Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006
For Service to the Organization
The master of Idahurst kennels was a Boston businessman who bought his first cocker spaniel in 1883 little thinking he would go into breeding at all much less become the breeder of some of the finest cocker spaniels that were ever seen in that time era In those days the cocker was little more than just a dog and for the next 50 years he sent some of the finest most nearly perfect cockers to the show benches. The Idahurst kennels became the largest and the most well known throughout Massachusetts if not all of New England. He was voted in as a new member to ASC in 1890 and was one of the original founders of our oldest member club, The CSC Breeders Club of New England. He was an outstanding figure in the world of cocker spaniels and he was regarded as the very best authority on the breed.
He maintained a staff of men whose duties were to oversee the care of the kennels located in Cambridge which were equipped in the most modern fashion of the day. In a newspaper clipping from 1937 the writer describes the kennels at Idahurst. "The kennel building is air-conditioned through-out with individual accommodations for 75 pairs of dogs. Two dogs are always kept together at night. The dogs have both indoor and outdoor accessibility whenever they want with large covered runways. When one runs inside the others do likewise just to see what is going on. The kennel and runs are contained on nearly 2 acres, all hidden behind large solid fences which allows for ample exercise and fresh air during waking hours. The maternity ward is entirely distinct from the rest of the kennel."
Gilman was intensely interested in the experimentation work done by Dr. Leon Whitney, noted canine authority on feeding and color breeding and in charge of the Yale experimental kennels at New Haven. Following the advice of Dr. Whitney the Idahurst cockers were fed a mixture scientifically prepared at the kennels. The rations were of raw beef, dehydrated fish, and liver. Fresh tripe, soy beans, alfalfa, hay, bran, spinach and raw squash- sometimes cooked- yeast and egg powder with evaporated milk and buttermilk powder for liquids made up the menu. The weekly feed bill in itself was no small item.
His dogs won a world of championships and his Idahurst Lofty was mounted at his death and placed on exhibit at the Peabody Museum at Yale as showing what a cocker spaniel should be. Ch Idahurst Bell II, whelped in 1928, was a 3 time ASC Best In Show winner, produced several litters of winners and lived a long life of luxury and ease. Another win that pleased Gilman was capturing the Big Four Novice Stake in Boston with Idahurst First Lady.
Gilman was a wise man with respect for the past and what had gone before. This also applied to his dogs. He never had the heart to put one of them down just because it was past breeding age. There came a time when he reached an age that he made preparations for his dogs and collections of history. His scrapbooks contain not only information of his dogs but also history of other well known breeders from those by gone days. The Idahurst Cockers and meticulously kept breeding records and pedigrees, paintings, medallions; award cups, and the Obo II cup were entrusted for safe keeping and care to the Whitney family. OB Gilman died at the age of 95. When the Work Group was formed in 2000 we began to receive Gilman’s historical collections into the ASC Archives.
Wilma Parker, ASC Curator