One of the most significant collections held by the Library is the John H. Daniels Collection. It comprises 5,000 volumes collected over thirty years by John Hancock “Jack” Daniels and was donated to the Library by him and his wife between 1995 and 1999. The magnitude of the gift required more room for housing than that which was available in the Vine Hill house and spurred the construction of the Library’s current building, including its climate-controlled F. Ambrose Clark Rare Book Room.
The collection includes books, periodicals, manuscripts, and ephemera, and covers a variety of sporting topics including sporting art, horsemanship, foxhunting, equestrian sports, shooting, fly fishing, veterinary medicine, and more. Anyone who has been on a tour of the Rare Book Room will be familiar with items from the Daniels collection such as the handwritten manuscript on fox hunting by Teddy Roosevelt or one of many books featuring a fore-edge painting.
Daniels was a life-long sportsman himself. He played polo and was MFH of the Camden Hunt in South Carolina. He co-founded and served as Joint-MFH of the Long Lake Hounds in Minnesota, and the Old Stonington Hunt in Illinois. He also served on the boards of the Carolina and Colonial Cup Steeplechases, and the National Steeplechase Museum. He was a member of the board of directors here at the National Sporting Library from 1987 to 2004.
By donating his impressive collection of sporting books to the NSLM, John Daniels preserved the books themselves and shared the knowledge contained within them. He was adamant that his books should be used. He envisioned scholars developing new research from and about these books and sharing it with the larger world. In 2007 the NSLM realized that vision though the creation of a fellowship program named in his honor, The John H. Daniels Fellowship. This September we will welcome our 80th Daniels Fellow.
The program is open to university faculty, graduate students, museum professionals, librarians, independent researchers, writers, and interested others. Recipients of a Daniels Fellowship have come to the NSLM from across the country and around the world. They are supported during their research through stipends, and out of town researchers are frequently housed in a cottage on the NSLM campus. Research conducted through the program has resulted in the publication of books and articles, and scholars frequently share their research with the public through the NSLM’s lecture series. Their research topics have been as varied as the Collection, including horsemanship and equestrian sport, art, fly fishing, shooting, and literature, just to name a few.
The application period for the 2020 John H. Daniels Fellowship program closes on August 15th. I would like to encourage researchers whose projects touch on field sports or sporting art to look at our collections, and if they can identify useful resources, to apply for a John H. Daniels Fellowship.
Erica Libhart has served as the Mars Technical Services 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