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Newfoundland Club of America collection

Identifier: AKD -3-15

Scope and Contents

Club administration includes meeting minutes from annual and specialty meetings between 1950 and 1977; committee and individual reports presented to the club between 1947 and 1978; membership lists; distribution materials; and correspondence and business records. In addition to general correspondence arranged chronologically from the 1930s through 1990s, are committee correspondence, such as the Breeder’s List committee, and the personal files of three influential club figures:

The Elinor “Nell” Ayers materials include the private and club correspondences received and sent by Nell Ayers during her years as the NCA secretary and president (1976-1983).

The files of Dryad Kennels co-founder Katherine “Kitty” Drury, dating back to her NCA acceptance in 1932 through her many committee and officer duties (including president), contain some of the club’s oldest preserved materials. Items of particular interest include the original handwritten minutes from the first 20 years of the club and translations of letters from Mrs. Drury's Newfoundland contacts in Switzerland and Germany.

Ingoing and outgoing mail of Dr. Lawrence "Larry" Lerner dates from 1976 to 1977, his tenure as NCA president.

Publications and printed matter includes a nearly complete run and index of Newf Tide, the quarterly publication of the club beginning in 1970, as well as a variety of articles and news clippings (many photocopied) concerning Newfoundlands or dog-related writing. Newf Tide includes conformation results, specialty results, and articles of general interest on topics such as health and history.

The dog shows materials consist of catalogs for National and Regional Specialties between 1967 and 2007, and an extensive assemblage of specialty conformation show and water test catalogs from the 1970s through 1990s, all identified in the collection inventory. Win shots are present for the 1983, 1991, and 1992 specialties.

The breeding and performance history materials contain AKC stud book pages through 1949, assembled lists of Newfoundland title holders in numerous categories, Newfie kennels, and the manuscripts of the three-volume "Newf of Distinction," which includes further title lists and histories, pedigrees, records, certificates, and more of the famous Irwindyl Kennels.

The photographs, given to the NCA by club members, feature a wide collection of Newfoundlands and date as early as the 1920s. The bulk picture famous winning Newfoundlands, shown in candid shots and show poses. About half of the images are accompanied by captions, with identified dogs noted in the inventory.

The four scrapbooks were assembled by Nell Ayers of Seaward Kennels and Waseeka Kennels, two legendary breeders of Newfoundlands who donated the materials to the NCA. Two of the Ayres scrapbooks contain photographs, pedigrees, and registration forms dating back to the founding of Seaward in 1944 by her mother Elinore Ayers-Jameson; the other charts the career of Ch. Seaward's Blackbeard or "Adam," as of the 1980s the most winning Newfoundland of his time, through newspaper clippings. The final scrapbook contains photocopied articles dating c.1915 to 1932 that refer to Waseeka dogs or Newfoundlands in general, as well as photographs of Waseeka, the first large Newfoundland kennel in America, circa 1940.


  • c. 1915-2007


Access Restrictions

This material is open to research without restrictions.

Publishing and Use

Many of the materials, particularly photographs, may still be under copyright and require permission of the AKC and/or the creator before publishing. Please consult the Archivist.

Club and Breed History

THE CLUB Although the popular Newfoundland was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1886, it was not until the 20th century that Newfoundland fanciers made efforts to form official breed clubs. The first Newfoundland Club of America was recognized by the AKC May 19, 1914, with officers E.J. Lame, president; R.B. Fritsch, vice president; and C.R. Wood, secretary/treasurer and delegate to the AKC. The club, however, was a small local group, and shortly after the death of Mr. Woods, it collapsed; in February of 1928 this first NCA's membership with the AKC was canceled for failure to pay dues.

Another early club, the North American Newfoundland Club, was established sometime between 1922 and 1924 and never sought to gain AKC recognition. Under officers Dr. M.J. Fenton, president; Hon. Harold Macpherson, vice president; D.C. Williams, vice president, and Edwin H. Morrison, secretary/treasurer, the NANC was slightly more active than the small NCA had been. The club drew up its own standard of the Newfoundland and in 1929 staged a water trial. This organization also dissolved for unknown reasons, and most of its members attached themselves to the new NCA.

