In preparation for a new school program debuting this fall, I have had the opportunity to get to know two fascinating sources from the F. Ambrose Clark Rare Book Room. Markham’s Masterpiece (1656), and Citizen and Countryman’s Experienced Farrier (1764). Both contain 17th and 18th century medical treatments for horses at a time when horses were necessary for farming, trading, traveling, and going to war.

Markham’s Masterpiece was published in London in 1610, a time during which England was just beginning to emerge from centuries of medieval feudalism and the supreme monarchy of the Tudors and to a lesser extent, the Stuarts. This copy is the eighth edition, printed in 1656. Playwrights, musicians, and authors often depended on wealthy superiors to finance their publications and performances. Gervaise Markham (c. 1568 – 1637), author of Markham’s Masterpiece, likely depended on the patronage of Sir Robert Dormer to publish the volume. He introduces the book with a long, flowery letter dedicating his work to Dormer, making it clear the social difference between them. He also lists a ‘who’s who’ of great minds that the book’s contents are pulled from, including ancient greats like Xenophon and contemporary medical minds such as Camerarius.

Markham dedicates the book to his patrom, Sir Robert Dormer and also insists "what I am, Art, Soule and affectionis onely Yours; and desire to be so esteemed in all my actions". He signs the dedication "Your Honours humble devoted servant, Gervase Markham".

Markham dedicates the book to his noble patron, Sir Robert Dormer, and also insists

“This Booke is but the externall pledge which doth demonstrate the inward obligation of my heart, since what I am, Art, Soule and affection is onely Yours; and desire to be so esteemed in all my actions”.

He signs the dedication “Your Honours humble devoted servant, Gervase Markham”.

One hundred and eight years later in 1764 a new edition, Citizen and Countryman’s Experienced Farrier, was published in the now thriving American colonies. While the treatments for equine ailments remain almost the same, the introduction and forwarding information are markedly different. The first thing I noticed is that they attribute the book to “ J. Markham, G. Jefferies, and Discreet Indians”. Britain and France had just ended a North American turf war, known as the French and Indian War, in which Native Americans played an important part. It’s likely that British colonial troops picked up some medical and veterinary treatments from their native allies, which then made their way into Experienced Farrier.

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Not only that, but instead of depending on a Lord’s endorsement or the famous names of horse experts living and dead, Experienced Farrier leans on the opinions of four local men of principle. These gentlemen met in Kennet Township, Pennsylvania and unanimously declared the book to be “of great Service to the Publick in general”- meaning the every day colonial horse owner. The introduction also asserts that the medical treatments within are prescribed out of  . .”a sincere opinion to truth and justice”.

Many scholars agree that heady Enlightenment ideals of justice and the value of common man emerged after the French and Indian War when colonists were beset with unfair taxes and increasing pressure from the English Crown. I was surprised to find how pervasive these attitudes were so early on. Certainly this was not meant to be a rebellious book, yet we see even the title, Citizen and Countryman’s Experienced Farrier, hints towards an understanding that colonists were worthy of education, representation, and respect. It also incorporates remedies and ingredients that are specific to the Western hemisphere, demonstrating that these colonists as not only valuable people, but valuable people who are uniquely American. The American spirit was steadily growing, manifesting itself only 12 years later in the Declaration of Independence.


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Anne Marie Barnes is the Educational Programs Manager and Fellowship Advisor at the National Sporting Library & Museum (NSLM). Her passion for museum work began shortly after graduation with a Bachelor’s degree in History from James Madison University. Between her expeience working at the Fredericksburg Area Museum & Cultural Center and the Washington Heritage Museums, she has done everything from designing summer camps to formulating major fundraisers. Have a question? Contact Anne Marie by e-mail

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Walking through the rare book room recently a title jumped out at me.  Boldly printed in gold on a dark blue spine was the title, Dog Prints.  Being a big fan of dogs and actually preferring to see people’s dog photos, I pulled the book off the shelf to take a look.  It is a collection of 89 engravings of dogs dated from 1792 to 1835.  Nearly all of the engravings are portraits depicting individual named dogs.  About half are accompanied by brief comments outlining the pictured dog’s lineage, accomplishments, ownership, or sharing an interesting anecdote about the dog.  Breeds pictured include greyhounds, harriers, pointers, foxhounds, spaniels, terriers, setters, beagles, bulldogs, staghounds, and deerhounds.

