunrobin Kennel after his father’s death.

1. Proceedings of the American Gas Association, American Gas Association. Jan 1894, p. 165.
2. George Shepard Page Obituary,  The New York Times. 27 March 1892.
3. AKC,  The Complete Dog Book 20th Edition. Ballentine Books, New York. 2006.

Biographical Note by Norma Rosado-Blake with edits by Craig P. Savino.

Scope and Contents

The George Sheperd Page papers are a strong resource for information on the breeding and care of dogs in the late 19th Century, particularly some of the first Scottish Deerhounds in America. The  Breeding and Registration Records series includes a Breeder’s Pedigree Book and a Kennel Diary which include pedigrees, registrations, correspondence, and clippings related to the dogs bought, bred, and kept by Page. The books also contain ledgers of expenditures that take note of food bought for the dogs and detailed notes on some of the dogs including dimensions, disposition, show records, and very personal descriptions by Page. The notes on dimensions give us a sense that Scottish Deerhounds now tend to be the same size as they were in the 19th Century as the current breed standard notes they should be from 30 to 32 inches and Page’s notes on some of the Deerhounds (Argyle, Donavourd Briard II and Factor in particular) list them at 30 inches or just over 30 inches tall. These notes also illustrate the performance of the dogs in coursing and their original purpose of hunting. As an example, a note on the pedigrees of the dogs Donavourd Briard II and Factor observes them as “both first rate dogs at deer being, able (either alone), to pull down an unwounded stag.” Other pedigree information can be seen in the visually appealing half-wheel genealogies for the Scottish Deerhounds Olga and Bruar II. In the Dog Shows series one may find many of the award certificates earned by the Pages’ Scottish Deerhounds and Greyhounds, particularly at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show. The final series, Graphic Materials, hold shotos of some of these dogs as well (notably the Scottish Deerhound Ch. Olga and the Greyhounds Charles Davis and Maud Torrington).

The collection is also a great resource for information on late-19th Century coursing practices. The records of the Eastern Coursing Club, of which Page was a founding member, include minutes, track plans, and correspondence in regards to setting up tracks and holding events. These items can be found in the Club Records series.

More detailed descriptions can be find in notes introducing each series in the inventory below.

Arrangement

The collection is arranged into five series:

1. Breeding and Registration Records
2. Club Records
3. Dog Shows
4. Books
5. Graphic Materials

Access Restrictions

This material is open to research without restrictions.

Publishing and Use Restrictions

The majority of the items are in the Public Domain and open to use. A handful of items may still be under copyright and may require written permission from the American Kennel Club and the copyright holder to reproduce. Consult the Archivist if you have questions.

Provenance

Gift of Elizabeth Sanfilippo, great-granddaughter of George Shepard Page, in 2008.

Related Materials

AKD 2.26 The Scottish Deerhound Club of America records (1920-1960) includes a variety of additional information on the breed.

AKE 20.1

Collection Inventory

Series 1: Breeding and Registration Records 1882-1938

The series begins with a piece of correspondence followed by the books kept by the Pages and concludes with some loose pedigrees that were not within the books. The Breeder’s Pedigree Book and the Kennel Diary included many loose materials stuck between the pages. These materials were retained in the order they were found in the book. The Breeder’s Pedigree Book includes slips of paper indicating where loose items were removed and what folder they should be in.

The Breeding and Registration Records series is the strongest series in the collection as it contains many rare late-19th Century and early-20th Century materials on the breeding and care of Scottish Deerhounds.

The Breeder’s Pedigree Book is of particular note. The book was a gift from the Duchess of Wellington given to George Sheperd Page when he purchased the Scottish Deerhound Bruar II. In edition to pedigrees of many of the dogs at Dunrobin Kennels, the book includes a variety of other materials related to the dogs including correspondence, clippings, and detailed notes. For example, Page’s notes on Dunrobin remark that he was “A fine specimen of a deerhound, good disposition, and a grand sire; he would have been a dog of note had he not developed a weakness in his loins which came from a strain and ultimately cause his death” and the notes on Olga observe that she was “the finest deerhound bitch we have ever raised – She was a queen of her kind, standing over 30 inches at shoulders muscular and courageous yet to her friend she showed only the kindest and most obedient disposition. Her color was that rare silver grey, her eyes hazel and when she was excited how they sparkled. Her coat was long and fine with a slight wave but no trace of curl.” Many small notes and clippings related to the dogs were interleaved among the pages and these documents have been retained in their own folders. The book works in conjunction with these documents to provide a picture of the breeding, care, look, and performance of the Dunrobin dogs.

