Hert-Aley Family, Photograph Collection, 1880-1950

Held by The Filson Historical Society

Creator: The Hert and Aley families

Title: The Hert-Aley Family Photograph Collection, 1880-1950.

Rights: For information regarding literary and copyright interest for these papers, contact the Curator of Special Collections.

Size of Collection: 5 albums & group of loose images

Location Number:  008PC1 and 008PC14

Scope and Content Note 

This collection is compiled of five photograph albums; two albums have been disassembled, but remain housed together, and a small group of loose miscellaneous images.  Images include Hert-Aley family and friends, an album of Hurstbourne Farms: Lyndon Cottage and Lyndon Hall (now Hurstbourne Country Club), and two albums which feature objects and art work from the families homes.

Biographical Note 

Alvin Tobias Hert (1865-1921) and his wife Sallie Aley Hert (1863-1948) were one of many owners of the property of Hurstbourne Farms, located in Louisville, Kentucky.  Indiana-born Alvin was a traveling salesman and served as a warden of the Indiana Reformatory in Jeffersonville, Indiana which later became the Colgate-Palmolive Plant.  Following his resignation from the penitentiary in 1902, Mr. Hert moved to Louisville where he made his fortune with the establishment of the American Creosoting Company in 1904.  He represented Kentucky on the Republican National Committee, was a director of the National Bank of Kentucky and a member of “My Old Kentucky Home” Commission.  Mr. Hert got started in politics when he was elected as mayor of Brazil, Indiana in 1895.  He later helped manage the presidential campaign of Charles Evans Huges, assisted in securing the presidential nomination of Warren G. Harding and was a head adviser to Will H. Hays, Harding’s campaign manager.  In 1921, Mr. Hert suddenly died.  Mrs. Hert, upon her husband’s death, assumed the role of Chairman of the Board of Directors of American Creosoting.  She was a Kentucky member of the Republican National Committee before becoming its vice-chair.  In addition to her Hurstbourne residence, she maintained an apartment in Washington, D. C. and homes in Palm Beach, and Mackinac Island, Michigan.

In 1915, Alvin Hert and his wife purchased Hurstbourne Farms and several adjacent farm tracts.  Under the Herts’ ownership, Hurstbourne Farms thrived, including land in excess of 1,000 acres.  It stretched from Oxmoor on the west, crossing Shelbyville Road, to Funk’s Lane now known as Hurstbourne, on the east, and to the Hoke farm on the south.  The property had 62 separate buildings including its own water tower and a ten-room house for the superintendent.

In 1928, Mrs. Hert hired Eusebius Theodore Hutchings, a well-known Louisville architect with the firm of G. M. Grimes and E. R. Gregg Associates, to redesign and enlarge the main Gothic Revival house on the property.  According to other records, it is believed that the Hert’s hired the Olmsted Brothers firm to redesign the lawns and gardens near Lyndon Hall.  “Three levels of gardens, two being very English and one Italian in style with alleys and statuary” were developed on thirty acres (Few, “Personal Recollection,” 1987).  Mrs. Hert had included in the landscape plan an ornamental stone railing from England’s Ainslie Castle and the ruins of a Gothic chapel, images featured in Album 3.  In 1935 the golf cottage on the property became the home of Mrs. Hert’s niece and her husband, Jane Aley and Charles McNeal.  Mrs. Hert commissioned E. T. Hutchings to return to Hurstbourne Farms to design Lyndon Cottage also featured in Album 3.

Sources cited:

National Register of Historic Places, Lyndon Cottage http://nrhp.focus.nps.gov/natregsearchresult.do?fullresult=true&recordid=0 (accessed November 2013)

“Personal Recollection,” by Sarah McNeal Few, 1987.

“Alvin and Sallie Hert.” Louisville Life: Et Cetera.  KET, n.d. http://www.ket.org/cgi-local/fw_mixedmedia.exe/db/ket/dmps/Programs?do=topic&topicid=LOUL110105&id=LOUL (accessed November 2013).


