Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Mining Ancient Knowledge With the Internet

This thin little book was published in the U.S. in 1873, the same year the Kennel Club was created in the U.K. In 1873, it sold for $1.

Today, more than 150 years later, it's an electronic Kindle down load available from Amazon for 99 cents or FREE (and at a better quality) from archive.org.

What's interesting here is that while the information is good, it is a bit all over, incomplete, and with strange bits tossed on top. Pugs, Bulldogs, Italian Greyhounds, and King Charles Spaniels included in a book on terriers?

One clue to the creation of this book is that it was published simultaneously with another book, by the same author, on cock fighting (game cocks).

As I noted some time back,
The Victorian age was one in which there was a tremendous unleashing of knowledge to the common public.

This came with the advent of cheap pulp paper and steel engravings for illustration -- a move that forever changed the world of dogs, among other things.

Even earlier I had note that:
Out of this first Golden Age of Information came a Victorian fascination with nature, the rise of farm stock shows, and Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.

It is hard to overstate how important cheap paper and movable type were to the spread of scientific inquiry and the explosion of controlled breeding experiments occurring at this time.

Suffice it to say that from before recorded history, until the publication of British Quadrupeds in 1837, fewer than 20 breeds of dogs were recognized in Great Britain.

Of course, that was about to change!

By 1837, Charles Darwin had returned from his voyage around the world, and in 1859 The Origin of Species was published.

That same year, the first dog show was held on Newcastle-on-Tyne.

Within 15 years, the Kennel Club had been formed, and just 20 years after that, it had closed its registry to cross-breeding.
One wonders whether Ed James was a genuine dog and game bird man, or whether he was more like Henry Walsh (Stonehenge) -- a man who picked up and copied from everyone and put out slgiht rewrites of their work as his own.

Who knows!

What is certain is that for 99 cents this is a very interesting little book with good advice (for its time) on flea and lice control, as well as canine trick training (it's all about rewards).  A hat tip to David Ambler for posting this fine to Facebook.

1 comment:

Oscar Cadena said...

Awesome! love free books, specially dog books.

I just read "The Daschund - A Dog Anthology" (A Vintage Dog Books Breed Classic) It covers correspondence between breeders and enthusiast, articles and some book chapters regarding dachshund in Victorian era. Just as you write in this post, the fascination and candor of how people discuss or show their point of views in that era is very interesting, lots of references to the famouse Jackdaw and Pterodactyl. After I read the one you posted I would probably get the schnauzer and whippet anthology.