An Appreciation of Gordon Grand, 1930s

Today’s highlight is a review (though more a tribute than a formal review) Edith Somerville (1858-1949) wrote of two of Gordon Grand’s books: The Silver Horn and Colonel Weatherford and His Friends. Grand wrote the stories while recovering from a hunting accident.

Appreciation for Gordon Grand, Edith Somerville. National Sporting Library & Museum, John H. Daniels collection, housed in the F. Ambrose Clark Rare Book Room.

Somerville was a popular sporting author and illustrator, writing with her cousin, Violet Martin (who worked under the pen-name “Martin Ross”). Somerville was well-traveled and had a good education; riding, especially to hounds, was foremost among her interests and is often a theme in her writing.

“I am reminded of a tale of an intelligent little girl, who was, for the first time, taken to a meet. She regarded the pack gravely, and remarked, ‘What a lot of dogs!’ She was corrected. ‘Those are HOUNDS, darling!’ She again studied the pack, and then said, controversially, ‘Well, they’re very LIKE dogs.'”

This is one of several pieces in the NSLM collection of manuscript writing by Somerville, who was a Master of Foxhounds for the West Carbery Foxhounds in the early years of the 20th Century. Having traveled in Europe and the United States, she had a very keen interest in the hunting in England, Ireland, and the United States.

“The close kinship of England and the United States could not be more vividly demonstrated than it is by the tales in these books.”

Grand, a successful New York businessman who rode with the Millbrook Hunt, was widely praised for his literary accomplishments. Somerville’s autographed essay is a reflective commentary on Grand’s place in the pantheon of sporting authors. She places him in rarefied air, among Whyte-Melville and Surtees.

Insertion. “[Whyte Melville] ‘dates’ too definitely. So, obviously, does Surtees, but Whyte Melville’s books are deficient in the very robust humour that has preserved Mr. Jorrocks, and has endeared him to so many generations of ingenuous readers.”
Despite how close-knit the sporting world is, it’s a bit unusual to find so direct a tribute of one sporting writer from another. Have you read Gordon Grand’s stories? Drop by the Library sometime to peruse them in our cozy reading alcoves!

Wedding Photography by Spiering Photography

John Connolly has served as the George L. Ohrstrom, Jr. Librarian at the National Sporting Library & Museum (NSLM) since early 2014. He is responsible for the care of the Library collections, including books, magazines, photographs, diaries, letters, and much more. The NSLM collections span over 350 years of the history of equestrian sport, as well as fly fishing, wing shooting, and other field sports. Have a question? Contact John by e-mail


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