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NSLM welcomed Erin Livengood to our staff recently. Erin comes on board as NSLM’s new Educational Programs Manager & Fellowship Advisor. She will be working to grow the educational programming events and projects at NSLM, as well as providing liaison support for participants in the John H. Daniels Fellowship Program.

Erin received her Master’s degree in Social Science from the University of Chicago, focusing in museum studies and historic archaeology of the Southeastern United States. She holds a Bachelor’s degree with honors from the American University, where her honors thesis focused on historic archaeology in Virginia.

Before joining the National Sporting Library and Museum, Erin worked in artifact registration at the Oriental Institute in Chicago. Erin has experience in exhibitions, registration, and curation at the Oriental Institute, the Smithsonian Institution and the National Geographic Society, as well as at the University of Chicago and American University. Erin has varied archaeological field experience in Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, Washington, D.C., Chicago and Louisiana.

A native of Cumberland, Maryland, Erin now lives in Winchester, Virginia with her fiancé, Will Carosella. They both enjoy yoga, tour cycling, hiking, gardening, and visiting the many vineyards in northern Virginia.

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Today’s item is a relatively recent addition to our collection. Purchased in early 2014, these are presentation copies of etchings labeled “Howitt’s Animals.” They are stored in the F. Ambrose Clark Rare Book Room. Samuel Howitt (1765-1822) was a prolific artist known for his watercolors, etchings and illustrations. Prone to drinking and gambling, he was obliged to take up art after the loss of his family fortune. We did a brief write-up about the books in last Fall’s NSLM Newsletter, but we could only show one image and these are too good not to share! There are so many I picked out, that I’ll detail them in a special two-part post.

These volumes are presentation copies -- special copies the author or artist inscribes to friends or family. These are inscribed to William Edkins.
These volumes are presentation copies — special copies the author or artist inscribes to friends or family. These are inscribed to William Edkins: “The gift of Samuel Howitt who etched these to his friend William Edkins.”
Howitt was raised in the country, and his affection for sport and nature made his art quite faithful to the realities of life in the wild.
Howitt was raised in the country, and his affection for sport and nature made his art quite faithful to the realities of life in the wild.
Howitt is noted for his tremendous output, mainly as an illustrator.
Howitt is noted for his tremendous output, mainly as an illustrator.
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Howitt produced illustrations for The Sporting Magazine in 1793, and eventually contributed over 150 plates covering a wide variety of sporting subjects.
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Several pages on these volumes contain foxing, which usually occurs in machine-made paper of the late 18th and the 19th Centuries. Foxing is not entirely understood, but appears to arise from fungal contamination in the paper.
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Howitt produced during a time when animal art and sporting art were not clearly delineated. I’m of the opinion that some of his best work would be considered animal art instead of sporting art.
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I’m quite convinced that Howitt’s strength was birds. He does a beautiful job of portraying fowl. He has, however, been criticized for shying away from providing landscapes in the backgrounds of his work, presumably because this was an artistic weakness.
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These proofs were specially selected by Howitt as a gift for Edkins. The two volumes appear to be unique.
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Howitt is also known for illustrating books, and he provided watercolor illustrations for Orme’s British Field Sports, a highly-regarded color plate book.

More to come next week in Part 2!

A short one today! Izaak Walton (1594 – 1683) is best known for writing the influential The Compleat Angler, a guide to the culture and spirit of fly fishing that grew and expanded over the course of Walton’s life. It’s considered a major classic in the fly fishing world, and NSLM is lucky enough to possess a wonderful collection of early editions of The Compleat Angler in the John H. Daniels Collection.

Don't let the size fool you!
Don’t let the size fool you!

This book face measures 5 3/4″ tall by 3 3/8″ wide. This size is called duodecimo, the Italian for twelfth, because it’s one twelfth the size of a full folio. This size is often abbreviated 12mo. If you’ve ever seen that abbreviation around, now you know what it means. Use your new-found knowledge to impress your friends and family!