The Kennel Diary includes the AKC Stud-Book registration slips for many of the Pages’ dogs, a ledger of breeding attempts and results, a ledger of pups, and a ledger of exhibitions and results. The back of the Kennel Diary includes a ledger of expenditures for the kennel which mostly consists of spendings on food but also includes expenses for other supplies and dog shows.

This series also includes pedigrees for the Scottish Deerhounds Olga and Bruar II expressed in the form of half-wheel genealogies.

Box Folder
Correspondence: Maud Torrington (Greyhound), re: 1890 1 1
Breeder’s Certificate Book 1891-1905 1 2
Breeder’s Pedigree Book circa 1880s-1910s 1 3
Breeder’s Pedigree Book, Loose Items 1: Clippings, Correspondence, Pedigree (“Dunrobin”) 1882-1896 OS 1 1
Breeder’s Pedigree Book, Loose Items 2: Correspondence, Pedigrees (“Stag”, “Fenwick”, “Donavour Bran II”, “Factor”) circa 1890s, 1936, 1938 OS 1 2
Breeder’s Pedigree Book, Loose Items 3: Pedigrees circa 1880s-1930s OS 1 3
Breeder’s Pedigree Book, Loose Items 4: Pedigree (“Blairgowrie”, Scottish Deerhound) circa 1899 OS 1 4
Breeder’s Pedigree Book, Loose Items 5: Pedigree (no name) circa 1900 OS 1 5
Breeder’s Pedigree Book, Loose Items 6: Clippings, Manuscript circa 1880s OS 1 6
Breeder’s Pedigree Book, Loose Items 7: Correspondence 1891 OS 1 7
Breeder’s Pedigree Book, Loose Items 8: Pedigrees, Pedigree Notes, Registrations circa 1890s-1906 OS 1 8
Breeder’s Pedigree Book, Loose Items 9 and 10: Pedigree (“Stag”), Clippings and notes (“Warwick”) circa 1901-1904 OS 1 9
Breeder’s Pedigree Book, Loose Items 11: Pedigrees, Notes, Clippings circa 1896-1912 OS 1 10
Breeder’s Pedigree Book, Loose Items 12: Pedigrees, Notes circa 1880s-1901 OS 1 11
Breeder’s Pedigree Book, Loose Items 13: Pedigree circa 1891 OS 1 12
Breeder’s Pedigree Book, Loose Items 14: Pedigrees, Clippings, Business Card 1887-1899 OS 1 13
Breeder’s Pedigree Book, Loose Items 15: Pedigree, Clippings circa 1897 OS 1 14
Breeder’s Pedigree Book, Loose Items 16: Illustration of “Young Rip Rap” (Pointer) Undated OS 1 15
Breeder’s Pedigree Book, Loose Items 17: Pedigree Notes Undated OS 1 16
Kennel Diary circa 1880s-1890s 1 4
Kennel Diary, Loose Items: American Kennel Club Stud-Book Certificates 1890-1907 1 5
Kennel Diary, Loose Items: Dimensions of Dogs 1890 1 6
Kennel Diary, Loose Items: Pedigree (“Blair Athool” and “Norval”, Scottish Deerhounds) circa 1899 1 7
Pedigree: Flash II circa 1926-1930 1 8
Pedigrees: “Olga” and “Bruar II”, Half-Wheel Genealogies circa 1886-1892 OS 2 1

Series 2: Club Records 1889-1907

The majority of the Club Records series consists of the records of the Eastern Coursing Club. The Club was created in 1889 to showcase the hunting and coursing skills of the Greyhound. The Club was advised early on by Dr. Nicholas Rowe of The American Field and the Minutes and Correspondence of the club reflect how Dr. Rowe helped the Club communicate with English coursers to aid in acquiring hares and how Dr. Rowe offered the use of columns in The American Field for advertisement.

