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AKD 3.14



11 linear feet in 16 boxes (8 doc boxes; 1 half legal doc box; 2 cartons; 1 flat box; 1 photo box; 2 realia boxes; and 1 oversize box) and mixed collections storage

Processed by Norma Rosado-Blake (2009); additions and edits by Brynn White (2016)


The Mastiff Club of America (MCOA) collection contains breed research, clippings, and photograph files dating back to 1890; club administration files holding a wide variety of club records dating between 1938 and 2008; catalogs, premium lists, and photographs for events beginning with the club’s first independent specialty in 1983; a broad swath of Mastiff-related publications released by the club, its affiliates, and other regional and international associations devoted to the breed (including the Old English Mastiff Club and Canadian Mastiff Club); and registries, reports, and correspondence related to canine health and genetic data collection and analysis. The bulk of materials document the period beginning in the 1970s when the Mastiff breed signficicantly raised in popularity, which also required dedicated work to combat puppy mills and overbreeding.


The collection is organized into five groups based on form and/or content:

  1. Breed History, 1890-1998
  2. Club Administration, 1938-2008
  3. Dog Shows, 1983-2007
  4. Publications and Printed Matter, 1965-2007
  5. Canine Health and Genetic Data, 1974-2002

Club History

The Mastiff Club of America (MCOA) was founded on 13 March 1929, and Shortly incorporated under New York State laws shortly therafter. On September 7 they held their first meeting on Elizabeth Stillman’s Kenridge Farms, Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York. There they established the bylaws and constitution as well as the breed standard. They also elected their first executive officers including: F. J. A. Bier, President, John Barnhard, Vice-President, Paul Chapman, Jr. Vice-President/Treasurer and C. R. Williams Secretary. The early club focus was the preservation of the bloodlines of the mastiff, as well as revitalization of interest in the breed.

These goals led to the development of the Adoption Plan, which was created to allow those dogs that were adopted from kennels to remain under breeding control by the kennel owners. The person adopting the dog obtained it without any initial costs. Male dogs were used as studs only for approved matings by the kennel. Both the adopter and kennel equally share in the stud fees. With bitches there are the same constraints, with the additional stipulation that the resulting litter be divided equally between the adopter and kennel. The club’s work with this plan was an extraordinary step in building up the number of mastiffs in this country.

In 1940 the MCOA held it first national specialty with the Old English Mastiff Club Challenge Trophy going to Aldwin of Altnacraig. Another important milestone in the club’s history was its acceptance as a member into the AKC in 1941, the same year the club adopted the breed’s standard. By 1943 the club boasted 41 members. By 1978 they had 228 members.

The MCOA responded to over-breeding and puppy mill rampance in the 1970s and 1980s by creating a breed rescue organization in 1988. It now boasts nationwide network of volunteers aimed at rescuing mastiffs. It has been documented that in 1999, 366 mastiffs were rescued by the organization. In addition to rescue, the club is also dedicated to protecting the health of the breed through genetic testing. The club began the Genetic Data Collection wherein dogs are tested for various diseases such as hip dysplasia, Von Willebrand’s disease and other ailments.

Scope and Content

The MCOA collection chronciles the operations, functions, and events of the club devoted to the large Working dog. While early breed history is well documented, the bulk of the collection documents the period beginning in the 1970s when the Mastiff breed signficicantly raised in popularity, which also required dedicated work to combat puppy mills and overbreeding. Regional and international Mastiff organizations are also well-represented.

Breed History research and clippings files contain both originals and photocopies of Mastiff articles, pamphlets, illustrations, research notes, kennel ads, show reports/results, pedigrees, registrations, ephemera and further published information dating back to 1890. Candid photographs and win shots originally present in the files have been removed and stored separately. Some items are relate to organizations such as the American Mastiff Club and Old English Mastiff Club (including a catalog from its first ever show in 1890). Canadian pedigrees, champion and breeder lists, and a collection of photographs and plates of late-19th century Mastiff champions are also present. A small personal collection of the Chapman family, prominent early 20th-century British breeders, contains images of their two major imports, Mattesdon Tondelayo and Bernardo of Pinetrees, and correspondence regarding the donation of the latter to the Yale University Peabody Museum of Natural History for study supporting their breed preservation program.

The Club Administration files hold records of the club’s functions and operations dating back to 1938: constitution and by-laws revisions, news bulletins and memos, meeting minutes, officer correspondence, membership lists, financial documents and receipts, officer nominations and ballots, committee reports, questionnaires, documentation of the organizations the Canadian Mastiff Club and North & East Mastiff Fanciers, and more. The files appear to have been assembled by the club’s historian-archivist Patricia Hoffman, whose personal letters and judge’s ribbon  are present in addition to correspondence establishing the mission of the club archives. The late 1980s, a tumultuous period suggesting a need for rehaul of club administration, are chronicled. Documents retained by Marissa Clements between 1985 and 2008, including meeting minutes and Judges Education Commitee materials, have been maintained separately.

Dog Shows materials include marked catalogs, premium lists, various handouts, and photographs dating back to the first independent MCOA Specialty in 1983. Some MCOA show committee, related correspondence, and other materials are present but researchers are also advised to consult the Club Administration files. Also present is audovisual footage of the 2007 Specialty and a small selection of ribbons, medals, and other souvenirs from MCOA and other events.

Publications and Printed Matter features the parent club’s newsletters as well as many regional and select international newsletters. The MCOA’s first newsletter was published in 1965, with the name “The Journal” added in the fall of 1974. The earliest newsletters, and issues of the later “MCOA Bulletin,” are in the collection, complimenting the runs held by the AKC Library. Newsletters for organizations the Midwest Mastiff Fanciers, Old English Mastiff Club Nederland, Canadian Mastiff Club, and more are present in addition to a substantive run of the Old English Mastiff Club newsletter (as well as a handbook and annual report for the OEMC). MCOA breed columns for the AKC Gazette and further Mastiff articles, pamphlets, books, and ephemera round out this group.

The Canine Health and Genetic Data contains a Dysplasia Control Registry (1974-2001) and a variety of further health registries, reports, and related correspondence dating between 1992 and 2000, including collaboration and communications with the Canine Eye Registration Foundation and Institute for Genetic Disease Control in Animals.


A gift from the Mastiff Club of America (MCOA) in 2009.


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