Friday, October 30, 2009

Running a Horse Farm in the 1890s - E. B. Emory

Good afternoon,

I hope Nathan's update on the status of the Poplar Grove Project was well-received. If you've not yet had the chance to read it, please scroll down and gain some insight into the progress of this project.

My own post today will be on a subject heretofore absent from the blog, but one that is conspicuously present in the collection. I am writing, of course, about E. B. Emory's stock farm at Poplar Grove. This was big business in the 1890s, and the papers collected in Series 11 reflect that fact.

Several documents reveal the different aspects of E. B. Emory's presence in the horse industry. The first is almost certainly the most prosaic. It is a list of prices one might pay to board an animal at the Poplar Grove farm. There are many duplicates of this item in the series, and one wonders why so many remained at the farm rather than being passed into the hands of potential clients. One finds, perhaps surprisingly, that horses were not the only kind of livestock able to be boarded at the farm. Pigs, lambs and calves were all welcome at Poplar Grove for a price. The most expensive, however, were horses. This seems reasonable, taking into consideration the prices associated with well-bred horses in the 1890s.

We know from this document on the left, for example, that E. B. Emory spent quite a bit of money on his horses. Advertising space did not come cheap, as Emory paid sixty-three dollars for advertising space, according to these two letters. Another, to the right, gives an example of a similar advertisement; it is a Baltimore Sun ad for Happy Russell, the sire of Happy Bee, a prize-winning Emory horse.

These ads would be meaningless, however, without success on the racetrack. Emory had needed to develop a reputation in order to fulfill hopes of money-making success at Poplar Grove. The above reference to Happy Bee is critical here, as we find from another document in this series that Happy Bee was a prize-winning horse on the racing circuit. In the letter presented, one Robert Hough congratulated E. B. Emory on his horse's success in Buffalo and Rochester, mentioning plans to race the horse again in Hartford. With Happy Bee's apparent success in racing, Emory could expect to receive more offers to board animals at Poplar Grove and offers on his other horses.

The business of running a stock farm was a multifaceted one, clearly, and E. B. Emory took part in all aspects. Whether he was boarding animals, selling horses through newspapers, or sending other horses to race throughout the country, Emory was quite involved in the 1890s horse industry. You can expect to see his name more often as we present other parts of the collection, upon which he was a significant influence. As always, comments and questions are appreciated.



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softball players said...

According to research is correct you're right this was a big business in the 1890s, and documents collected in both the Series 11 12 and 13 reflect that fact.

horseracing software said...

I just can imagine how difficult running a horse farm in the 1890s would have been, fortunately we are in a new era where to run a horse farm and horse races is so easy

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