Esteemed Canine Researcher Visits Filson

Canine historian and genealogist, Dr. Bill researches his ancestry. President Thos. Jefferson once praised Bill's German Shepherd predecessors for their high intelligence, ease in training, and pleasant companionship.

By Sarah-Jane Poindexter

Even though Spring has just begun, it almost feels like the dog days of summer in the Louisville area.  Maybe the weather is bringing canine researchers to the Filson in packs, or perhaps it’s our extensive resources on the canine history of the Ohio River Valley.

This Sunday, April 1, the Filson had the pleasure of assisting a distinguished researcher: Bill Poindexter.

Image credit: Laurence Pringle, 2004.

Dr. Bill Poindexter - who prefers to be called ‘Bill,’ ‘Billy Boy,’ or ‘Bilbo’ - is Chair of the history department at the University of Man’s Best Friend.  Though Bill has published numerous scholarly articles regarding Seaman, the Newfoundland, explorer, and goodwill ambassador who participated in the Lewis & Clark Expedition, this Filson visit was strictly for genealogical research.

Historic sheet music from the Filson archive about Bill’s canine kin "composed and sung with enthusiastic applause"

Bill found a plethora of information at the Filson that he used in his research including the 1890 Canine Census, the Encyclopedia of Kentucky Pups, the Mutt family letters, and plenty of dog-eared rare books that convey how his ancestors lived and work in 19th-century Kentucky.  Much to his surprise, Bill uncovered a long lost family connection to the canine companions of our 3rdPresident Thomas Jefferson. Bill was pleased with the information gleaned from the Filson’s research collections and stated that he would bark the message out to his canine cousins and colleagues that the Filson Historical Society is the premier facility for all historical canine information.

Happy April Fool’s from the Filson Historical Society!  Please note: no animals were hurt in the production of this blog post.

Filson Historical

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