Hon. Towsend Scudder
Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1995
For Service to the Organization prior to 1950
The biography of Honorable Townsend Scudder is easily found in the political graveyard of the past. In the primary elections in 1923 Teddy Roosevelt was running for delegate to the Republican National Convention and had been making a number of speeches denouncing the activities of the Ku Klux Klan. The Klan mounted a vigorous campaign against him in upstate New York and to a lesser extent on Long Island. Shortly before the primary he had to make a speech at Auburn, New York, and he asked his wife to telegraph anyone she could think of to enlist their support for his cause. She mistakenly sent a telegram to Judge Townsend Scudder, the leading Democrat in Nassau County at the time. Judge Scudder, an Honorary member of Matinecock Lodge, Past Grand Master of Masons in the State of New York, and an eminently fair and honorable man, telegraphed back: "CONFINED TO MY HOUSE WITH SICKNESS BUT WILL REACH PROPER PEOPLE AND DO MY UTMOST." Roosevelt was elected.
Dubbed as the trial of the century by news media of the day, the notorious Snyder-Gray murder case inspired much in the way of art, both literary and theatrical. Two of the greatest classics of film, Double Indemnity and The Postman Always Rings Twice, were inspired by the murder of Albert Snyder in 1927. The jury found the defendants guilty of first-degree murder and on May 13, 1927, Honorable Townsend Scudder sentenced both to death by execution. Ruth Snyder was the first woman to die in the electric chair in NY State.
Judge Scudder saw a male he wanted to purchase while visiting a Chicago kennel and the terms of the sale were he must buy the entire kennel in order to obtain Ch. Blackstone Chief. Among those 32 was a young red puppy sired by Blackstone Chief that Scudder named Robinhurst Foreglow. Herman Mellenthin greatly admired the dog and even though he was not producing well with the Robinhurst bitches Herman went looking for just the right bitch making a trade for her ownership. He brought his newly acquired Res Dolly to Foreglow and cocker history was written when Red Brucie was whelped 9 weeks later. Foreglow, bred to Billy Payne’s Westminster Best In Show winner, Ch. Midkiff Seductive, would produced the black/white, Ch. Midkiff Miracle Man, two-time winner of Best In Show at ASC in 1925 and 1926. It was from Robinhurst Kennels that legends sprang and the breed would reach a new plateau.
Scudder was not only an ASC delegate, but he was also an AKC Director (Feb. 1919 - Jan. 1923 and again from June 1932 to July 1939) and he is listed in the AKC Source Book (the history of the AKC 1884-1984). He served as President Emeritus of ASC and was a charter member of the ECSCA. His assistance was instrumental in gaining recognition for the English Cocker as a separate breed.
Few, if any can of today’s English Cocker fanciers can realize how much Judge Scudder did to preserve and promote our breed. The English Cocker Spaniel Club formed in 1935, had only about 10 active members, and it was 11 years later became a breed in it’s own right. Throughout that time Judge Scudder worked indefatigably at whatever was needed to help the breed along. With us, he worked for more than a year in drafting a standard: he wrote scholarly articles for the purpose of instructing the public on the differences between the 2 cockers. He was always ready and willing to assist newcomers and to advise the inexperienced. (Geraldine Dodge, Popular Dogs, April 1960)
He died at his home in Greenwich, Connecticut on February 22, 1960 at the age of 95.
Wilma Parker, Curator, ASC Archives