Horses in Society: A Story of Animal Breeding and Marketing Culture, 1800-1920

By Margaret Derry

© 2006

Before crude oil and the combustion engine, the industrialized world relied on a different kind of power - the power of the horse. Horses in Society is the story of horse production in the United States, Britain, and Canada at the height of the species' usefulness, the late nineteenth and early twentieth-century. Margaret E. Derry shows how horse breeding practices used during this period to heighten the value of the animals in the marketplace incorporated a intriguing cross section of influences, including Mendelism, eugenics, and Darwinism.

Derry elucidates the increasingly complex horse world by looking at the international trade in army horses, the regulations put in place by different countries to enforce better horse breeding, and general aspects of the dynamics of the horse market. Because it is a story of how certain groups attempted to control the market for horses, by protecting their breeding activities or 'patenting' their work, Horses in Society provides valuable background information to the rapidly developing present-day problem of biological ownership. Derry's fascinating study is also a story of the evolution of animal medicine and humanitarian movements, and of international relations, particularly between Canada and the United States.

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Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 304 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.3in x 1.1in x 9.3in
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  • PUBLISHED DEC 2015

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    ISBN 9781487520366
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    Regular Price: $81.00

    ISBN 9780802091123
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Quick Overview

Derry’s fascinating study is also a story of the evolution of animal medicine and humanitarian movements, and of international relations, particularly between Canada and the United States.

Horses in Society: A Story of Animal Breeding and Marketing Culture, 1800-1920

By Margaret Derry

© 2006

Before crude oil and the combustion engine, the industrialized world relied on a different kind of power - the power of the horse. Horses in Society is the story of horse production in the United States, Britain, and Canada at the height of the species' usefulness, the late nineteenth and early twentieth-century. Margaret E. Derry shows how horse breeding practices used during this period to heighten the value of the animals in the marketplace incorporated a intriguing cross section of influences, including Mendelism, eugenics, and Darwinism.

Derry elucidates the increasingly complex horse world by looking at the international trade in army horses, the regulations put in place by different countries to enforce better horse breeding, and general aspects of the dynamics of the horse market. Because it is a story of how certain groups attempted to control the market for horses, by protecting their breeding activities or 'patenting' their work, Horses in Society provides valuable background information to the rapidly developing present-day problem of biological ownership. Derry's fascinating study is also a story of the evolution of animal medicine and humanitarian movements, and of international relations, particularly between Canada and the United States.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 304 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.3in x 1.1in x 9.3in
  • Reviews

    “This handsome book offers a telling glimpse into the often-charged world of horse breeding and horse trading in North America and Britain between 1800 and 1920.”


    Lawrence Scanlan
    The Globe and Mail

    “A full and complex picture of horse culture.”


    Karen Raber
    American Historical Review

    “Although draft animals have often been treated as footnotes to the rise of the machine, Margaret Derry demonstrates how a detailed treatment of horses can deepen the historical understanding of American and European societies.”


    George B. Ellenberg

    Horses in Society is a lucid and thoughtful journey into the world of the horse at its short-lived zenith, and of the society that honoured and sustained it.”


    Max Foran
    University of Toronto Quarterly

    “Margaret E. Derry’s Horses in Society is a remarkably interesting read ... This is a ground-breaking work that will resonate with social, business, and military historians alike.”


    Warren M. Elofson
    Business History Review

    “An extremely valuable book that brings the history of science to bear on horse-breeding literature and sets both within the context of modern political economy.”


    Ann N. Greene
    Canadian Historical Review

    Horses in Society is a valuable contribution that will interest historians of science and technology, military historians, and anyone interested in the history of animals, economics or the nineteenth century in general.”


    Darcy Ingram
    Scientia Canadensis

    ‘Written with authority, practical knowledge, and enthusiasm, Horses in Society is more than a merely “horsey” book.  While it deals exhaustively with the market-driven world of breeding, it also illuminates broader aspects of the economy, society, and culture of the Victorian world. Social attitudes, eugenics, and prejudice towards the horse economy in the pre-1918 era are all included in a text rich with interest.’


    Richard Moore-Colyer, Department of History, University of Wales

    ‘This is a marvelous, original book on the history of horse breeding and its interplay with the horse markets in the United States, Britain, and Canada.  I know of no other book like it for this period.  Derry draws effectively on a stunning array of primary sources – including government reports, farmers’ journals and magazines, the histories of various horse breeds, and relevant works on the history of genetics and biology – while taking into account the limited secondary literature.  This book is a tour de force, and constitutes a significant contribution to scholarship.’


    Daniel J. Kevles, Department of History, Yale University
  • Author Information

    Margaret E. Derry is an adjunct professor in the Department of History at the University of Guelph.
  • Table of contents

    Acknowledgments

    Introduction

    1. Modern Purebred Breeding: A Scientific or Cultural Method?

    Part One. The Breeding of Horses

    1. The Light Horse
    2. The Heavy Horse
    3. The Farmer’s Horse

    Part Two. An International Horse Market: The Remount Story

    1. Finding Horses for the British Army
    2. American Horses and War: A National and International Issue
    3. Canada’s Equine War Effort: A Story of Conflicting Interests

    Part Three. Governments and Horse Improvement

    1. Understanding Heredity: The 1890 Report of the British Royal Commission on Horse Breeding
    2. Producing Better Horses in the United States: Attempts to Control Fraudulent Activity and Market Share
    3. The Canadian Experience in Horse Regulation: Continental and National Concerns

    Part Four. Society and Horses

    1. Aspects of a Pervasive Horse Culture in Society

    Conclusion

    Notes

    Note on Sources

    Index

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