Schreiber & Sons photographs of Asteroid, Australian (GB), Canary Bird, Eltham Lass (GB), Enquirer, Hester, Idlewild, Lavender, Leamington (GB), Lexington, Longfellow, and Planet, ca. 1860s-70s

In 1874, the Schreiber & Sons photography studio released Portraits of Noted Horses of America, a collection of photographs of select Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds of the day. The prescient purpose of this collection was stated in the book’s preface:

“In offering to the public the first book of this kind ever published, we are carrying out the suggestions of several eminent breeders who have examined our collection of photographs, and who have declared them to be the best pictures of horses ever produced. This is a point on which each admirer of good horses may judge for himself. The pictures are all taken from life, and present every animal just as they actually appear when at rest, which is the posture every horseman desires to examine a horse in when studying his various points of form.

The value of such pictures as these is not alone in the pleasure and profit they afford to the present, but will increase with years, indefinitely, becoming an interesting part of history that can be relied on as perfectly accurate.”

The notable Thoroughbreds included in the collection were the stallions Asteroid, Australian (GB), Enquirer, Leamington (GB), Lexington, Longfellow, and Planet, and the mares Canary Bird (dam of Harry Bassett), Eltham Lass (GB) (dam of Kingfisher), Hester (dam of Springbok), Idlewild, and Lavender (half-sister to Lexington and dam of Baden-Baden and Helmbold).

Click on each photo to enlarge, and then click again to enlarge even further.


Enquirer (1867 b. c. by Leamington (GB) – Lida by Lexington)

The beautiful Enquirer, who was reported to have been a blood bay in color.

Leamington (GB) (1853 br. c. by Faugh-a-Ballagh (IRE) – Pantaloon Mare (GB) by Pantaloon (GB))

Lexington (1850 b. c. by Boston – Alice Carneal by Sarpedon (GB))

Lexington’s blindness is apparent in the photo.

Longfellow (1867 br. c. by Leamington (GB) – Nantura by Brawners Eclipse)

Planet (1855 ch. c. by Revenue – Nina by Boston)

Australian (GB) (1858 ch. c. by West Australian (GB) – Emilia (GB) by Young Emilius (GB))

Asteroid (1861 b. c. by Lexington – Nebula by Glencoe (GB))


Canary Bird (1860 ch. f. by Albion (GB) – Penola by Ainderby (GB))
Dam of Harry Bassett

Eltham Lass (GB) (1859 b. f. by Kingston (GB) – Maid of Palmyra (GB) by Pyrrhus the First (GB))
Dam of Kingfisher

Hester (1866 b. f. by Lexington – Heads I Say by Glencoe (GB))
Dam of Springbok

Idlewild (1859 b. f. by Lexington – Florine by Glencoe (GB))

Lavender (1855 ch. f. by Wagner – Alice Carneal by Sarpedon (GB))
Half-sister to Lexington and dam of Baden-Baden and Helmbold

Norfolk’s living arrangements at Rancho del Arroyo, 1879

“A correspondent of the San Francisco Spirit of the Times recently paid a visit to the home of the thoroughbred stallion Norfolk, and writes as follows concerning him:

Norfolk has an apartment larger than the office, and even more eligibly situated. From that he can watch the sun rise in the morning, and never lose sight of it until it sinks below the hills in the evening. He can watch the colts play in the paddocks, and has a full view of the mares in the fields beyond. He can certainly congratulate himself on his lines having fallen in pleasant places, for it would be hard to conceive of a horse which could be “better fixed.”

He has his meals with the regularity of the clock, and his food is such that an equine gourmet could not do otherwise than relish it. Part of the time he is allowed the freedom of the paddock, and at others he joins in the excitement of a coursing match. It was a grand picture, and one which we will always remember, when, on a former visit, we saw Mr. Wood ride him out with a couple of highbred greyhounds at his heels. He marched along with stately step until the hare was started, but as the chase waxed warm he would become excited, and his eyes would flash as he gazed after the flying quarry and it’s pursuers. When an extra fast hare was put up, and it was making for a direction which it was not desirable to let it take, a slacking of the rein, and he would turn it before the race covered much ground.

Though 17 years old he appeared to run with all the ease and with more vigor than a 3-year-old, and seemed to enter into the spirit of it just as he did when he cut down his competitors so many years ago. He bears his years well, and there is little to show that he was playing round his mother when the guns were booming at Fort Sumter. His eye is as bright as it ever was, and though there is a slight sway in his back, and observer would not think him over 8 years old.” (Chicago Daily Tribune, 02/09/1879)

On then yearling Vera (1880)

“A remarkable yearling filly has been developed in the stable of James Murphy. She is a bay by King Alfonso, dam Veritas, by Lexington, full sister to Vauxhall and Foster. She galloped a quarter in 23 ¾, carrying a good-sized boy, and could have run it in 22 seconds. Her time was equal to 1:35 to the mile. She is the most remarkable yearling in Kentucky. She belongs to Maj. John S. Clark, who bought Minnie C. at Alexander’s sale, and sold her at a big profit. This filly was bought at Alexander’s sale for $525. The brother to Foxhall brought $5,200. Mr. Murphy is justly proud of his new charge. He has a young one that ran second to this filly in the trial, and he is delighted with the performance.” (Chicago Daily Tribune, 07/31/1881)

This filly, later named Vera, would capture the Kentucky Oaks (12f) at the age of three.

Vera KY Oaks (Daily American 1883.05.26)

The Daily American (Nashville, TN), 05/26/1883