The series also contains an early copy of the Scottish Deerhound Club of America’s By-Laws, Breed Standard, and Membership List. At this time (1907) Albion L. Page was Vice-President of the Club and its delegate to the American Kennel Club.

Materials are arranged alphabetically by description.

Box Folder
Eastern Coursing Club: Correspondence Jan 1890-Jan 1893 2 1
Eastern Coursing Club: Minutes Book (includes Constitution) 1889-1891 2 2
Eastern Coursing Club: Track Plan from National Coursing Association circa 1889 2 3
Scottish Deerhound Club of America, Booklet (includes By-Laws, Breed Standard and Membership List) 1907 2 4

Series 3: Dog Shows 1890-1912

The series begins with two hand-written notes on awards attained by the Greyhound Maud Torrington and the Scottish Deerhound Norna. The following awards are arranged alphabetically by hosting kennel club and chronologically within folders.

The Dog Shows series consists of award certificates and notes in regards to awards won at shows by the dogs of Dunrobin Kennels. The majority of the awards pertain to dogs owned by Albion L. Page. The majority of the materials are oversized.

Box Folder
Notes: Win-list for “Maud Torrington” (Greyhound) circa 1890s 2 5
Notes: Win-list for “Norna” (Scottish Deerhound) circa 1896-1901 2 6
Maryland Kennel Club: Award Certificates Mar 1891 OS 2 2
New England Kennel Club: Award Certificates Apr 1891 OS 2 3
Westminster Kennel Club: Award Certificates, Greyhounds 1891 OS 2 4
Westminster Kennel Club: Award Certificates, Scottish Deerhounds 1891-1903 OS 2 5
Westminster Kennel Club: Award Certificates, Scottish Deerhounds 1899-1912 2 7

Series 4: Books circa 1889-1920s

This small series includes two books one of which is a small educational pamphlet on the Scottish Deerhound produced by the Closeburn Kennels, another kennel in New Jersey.

Materials are arranged alphabetically by title.

Box Folder
The Kennel Chronicle, Volume X 1889 2 8
The Scottish Deerhound (booklet by Closeburn Kennels of West Caldwell, NJ) circa 1920s 2 9

Series 5: Graphic Materials circa 1889-1938

The Graphic Materials series is primarily made up of black and white photographs of dogs owned by the Pages at Dunrobin Kennels. Most of the dogs pictured are Greyhounds, most notibly Albion L. Page’s Charles Davis and Maud Torrington. The series also includes a photographs of the Scottish Deerhounds Olga and Dunrobin. There is also a silver etching of an illustration of a Scottish Deerhound, undated, and a photograph of George Sheperd Page himself. The photograph of the painting “Raymond Felt Page and Duke” features an oil painting that is a part of the AKC’s art collection and pictures George Sheperd Page’s youngest son with a Scottish Deerhound that was the gift of the Duke of Sutherland circa 1887.

Materials are arranged alphabetically by description.

Box Folder
Charles Davis (Greyhound) circa 1890 2 10
Charles Davis and Maud Torrington (Greyhounds) circa 1889 2 11
Daro of Maridor (English Setter), clippings Feb 1938 2 12
Dunrobin (Scottish Deerhound) circa 1889 2 13
George Sheperd Page Undated 2 14
Mallwyd Flash (English Setter) circa 1920s 2 15
Maud Torrington (Greyhound) circa 1890 2 16
Olga (Scottish Deerhound) circa 1890 2 17
“Raymond Felt Page and Duke” (photo of painting by Alban Jaspar Conant) circa 1890s 2 18
Scottish Deerhound Illustration Printing Block Undated 2 19
Unidentified Greyhound, offspring of Maud Torrington circa 1900 2 20