review by Michael Rosser
“I have Hutchinson somewhere – the French Bulldog part.” This was the stallholder’s answer to my question at the Kansas National about any French Bulldog books. The good lady was still unpacking and setting up her stall. She said finally in answer to my question “No it’s not a copy – it’s the original part.”
After further hunting at the very bottom of a suitcase, up emerged Part 19 of Hutchinson’s Popular & Illustrated Dog Encyclopaedia containing the French Bulldog section, with Ch Lady Lolette on the cover to prove it.
The copy was in remarkable condition apart from the inevitable rusted staples (after all it was about 72 years old) and was a most reasonable price. I had never seen the original frenchie Part, only the bound volume.
Thanks to Clifford “Doggie” Hubbard* (1913 – 2000) we have much information about the Parts and the eventual three volumes of Hutchinson. Doggie wrote an article about the Dog Encyclopaedia in the second of his ‘A Book at Random’ series published in the English Kennel Gazette in June 1991. (The series resulted in fifty articles, the last one published in August 1997.)
The publication was to be issued “in about 50 weekly Parts” at 7d (3 English P) a Part. The estimate was that it would cost Walter Hutchinson 30,000 pounds sterling (an enormous sum in the early 1930s). In fact it cost him more. Readers would save their Parts and then send them in to be bound or cased, with a choice of bindings. For instance Part 19 started the second volume of Hutchinson. Here is the back cover of that Part.
The first edition of the three-volume-set in book form was published in June 1935, followed by a second issue in 1949. (The title page of the 1949 issue does not have the eight dog portraits on the 1935 title page.)
The text on the breeds was contributed by 106 writers, though at least half came from three enormously respected authorities – George Horowitz (Our Dogs), Edward C. Ash (author of over a dozen dog books and to this day regarded as one of the authoritative dog writers) and A. Croxton Smith (former Chairman of the English Kennel Club and described by Doggie as “the last of the scholars”.
Mrs Herbert Roberts (L’Entente) is named on the cover of Part 19 and no doubt contributed to the French Bulldog writing (given her substantial experience as a breeder, exhibitor and association with frenchies over many years).
Because of cost blow-outs, 50 Parts became 56 Parts, to produce more seven pences per copy. The colored plates were expensive and were reduced in number as the volumes progressed.
Doggie Hubbard cautioned that any prospective buyer of Hutchinson should check the art plates very carefully. There should be 58 art plates in the three volumes. Together with 3 inserted sepia head studies in the first volume, there should therefore be 61 plates, of which 34 are in full color, (including plates by Maud Earl, Frederick Daws, Nina Scott-Langley and John Emms).
Doggie Hubbard commented that Hutchinson was the most up-to-date work of its kind at the time and remained a very reasonably-priced encyclopaedia for years, even after it went out of print.
Hubbard in 1991 suggested prices for the three volumes in good condition and with all 61 plates, at about 150 (pounds sterling) for the red cloth, 250 pounds for the green rexine in better condition and 300 – 350 for really fine copies. Regular 2002 to 2004 catalogues of one English dog book dealer show a range of 125 to 195 pounds for various sets of the three volumes with some defects.
In addition to the French Bulldog section in Part 19, (pages 713 to 722) a frenchie picture appears on page 910. On page 931 there is a splendid full page photo of a frenchie and man on a surfboard being towed. The caption included the words “… This is not Waikiki beach, but a quiet German coastal resort, where master and dog thoroughly enjoy surf-board riding … “
Hutchinson is an enormous work totaling 2,036 pages and a great achievement by many people.
At least look out for volume two if you have not the complete set – and look out for Part 19.
(*The Welshman named Doggie Hubbard was the greatest expert on dog books that the world has seen. He also amassed the largest collection of dog books in the world, aside from thousands of dog books he sold over a lifetime and his own writing and editing. The National Library of Wales in 1998 acquired his collection of at least 16,000 books (a conservative estimate).