George Shepard Page papers
Scope and Contents Note
The George Sheperd Page papers are a strong resource for information on the breeding and care of dogs in the late 19th Century, particularly some of the first Scottish Deerhounds in America. The Breeding and Registration Records series includes a Breeder's Pedigree Book and a Kennel Diary which include pedigrees, registrations, correspondence, and clippings related to the dogs bought, bred, and kept by Page. The books also contain ledgers of expenditures that take note of food bought for the dogs and detailed notes on some of the dogs including dimensions, disposition, show records, and very personal descriptions by Page. The notes on dimensions give us a sense that Scottish Deerhounds now tend to be the same size as they were in the 19th Century as the current breed standard notes they should be from 30 to 32 inches and Page's notes on some of the Deerhounds (Argyle, Donavourd Briard II and Factor in particular) list them at 30 inches or just over 30 inches tall. These notes also illustrate the performance of the dogs in coursing and their original purpose of hunting. As an example, a note on the pedigrees of the dogs Donavourd Briard II and Factor observes them as "both first rate dogs at deer being, able (either alone), to pull down an unwounded stag." Other pedigree information can be seen in the visually appealing half-wheel genealogies for the Scottish Deerhounds Olga and Bruar II. In the Dog Shows series one may find many of the award certificates earned by the Pages' Scottish Deerhounds and Greyhounds, particularly at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show. The final series, Graphic Materials, hold shotos of some of these dogs as well (notably the Scottish Deerhound Ch. Olga and the Greyhounds Charles Davis and Maud Torrington).
The collection is also a great resource for information on late-19th Century coursing practices. The records of the Eastern Coursing Club, of which Page was a founding member, include minutes, track plans, and correspondence in regards to setting up tracks and holding events. These items can be found in the Club Records series.
- circa 1880s-1930s
- Majority of material found within 1880 - 1910
- Page, George Shepard (Person)
Language of Materials
Materials are in English.
This material is open to research without restrictions.
Publishing and Use Restrictions
The majority of the items are in the Public Domain and open to use. A handful of items may still be under copyright and may require written permission from the American Kennel Club and the copyright holder to reproduce. Consult the Archivist if you have questions.
George Shepard Page was born in 1840 in Readfield, Maine. At the age of eight he moved to Chelsea, Massachusetts, where he was educated in the public school system. Upon high school graduation in 1857 he moved westward to Minneapolis, Minnesota where he intended to work in real estate. However, due to the financial difficulties of the time, he soon returned east to New York City. There he settled permanently, married Emily De Bacon and joined his father in the paraffin oil business. He had a home in New Jersey where he and his son, Albion L. Page, later started Dunrobin Kennels, breeding Scottish Deerhounds and Greyhounds. They had their first litter in 1884 and Page continued the kennel until his death in 1892.
Mr. Page was a gifted businessman. He had a profound influence on the gas and oil industry in the United States during the 20 years he was involved in it. Soon after he entered the business, he introduced a process through which the by-products of the oil could be reduced, thereby creating tar, which could be worked into pitch, a product much in demand for construction at the time. Though European gas companies had already realized this and began to take advantage of it, the idea was new in the United States. He founded the New York Coal Tar Chemical Company and began to amass his fortune. The process quickly took hold elsewhere in the United States, since the by-products had long been considered useless waste by American gas companies. This was Page's first major contribution to the gas industry, but certainly not his last. He went on to introduce new and more effective "washer scrubber" cleaning processes as well as a process by which ammoniacal liquor, a liquid used to make fertilizer, could be produced from the by-products of coal production.1 Page also applied his brilliant business sense to Wall Street and was a well-known stock-market man. Through his involvement with the gas and coal industries and his activities on Wall Street, Page became a millionaire.