Here are three that I especially enjoyed.

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“Pincher is the property of Mr. Cooper, the painter, for whom his attachment was extraordinary; he frequently gave him away, but to whatever distance he was taken, he speedily returned: at length his master met with an accident which proved fatal to him, and his body falling into the hands of strangers, no one could force the affectionate animal from him, until his son made his appearance, and many were bitten in attempting to remove him, not knowing it was his dog.   S.M. Nov. 1811”

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“Drake, a water-spaniel, the property of Lord Charles Kerr.  In the month of August 1813, Lord Charles made a match with J. Cock, Esq. Jun., to play a game of Cricket, His Lordship backing his servant James Bridger and his dog Drake, against Mr. Cock with Wm. Witherell.  The match which was for 50 guineas per side, was played at Hold Pound Cricketing Ground, near Farnham, Surry, on Monday, August 16th, 1813.  The post assigned to Drake was that of catching the ball, the only way in which he could be serviceable, but, as he always caught it at the first bound, he was perhaps a more expert and efficient partner than many Bipeds.    S.M. August 1814”

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“The canine landing net.  The late Mr. S. Burnes of Tooley Street, Southwark, well known as an excellent shot, was likewise one of the best fly-fishers in the kingdom.  He had a pointer dog, called Old York, who frequently was his most orderly companion in that sport, and if a very heavy fish had entangled itself in the weeds, or the bank was particularly unfavourable, Old York would go in, and taking the fish behind the head, bring it out to his master, unbruised, and generally without breaking the tackle.    S.M. May 1819”

The book itself is a bit of a mystery.  There’s no publication information in it.  No compiler or date of creation is listed.  Looking more closely at the engravings I noted that they were all published by either, J. Wheble, J. Wheble & J. Pittman, or J. Pittman, all of Warwick Square, London.  The commentary that accompanies many of the engravings is credited to S.M. and dated with a month and year, and one or two of these comments mention “this magazine.”  A quick internet search turned up the book A Dictionary of Printers and Printing by C.H. Timperley which had a brief biography of John Wheble who published the magazine Sporting Magazine.  Luckily NSLM has this magazine in our Main Reading Room, and I was able to confirm that the material in Dog Prints is indeed from that publication.

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At this point however, I’m at a dead end.  I would guess that Dog Prints was compiled and privately printed by an individual.  It has certainly been customized by an individual as the engravings are numbered by hand and it has a handwritten index.  There is also a clipping from a newspaper or magazine pasted into the book next to the index.  It is a letter from a Mr. Grantley Berkeley to the Committee of the Society for the Suppression of Cruelty to Animals.  Although no publication information is visible on the article, there is an ad with the date June 1839 on its reverse.

Beyond these bits of information one may only speculate on the origin of this book.  Regardless of its origins, Dog Prints is a lovely collection of engravings well worth looking at.  I would encourage readers to come to the library and peruse our copies of Sporting Magazine available in the reading alcoves in our Main Reading Room.  This periodical contains all the engravings in Dog Prints as well as numerous others featuring a variety of sporting subjects.  Dog Prints itself is housed in the F. Ambrose Clark Rare Book Room.


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Erica Libhart has served as the Mars Librarian at the National Sporting Library & Museum (NSLM) since early 2016. The focus of her position is collection services, working to increase accessibility to NSLM’s collection of books, periodicals, and archival materials. 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 Erica by e-mail