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I believe that to be a Latin inscription on the left page. The “long” or “medial” s is seen there, too. That’s the “s” that looks similar to a modern “f.”

You’re learning all kinds of things today!

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“And now the blessing of St. Peters Master be with mine. And the like be upon my benefit ingenuous Scholer, and upon all that love Vertue, and to be quiet, and go a fishing.”

The NSLM manuscripts collection is in the F. Ambrose Clark Rare Book Room, which houses the Library’s rare books collection as well as the John H. Daniels Collection. One of the manuscripts donated by John and Martha Daniels is a letter from Edith Somerville to Virginia sportsman Harry Worcester Smith in 1924. Somerville was a prominent author of sporting novels with her  cousin “Martin Ross” (Violet Martin).

Worcester Smith had written to Somerville to inquire about the possibility of resurrecting fox hunting in the West Carbery country of Ireland. Somerville responded with a long letter outlining all the considerations: the climate and conditions of country, as well as social concerns following a brutal five years of Irish conflict.
Worcester Smith had written to Somerville to inquire about the possibility of resurrecting fox hunting in the West Carbery country of Ireland. Somerville responded with a long letter outlining all the considerations: the climate and conditions of country, as well as social concerns following a brutal five years of Irish conflict.
"It is, of course, supremely necessary to keep on good terms with everyone, & specially the farmers. The land now belongs to them, so Hunting is at their mercy. I am glad to say that I found them invariable friendly, (but I & my people have always lived here & been good friends with them, which of course helps very much)."
“It is, of course, supremely necessary to keep on good terms with everyone, & specially the farmers. The land now belongs to them, so Hunting is at their mercy. I am glad to say that I found them invariable friendly, (but I & my people have always lived here & been good friends with them, which of course helps very much).”
Somerville's signature. On the reverse of the page, she requests the return of the letter for re-use.
Somerville’s signature. On the reverse of the page, she requests the return of the letter for re-use.

John Connolly
George L. Ohrstrom, Jr. Librarian

Today I get to share an item of which we’re very proud at NSLM. This is the original manuscript of “Riding to Hounds on Long Island,” an essay written by Theodore Roosevelt in July 1886 for the Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine. I’m always certain to bring this out for viewing when we have visitors on tour at the Library.

The essay is beautifully bound and is part of the John H. Daniels Manuscripts Collection.
The essay is beautifully bound and is part of the John H. Daniels Manuscripts Collection.
Red leather and gilt decorations grace this custom binding.
Red leather and gilt decorations adorn the custom binding.
The first page. The essay is written on plain note paper.
The first page. The essay is written on plain note paper.
A photograph of Teddy opposite page one. In 1886, Roosevelt was 28 years old.
A photograph of Teddy opposite page one. In 1886, Roosevelt was 28 years old.
The pages are folded into thirds, presumably stored in a pocket or in an envelope.
The pages are folded into thirds, presumably stored in a pocket or in an envelope.
Guests often comment on the edits in the draft body. Even future presidents aren't above revising their work! In the digital era, edits are mainly invisible.
Guests often comment on the edits in the draft body. Even future presidents aren’t above revising their work! In the digital era, edits are mainly invisible.
Roosevelt's signature on the final page of the manuscript.
Roosevelt’s signature on the final page of the manuscript.
The essay was published as the first item in The Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine, July 1886.
The essay was published as the first item in The Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine, July 1886.
Roosevelt's main theme is a defense of foxhunting as a sport compatible with American culture. He refutes the notion that the practice is too British.
Roosevelt’s main theme is a defense of foxhunting as a sport compatible with American culture. He refutes the notion that the practice is too British.
"It goes without saying that the man who takes to hunting, not because it is a manly sport, but because it is done abroad, is a foolish snob; but, after all, he stands about on the same intellectual level with the man who refuses to take it up because it happens to be liked on the other side of the water."
“It goes without saying that the man who takes to hunting, not because it is a manly sport, but because it is done abroad, is a foolish snob; but, after all, he stands about on the same intellectual level with the man who refuses to take it up because it happens to be liked on the other side of the water.”