|When Frances Payne of Columbia, Mo., a longtime breeder and exhibitor of Saddlebreds, decided to disperse her horse books, she flattered us with a request for advice. We reminded her that her Susanne set, in their original binding, was a collector's item and
suggested her contacting John Glover of Glover's Bookery in Lexington. He confirmed their desirability, but said that what he
paid for the books would have to be reduced because one volume's end papers were filled with a proud owner's handwritten data about a certain stallion, Anglo Rex Peavine.
While most of us would welcome this as an intriguing bonus, Glover said that serious collectors of rare books demand that they be as pristine as possible. As a result, somebody, somewhere, now has a bargain priced Susanne which tells a great deal about
Anglo Rex Peavine #17187 inside its covers, though not in its text.
Frank W. McLane, address unfortunately not given, tells us that he bought the stallion as a three-year old on May 2, 1942. He does not say where he made his purchase or from whom, but wrote that the breeder was William H. Egly. Anglo Rex Peavine was chestnut with a white left hind ankle and he weighed 960 pounds when first taken home. McLane entered weight gains at intervals until May 15, 1943, when 1110 pounds had accumulated.
Lineage was impressive: by Anglo Rex #7405 by Rex Peavine by Rex McDonald and so back to Denmark FS. Dam was Ann's Nancy Girl and her blood included that of Guided By Love, King Lee Rose and through Montrose back again to Denmark FS.
McLane listed the pages in Susanne on which each of these horses was described. If the stallion was shown, no notation was made about that and we're told of only two instances of his being bred. Both foals were fillies, their names Ginger and Pepper, born in 1942 and 1943, respectively, out of a Morgan mare by Ivanhoe, her name Blackie. We're told nothing more about what may have been "sample" offspring except their weight gains until May of 1943 when all record keeping in the book ended.
Checking out what Susanne and Ransom and Jack Harrison said about Anglo Rex (none mention Anglo Rex Peavine), we have only this: she said that "the good old stallion...was sold" when Welch Greenwell and Porter Fox dispersed at the end of their partnership. Greenwell, Shelbina, Mo., replaced him with a younger animal and there is no hint as to where Anglo Rex went.
Harrison tells us that High Hope Farm on the Paris Pike near Lexington, was the home of Kentucky, Anglo Rex and Silver Mac, but gives no dates. It is impossible not to speculate about Frank McLane and his obviously cherished and very promising stallion. Did
the man's recording things in such an unusual way mean he had never owned a good horse before? Was he planning a breeding operation? Or was this just an experimental investment, which he decided was not worthwhile? Or maybe his efforts were successful enough that he went to a more professional way of keeping records. Or did everything go agley in 1943? One would think he would have recorded the fact if his stallion died or was sold. Could something have happened to McLane himself in that year? If the stallion lived, he could have been given another name which we would recognize.
It's not as futile as it may seem to wonder about McLane and Anglo Rex Peavine. Some reader may now tell us the rest of the story, as they so often do. For instance, Harry Lathrop's wife's name was Jacqueline. This fact came to us after our complaint in the article about the mystery barn at Hannibal, Mo. Though this lady was a highly successful exhibitor, holder of national championships, we had found no reporter of her own time, identifying her beyond "Mrs. Lathrop" or "Harry Lathrop's wife."
And Dick Hensleigh of Albuquerque, who was very helpful with the story about Lee and Jane Fahey, tried repeatedly to set us right about the name of their first and life-changing Pug (Jane became as famous in Pug breeding and showing circles as she was with Saddlebreds). The little animal was named Winkie, not Dinky, as our cutlines in S&B indicated. We were using a picture from an old magazine and somehow the cutline appeared as it had been there, despite our efforts to get it changed. Probably those printed lines, with the photo, constituted a unit that editors could not break into to change just a single word.
We've often said here that reader input is a great fringe benefit of writing about Saddlebred history, and this is not just via phone calls, and letters by USPS or electronic mail. Another, more subtle communication comes from donated old magazines, show programs and other ephemera. It may consist of nothing more than "!!!Our Baby!!!" jotted in pencil by the name of somebody
who won a particular class, or a heartfelt "Blind! Blind! Blind!" by a judge's name. We can only marvel at programs, which despite a few notations, still are so untouched-looking that we cannot imagine anyone's holding them through a show. What we ourselves
take home as souvenirs is usually rolled up and battered. How can some people be such neat spectators? Maybe, after the show, they picked up an unused program to keep, instead of the one that had shared their excitement or disappointment beside the ring.
Notations on the covers of old magazines are especially valuable when they say something like "interview with GFM" or "profile on Sen. Crawford" because that guides us to valuable reference material we might otherwise miss. Some donated magazines bear
address labels from a number of different people in several locations, which shows that a collection already has gone through a few careful hands. And some are in such bad condition that we feel sympathy for the magazines themselves; they survived for decades in a barn loft or concrete-floored outbuilding but remained readable enough to give us some vital facts or dates.
A few years ago we were in touch with a young woman who had undertaken to collect and catalog every issue of S&B, so that data about any horse or trainer or exhibitor could easily be found. Has she continued? If so, we should be nurturing her as a major asset to the Saddlebred industry. It's hard to imagine anyone being able to complete such a task, though. Just storing so many heavy
magazines is a terrible dilemma. The content is so valuable, the pictures so lovely, yet keeping the hoard takes a lot of space and is difficult to move about.
Nevertheless, we should all do what we can to save these fragile sources of history, remembering that printed material needs what we need: plenty of air, protection from extremes of heat and cold and from moisture. We should try to never just discard such materials, but to get them into the hands of groups or individuals that will value them. Organizations on every level, down to
counties, should try to arrange a storage facility for their share of the past.