Harry Worcester Smith (1865-1945)

A good deal of attention has been paid to Harry Worcester Smith (1865-1945) at NSLM lately. NSLM holds an archive collection of Worcester Smith’s papers, and has several photographs of him, including an image of him hunting in Loudoun County, Virginia in 1910.

Portrait of Harry Worcester Smith, by Richard Benno Adam (German, 1873-1937) Watercolor and pencil heightened with gouache, 20 1/2 x 16 inches National Sporting Library & Museum, gift of the Saddle & Sirloin Club, Chicago
Portrait of Harry Worcester Smith, by Richard Benno Adam (German, 1873-1937)
Watercolor and pencil heightened with gouache, 20 1/2 x 16 inches
National Sporting Library & Museum, gift of the Saddle & Sirloin Club, Chicago

Who was Harry Worcester Smith? A textile magnate from Massachusetts, Harry took it as his mission to promote sport in America. He was gifted with a magnetic personality, often crossing the line between confident and brash.

Success, winner of the Genesee Valley Point-to-Point and Harry Worcester Smith, MFH, in the Loudoun country, 1910. National Sporting Library & Museum Images Collection.
Success, winner of the Genesee Valley Point-to-Point and Harry Worcester Smith, MFH, in the Loudoun country, 1910. National Sporting Library & Museum Images Collection.

Worcester Smith learned to love the outdoors as a boy, during long walks with his father. He was an avid rider, participating in horse shows and steeplechase races before accepting an invitation to hunt fox with a friend. The experience turned him into a fanatical fox hunter, and he spent the rest of his life in the promotion of the sport he loved.

“Upon the turf & beneath the turf, all men are equal.”
From a scrapbook of images collected by Harry Worcester Smith to provide illustrations for his autobiography. The work was never written. National Sporting Library & Museum.

As MFH of the Grafton Hounds in Massachusetts, Worcester Smith was a dedicated proponent of the American foxhound as a superior hunter to the traditional English hound. The point, debated at length, culminated in the “Great Hound Match of 1905,” a competition to lay the question to rest at last. Worcester Smith represented the American hounds, and Alexander Henry Higginson, Master of the Middlesex Hunt in Massachusetts, represented the English hounds.

The Great Hound Match of 1905, by Martha Wolfe, a new book from Lyons Press. The book chronicles the match transformed Northern Virginia.
The Great Hound Match of 1905, by Martha Wolfe, a new book from Lyons Press. The book chronicles the match that transformed Northern Virginia.

The match, hunted in Loudoun and Fauquier Counties, established Virginia as excellent hunting territory and several hunts were founded or moved to Virginia soon after. To learn more about the competition (and to find out who won the match), you can read a new book, The Great Hound Match of 1905 by Martha Wolfe, John H. Daniels Research Fellow. Even better, come visit us this Sunday, November 8 at 2:00 p.m. and get Martha to sign a copy for you! Click here for the full day’s activities, or contact us to reserve your spot.

Advertisements

1 Comment

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s