The third time was the charm for a national Newfoundland organization. On February 21, 1930, another Newfoundland Club of America was founded, with officers Quentin Twachman, president; Vivian Moultan, vice president, Harold Ingham, treasurer; and Miss Elizabeth Loring, secretary. This was the beginning of the club that still thrives today, and it was quickly accepted for AKC inclusion in May 1930.

By 1931 the club had proposed a standard for the Newfoundland dog --- an adaptation of the English standard. In 1933 the club held its first National Specialty in conjunction with the Morris and Essex Kennel Club. After a short pause in growth during WWII, the club picked back up, hosting the first post-war National Specialty in 1948. Under the club's new president, Miss Elizabeth Loring, up and coming member Kitty Drury was appointed chair of a committee to revise the Constitutions and Byaws. The revisions were accepted in 1950.

The NCA continued to grow in the 1960s. In 1964 Kitty Drury was elected club president. In 1967 the NCA held its first independent National Specialty, an event that had manifested under the efforts of the then-president Rev. Robert Curry.

In 1970 the NCA began rewriting the Standard for the Newfoundland for the first time since its acceptance in 1931. Also in 1970, the club began publishing its official newsletter, "Newf Tide," which is still being published. In 1973, the NCA held its first official Water Test, designed to test the water rescue talents of its "hero dog" breed.

The club continued to grow through the 1980s and 1990s. In 1985 the NCA held its first official Draft Test, and in 1984 the breed was honored when Ch. Seaward's Blackbeard won Best in Show at Westminster under judge Kitty Drury. In 1990 the standard was again rewritten, and this version is the one maintained by the club today.

THE BREED When European explorers began to rediscover the large Canadian island of Newfoundland in the late 17th century, they found there a breed of large, Mastiff-like black dogs "with size and strength to perform the task required of him." How exactly this native breed developed is a highly debated mystery, but whatever its origins, it did not begin to resemble the breed known today as the Newfoundland until after the late 1700s. Between 1500 and 1700, the native breed was frequently crossed with newly arriving European breeds. Contributors to the emerging Newfoundland likely included Mastiffs and very large brown-and-white "estate dogs," Portuguese Water Dogs, Collie-types, and perhaps even spaniels. By 1700, a unique breed of dog populated the island: It was large, heavy coated and heavy headed, with the strength and skill to be used as a draft animal, and a talent in water that made it a useful companion to the island's fisherman. A black-and-white variety of the dog was common on the main island, while a mostly black variety inhabited the island's outlying provinces.

In 1775, this native breed was officially named by English naval captain George Cartwright after the island of its origin. Very soon afterward, interest in the Newfoundland encouraged serious exportation of the dogs. Beginning around 1780, huge numbers of Newfoundlands were exported to England and the rest of Europe, seriously depleting their numbers on the island. Maintaining the breed fell to England and Europe, and it was in England particularly that the modern Newfoundland claims its creation. It was there that interested breeders began to refine the native breed into a dog that within a few years was recognized as a purebred. The Birmingham "National" dog show in 1860 boasted six specimens of the breed; two years later, entries of Newfoundlands had soared to 41, showing England's booming interest in the large dogs. The animal artist Sir Edwin Landseer favored the black-and-white variety of Newfoundlands so much that the color type was soon called and is still known today as Landseer. At the same time, Scottish author James Barrie put the Newfoundland in the heart of his popular work Peter Pan in the character of the canine nurse, Nana. Such artistic attention, as well of the notoriety of Newfoundland show winners such as S. Atkin's Cato and Howard Mapplebeck's Leo, encouraged so much growth in the popularity of Newfoundlands during this era that they soon became iconic of the English Victorian family.

