ASC Minutes

ASC Minutes
1886 to 1894 and 1905 to 1923

The New York Minute that continues on today.
by Wilma Parker, Curator, ASC Archival Project

1886 Minutes

Pages of the 1886 ASC minutes ledger are fragile, the paper thin with age, the edges tattered. The first page, written by A. C. Wilmerding, tells a story of the difficulties club founders encountered as they tried to maintain the organization, as well as develop sound policy and procedures that would ensure the future of flushing spaniels. Throughout, there is a sense of soft-spoken Wilmerding gently guiding the work.

AKC Librarian, Barbara Kolk said they call him their “friendly ghost” because of his many contributions to AKC, the library and Westminster Kennel Club history. His voice echoes in their work yet today.

The basics of forming a club.

ASC members often dawdled paying dues, which left the club with a small treasury. While they supported shows with trophies for some classes, the money shortage prevented them from giving trophies for all. At Board meetings they often didn’t have a quorum and so allowed voting by proxy.

Some members found the processes too difficult. Mr. Rendle’s frustration is evident in the following passage of a discussion of one breed’s standard.

1886 Minutes Sept 15 1886

Proposed by Mr AE Rendle "That owing to the interbreeding of cockers and Field Spaniels for years past the two breeds are so mixed up that it would be advisable to call them all Field Spaniels to be divided by weight-light weight and heavy weight."

Motion Lost

AKC was established in 1887 and was an immediate concern to ASC because of the consolidation of Stud Books. These books were to be held by AKC similar to those in Britain established a few years earlier. The new mandate required all dogs be registered by the AKC. A reflection of the upset is seen in Hemingway’s comment recorded in the minutes.

“It is the opinion of this committee of the American Spaniel club that such action is detrimental to the best interests of dog breeding apart to any consideration as to the wisdom of compulsory registration and the club should have a voice in the decision “ It was resolved that members vote on the question “Shall club funds be distributed at shows where compulsory registration is enforced.”

Thirty-three voted no, nine voted yes. Hemingway resigned in 1890.

Field Trials.

In 1892, Wilmerding was appointed to look into the possibility of ASC sponsoring Field Trials. Dedicated throughout his life to the integrity of breed function, even he reported little progress to the Executive Committee. At one meeting he asked “Is there anyone at all that understands the workings of a Field Trial who can help on this committee?” After a few years, he gave up and submitted his resignation as Field Chair. From then on Field Trials were not mentioned in the early minutes.

1886 Minutes

New Members

In 1890, O.B. Gilman was voted in as a new member and noted in the minutes, but there are no notations of approvals for other people. WT Payne’s name appears as a member in1889 and Rowland Keasbey for the first time in 1891.

Trophies, money and responsibility.

By 1905, the club had 63 members and 11 member clubs. ASC was strict about dues, voting and the purchase of trophies by then. Everyone was expected to contribute to see that trophies were given supporting spaniel classes at ASC and other club shows. Criteria for winning the trophy “Must be an ASC member to win.” Most prizes were won by the donors. Non-members were not allowed to “win” them and if one did carry home a trophy the club sent a letter asking it be returned.

H.K. Bloodgood was a pragmatic club president and a shrewd businessman. Under his direction, ASC made a decision to discontinue the proxy vote. He wanted to increase active participation and establish club’s credibility and prestige.

Dues announcements were mailed and if unpaid, the member was dropped from the roster. ASC continued to grow and soon included a membership of wealthy, privileged people who could finance expenses for the club.

Among these members was Howard Willets, owner of Gedney Farm, White Plains NY. Willets was the sixth president of the American Kennel Club and owned record setting horses in jumping and racing. By 1911 his son, J Macy Willets, the husband of Gladys Bloodgood, joined ASC and added to the influence.

They brought in their friends and soon included members Charles and Vera (Bloodgood) Schribner who owned a publishing company in New York. The list goes on to include Hon. Townsend Scudder, George Greer, OB Gilman, Herman Mellenthin and coal magnate, W.T. Payne. In 1923 the club accepted the application of the niece of Rowland Keasbey, Mrs Dorothy K. L’Hommidieu, famous author of many children books and owner of the Sand Spring Kennels.

1886 Minutes

Some booted out the door.

Not everyone was welcome, especially dissenters. Charles H. Mason was expelled for conduct unbecoming an officer of the club. He wrote for the magazine, Field & Fancy and several of his columns offended the Executive Board. There is no record of the actual columns. The minutes read: The Secretary presented to the meeting a letter received from Howard Willets preferring charges against Charles H Mason. After due discussion the following resolutions were unanimously adopted.

WHEREAS charges have been duly preferred against Charles H Mason under article 6, Section 1, of its' constitution on the grounds that he has been guilty of conduct unbecoming a sportsman and a gentleman in his relationship to the club, to the officers , committee membership and individual members thereof in consequences of numerous articles in the columns published in Field and Fancy in the column "Side Lights" "Charles Manson," which articles were caused to be published.

WHEREAS the said Charles H Mason was duly notified of these charges and that he would be given an opportunity to answer the same at a meeting of the Executive Committee of the said club to be held at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, 34 street and Fifth Avenue on Wednesday Oct 18 1922 at 3 00 in the afternoon.

WHEREAS at the said meeting it was duly proven that Charles H Mason had caused to be published certain articles in "Field and Fancy" under the column entitled "Side Lights" in the issue of Field and Fancy dated respectively March 11, March 18, May 13, May 27, June 3rd , June 17, September 9, and Oct 7th, 1922, all of which articles were presented at the meeting.

Since he did not appear to answer the charges

That said Charles H Mason be and he is hereby expelled from the American Spaniel Club. Unanimously resolved

Handed from secretary to secretary over time, they carry the story of the flushing spaniel, and Cocker Spaniels in particular as the American Spaniel Club. A story that continues today, and preserved by another generation of dedicated spaniel fanciers.

1886 Minutes

Futurity TrophyJanuary Futurity Reminder

Puppy Enrollments are due November 1 for January Futurity. If you miss this deadline, you must include an additional $15 late fee ( total $25 ) and the enrollment must be received by the futurity chair by December 1.