Sunday, December 23, 2018

The National Sporting Life Library

The National Sporting Life Library is a jewel that sits right on the edge of the village of Middleburg, Virginia (west of Washington, DC).  We also like to call Middleburg mecca.  The Library houses books and art and hosts exhibitions throughout the year. 

The Library has wonderful facilities and it's lovely just to drop in and see it. Even if you don't live in the area you can follow their exhibitions and collections from afar.  In this day and age when people don't read it's good to see that someone is supporting this lost art.   They have a nice Facebook page.

Their current exhibition, Sidesaddle 1690-1935 can be seen until March 2019.  You can read about it here.

The Library houses rare and old books and you can use their resources for research.  They cover not just riding sports but also other sports like fishing and hunting.  You can join the library and help support their mission and receive invitations to special events.  They host an annual book sale where they sell duplicates of donated books - a great source to add to your own collection.

The current library was founded as the National Sporting Library in 1954, by George L. Ohrstrom, Sr. and Alexander Mackay-Smith, the institution has expanded to become a library, research facility and art museum with over 26,000 books and works of art in the collections. The John H. Daniels Fellowship program supports research and includes scholars from around the world. Information is shared through exhibits, lectures, seminars, publications and special events. Many of the programs are free and open to the public.

Original exhibitions are created in the Library exploring both the depth and the range of the 24,000 volume book collection. Literature, art and ephemera are combined to illustrate themes of interest to scholars and the general public.

Over the years, the Library has been the recipient of several significant book collections including:
  • The Huth-Lonsdale-Arundel Collection
  • The Baron Ludwig von Hundersdorf Collection
  • The John H. and Martha Daniels Collection
  • The Margaret C. Woolums Collection
  • The Captain V. S. Littauer Collection
  • The F. Ambrose Clark Rare Book Room houses 16th-century volumes on classical equitation, the first edition (1653) of Izaak Walton’s The Compleat Angler (with 90 subsequent editions), early American shooting and fishing books, and rare volumes of sporting art. The oldest book in the collection was published in 1523
  • The Chapman Family Fly-Fishing Collection.
The Library is strong in fiction, with works by Will James, R.S. Surtees, Irish writers Edith Somerville, Martin Ross and others. In addition, it houses private collections such as the papers of Harry Worcester Smith, sportsman, author, and Masters of Foxhounds Association founder. There are collections of early American sporting periodicals, including The Spirit of the Times and The American Turf Register and Sporting Magazine.

You can become a member of the Library (well worth the membership for their newsletter) and support this wonderful resource.  Learn more here.

1 comment:

  1. I love how you call Middleburg 'mecca'.. Yes, that is the center of all things 'horsey'.. I loved Middleburg when I lived in Virginia, it's such a beautiful town.
    You and your family have a very Merry Christmas, Ann. I enjoy reading your blog. Have a wonderful 2019.. Good luck with the new colt; he's beautiful!


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