Though doubtless a successful and innovative business man, Page was also a passionate sportsman. He was once described as "a man of large physique and commanding appearance".2 His main estate in Stanley, New Jersey, was located on several hundred acres of game preserves where Page took great joy hunting and fishing. He was the founder of Quassaic Sportsmen's Club in his home state of Maine. He also started and maintained Dunrobin Kennels on his estate in New Jersey and could often be found hunting in the fields with his dogs. Page was a keen fisherman and for a time was president of the Chatham Fish and Game Protective Association and vice-president of the American Fish-Culturists Association. He worked for the protection and propagation of fish and was the main impetus behind the formation of the United States Fish Commission. It was in fact Page's passion for fishing that led to his involvement with dogs. He was responsible for introducing black bass into England and received a gift of two Scottish Deerhounds from the Duke of Sutherland as a token of thanks. The hounds came from Dunrobin Castle in Scotland, hence the kennel name Page went on to use. Page was one of the earliest Scottish Deerhound breeders in the United States. His dog, Bonnie Robin, was the first AKC-registered Scottish Deerhound. Bonnie Robin was registered in 1886 and her registration number was 4345.3 Page's records of his kennel include pedigrees and some detailed description of his dogs. From these records, we know he was an avid breeder and that he continued to import dogs such as Bruar II, a successful show dog imported from England in 1891, in order to strengthen his breeding stock. He bred many winning dogs, including Ch. Olga, whelped in 1886. Ch. Olga is described as "the finest deerhound bitch we have ever raised..." and she left behind "an enviable [show] record and offspring". Dunrobin Kennel also bred Greyhounds, English Setters, Fox Terriers and Beagles.
Page was also an active member of the Congregational Church and several philanthropic ventures associated with it. He was president of the Howard Mission and Home for Little Wanderers. He was a founder of the New Jersey Temperance Association and went on to be president of this organization for seven years. He was also the superintendent of the Sunday School at his church, where he taught for twenty years. Page was also a great proponent of education. He believed that public education should be non-sectarian, compulsory and free for every child. When he first moved to his home in Stanley, just outside of Chatham, New Jersey, he noticed the lack of a school and immediately founded one, hiring teachers and supplying materials. He went on to spend thousands of dollars to found a school for children of the poor. The National Education League of England even invited him to give a lecture on the free public school system of America.
George Shepard Page died 28 March 1892 of a heart attack in his home at the age of 52. He was survived by his wife and his four children. Albion L. Page, who had bred dogs with his father, continued the Dunrobin Kennel after his father's death.
1. Proceedings of the American Gas Association, American Gas Association. Jan 1894, p. 165.
2. George Shepard Page Obituary, The New York Times. 27 March 1892.
3. AKC, The Complete Dog Book 20th Edition. Ballentine Books, New York. 2006.
Biographical Note by Norma Rosado-Blake with edits by Craig P. Savino.
4.3 Linear Feet (in 2 document boxes and 2 oversized boxes.)
The George Shepherd Page papers include the records of the Page family's kennel, Dunrobin Kennels, which includes some of the first Scottish Deerhounds in America. The collection will be of interest to rearchers seeking the history of Scottish Deerhounds in America, the breeding and care of dogs in the late 19th Century, and some information on late 19th Century coursing for hounds. The resources include pedigrees, kennel diaries, minutes, track plans, photographs, and show awards.
The collection is arranged in the following five series:
- Breeding and Registration Records
- Club Records
- Dog Shows
- Graphic Materials
For arrangements within each series see the corresponding note for each series.
Collection was a gift of Elizabeth Sanfilippo (great-granddaughter of George Shepard Page) in 2008.
- Black-and-white photographs
- Bylaws (administrative records)
- Dogs -- Breeding
- Dogs -- Food
- Dunrobin Kennels
- Eastern Coursing Club
- Hounds (group)
- Lure coursing -- History
- Page, Albion L.
- Page, George Shepard
- Pedigree certificates
- Scottish deerhound
- Scottish deerhound -- Breed standards -- History
- Stud book registration certificates
- Guide to the George Shepard Page papers
- Craig P. Savino
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Code for undetermined script
- Language of description note