Moscow, Tennessee: 1895. W.S. Bell. Large Archive of Stereoviews of Hunting Dogs, Circa 1895 Moscow, Tennessee (380 Images) W.S. Bell.
380 stereoviews on curved tan, cream or grey mounts. Generally, in very good condition. Typical edge wear to mounts. 22 cards have annotations on verso; rest are blank. These likely are amateur photos and the photo quality reflects this with a variety of exposures and some movement captured. Considering the circumstances of field photography, often in dense brush during hunts, the images are quite remarkable.
We know little about W.S. Bell but luckily he left an amazing archive of photographs of late 19th--early 20th century hunting dogs in and around the small town of Moscow, Tennessee. According to the Amercian Kennel Club, the five most popular breeds of dogs in 1890 were working gundog breeds. While we are not experts in dog identification, the majority of dogs in these photos are probably English Setters and Pointers--both species in the top five of popularity in 1890. Based on annotations, Bell bred hunting dogs and worked with trainer J.H. Baldwin from their homes in Moscow, located 46 miles east of Memphis. Several images show Major J.M.Taylor known to be a prominent judge at bird dog shows in the east.
As a breeder, Bell must have been respected. One card states he turned down $500.00 for a bird dog named Mars-chan. Many of the cards depict hunts for quail including a couple photos of Bell himself hunting. He shot a 20-gauge Westly Richards double barrel shotgun, a well-known British gun manufacturer. One poignant image shows Gil Bell, probably a son, sitting on the edge of a gully with a shotgun draped across his lap. The collection also includes a handful of images of puppies on the farm.
Considering the importance of subsistence hunting in the late 19th century, and how few collections of this quality and quantity likely exist on this subject, this collection may be unsurpassed for its time and provides a treasure trove of research value.
Extra shipping will be required for this lot. Item #245