While in England the Newfoundland was being built into the breed recognized today, the dog was experiencing similar popularity in the United States. As in England, the Newfoundland reached an apex of popularity in America in the late 19th century. The breed was first recognized by the AKC in 1886, and by then it was considered a premier family dog.

However, by 1918 and the close of the World War I, the Newfoundland in America was in a sorry state. War-time rationing had taken a serious toll on the breed's numbers, but rescue came from Miss Elizabeth Loring, who stormed the show ring with Ch. Seafarer, an imported English dog and son of the great English champion Ch. Siki. Over the next few years, Loring imported other Siki sons, such as Ch. Harlingen Neptune of Waseeka, which were used as foundation stock for her Waseeka Kennels. Other Newfoundland fanciers imported more Siki stock. Almost all American champions can trace their lineage to these dogs.

Elizabeth Loring's Waseeka Kennel was the first large Newfoundland kennel in the United States, but she was soon joined in her ground-breaking breeding efforts. Maynard and Kitty Drury's Dryad Kennels, and Major and Bea Godsol's Coastwise Kennels were also established in the early 1930s. With Waseeka, these three kennels are considered the foundation kennels for the American Newfoundland. Another great kennel arose in the following years: Elinor Ayers-Jameson and Jack Cameron joined together to found Camayer Kennels with the intentions of reestablishing the Landseer type of Newfoundland. Their efforts brought back declining Landseer numbers, and using Ch. Oquaga's Sea Pirate, or "Pat" --- a superb black --- they also enhanced the type of the black-and-white variety. Mrs. Ayers-Jameson later changed the kennel name to Seaward. Under her daughter Nell Ayers, Seaward would produce some of the 20th century's greatest Newfoundlands, including Ch. Seaward's Blackbeard or "Adam," the most winning Newf of his time and the first of the breed to claim Best in Show at Westminster in 1984. In more recent years, the increasingly popular Newfoundland again demanded the public's eye when Ch. Darbydale's All Rise Pouch Cove or "Josh" became the second Newf to gain the Westminster BIS in 2004.

Physical Description

15 Linear feet (in 22 boxes [and mixed collection oversize storage])

Language of Materials



The Newfoundland Club of America collection thoroughly documents the club’s activities since its founding in the 1930s, through meeting minutes, reports, and correspondence files of some of its most prominent members and officers over the years: Nell Ayers, Kitty Drury, and Larry Lerner. Also present is a complete run of its publication “Newf Tide,” photographs of prominent dogs dating back to the 1920s, a large assemblage of catalogs for National Specialties as well as regional shows and water trials, titleholder lists, and scrapbooks of Ayre’s Seaward Kennels and Waseeka Kennel, the first large kennel devoted to the breed in America.


This collection is organized into six series based on content, form, and/or creator:

  1. Club Administration, 1930-2000
  2. Publications and Printed Matter, 1930-2000
  3. Dog Shows, 1967-2007
  4. Breeding and Performance History, 1937-1989
  5. Nell Ayers and Waseeka Kennels scrapbooks, c. 1915-1991


Collection was donated by Beverly Eichel, First Vice-President of the Newfoundland Club of America, on behalf of the club in 1997. Additions were made in 2007.

Processing Information

Boxes labelled with a numeral and letter were part of the 2010 collection additions.

The "Newfs of Distinction Vol., 1 – Irwindyl Kennels" binder sustained some water damage and corrosion of metal staples. Metal items were removed and paper was cleaned with a soft brush. Items can be used.



Guide to the Newfoundland Club of America Collection
Collection originally processed by Ellen E. Schmidt; addendum processed in 2010; edits, additions, and conversion of legacy finding aid by Brynn White in 2016. Edits by Katie Bednark in Oct. 2017.
2009; updates in 2010, 2016, and 2017
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
  • Addendum to Finding Aid
  • Inventory of binder contents

Repository Details

Part of the American Kennel Club Library & Archives Repository

101 Park Ave
FL 5
New York NEW YORK 10178 United States