Album List 

Album 1: Photostats of artwork within the Hert-Aley family homes in Louisville, Kentucky and   Palm Beach, Florida.  (008PC14)

Album 2: Photographs of furniture, pottery, and tapestries contained within the Hert-Aley family homes, specific homes are unknown.  (008PC14)

Album 3: Lyndon Cottage & Hurstbourne Farms including images of the driveway, grounds, stone bridge, Ainslie Castle Stone Railing, Gothic chapel ruins, Evergreen garden, Lyndon Hall, horse and landscape scenes. (008PC14)

Album 4: Interior and exterior shots of Lyndon Hall and Hurstbourne Farms, several dating August 1948.  (008PC14.1-.9) [Items have been removed from album.]

Album 5: (008PC1.1-.16) Images of Mr. Alvin Tobias Hert and his wife Sallie Aley Hert with group (008PC1.13) and individually (008PC1.1-.2); as well as multiple images of unidentified men, women and children, most undated (008PC1.4-8).  A Gelatin Silver print of table setting “Dinner in honor of President and Mrs. Coolidge by Secretary Work, March 1926, image taken by Harris & Ewing, Washington D.C. (008PC1.10) and a unidentified jockey and horse verso reads: “Alvin T. Hert—2 yr. old.” (008PC1.9)


Also included are several self portraits signed to Mr. Hert:  

Bingham, Robert Worth, 1871-1937 (008PC1.11) portrait by Underwood & Underwood, Washington.  Bingham was a politician, judge, Louisville mayor (1907), newspaper publisher (he purchased the Louisville newspapers: Courier-Journal and Times in 1918), and United State Ambassador to the United Kingdom (1933-1937).  He moved to Louisville in the 1890s and received a law degree from the University of Louisville in 1897.  He formed his own practice W. W. Davies.

Hays, William Harrison, 1879-1954 (008PC1.12) portrait by Britzman, 1918.  Note below image reads, “To my good friend Hon. A. T. Hert with sincerest affection. Will Hays, Nov. 5, 1918.”  Hays was the manager of Warren G. Harding’s successful campaign for President of the United States in the 1920 election and was subsequently appointed Postmaster General (1918-1921).  The Hays Code for censorship of American films was named after Hays role in the motion picture industry and he was the chairman of the Republican National Committee from 1918-1921.

Hitchcock, Frank Harris, 1867 –1935 (008PC1.13) portrait by Moffett Studio, Chicago, 1909.  Note below image reads, “To my friend Alvin T. Hert With the affectionate regards of Frank H. Hitchcock.”  Hitchcock was chairman of Republican National Committee  from 1908 to 1909.  He then became  Postmaster General of the United States  under President  William Howard Taft  from 1909 to 1913.

Willcox, William R. (008PC1.15) portrait, note below image reads, “To my loyal friend the Hon. A. T. Hert with the warm regards of William R. Willcox.  Willcox was an American politician from New York who served as the Postmaster of New York City.  Willcox also served as chairman of the Republican National Committee 1916-1918.

Woodfill, Samuel, 1883-1951 (008PC1.16) portrait in uniform by Young & Cart, Cincinnati USA.  Captain Woodfill was a Major in the United States Army.  He was a veteran of the Philippine-American War, World War I, and World War II.  Woodfill was one of the most celebrated American soldiers of the 20th century.  During World War I, Woodfill single handedly took out three German machine gun emplacements and successfully lead his men safely back to the American lines.  Woodfill was the most decorated American soldier to have participated in the conflict; he received the Medal of Honor, the Croix de Guerre with palm leaves, the Meriot di Guerra, and the Cross of Prince Danilo among other awards.


[Items have been removed from album.]


Miscellaneous Loose images: (008PC1.17-.26) Items included are loose images from the collection and items that were unframed. Images are of Mr. Alvin T. Hert & wife Sallie Aley Hert with group (008PC1.18); portrait of Sallie Aley Hert dressed in fur and pearls (008PC1.19); unidentified portrait of a man (008PC1.17); unidentified woman with horse (008PC1.20); 5 unidentified images mounted (008PC1.21-.25): two portraits of women, a group shot, a woman mounted on a horse, and a man mounted on a horse; and image of crypt at Forest Lawn Cemetery, Glendale California, January 2, 1926 (008PC1.26).