Man’s Best Friend – a Study on Dogs, Breeding and Disease from 1852

Roslin_S_13This week from the Roslin rare book collection I’ll be featuring William Youatt’s The Dog from 1852. An early study of the various dog breeds, diseases, welfare and even some poetry by Henry Hallam on Walter Scott and his dogs!

Roslin_S_13_7The evolution of the genetics of dogs is fascinating and one of the interesting features of this book are the illustrations of the various breeds of dogs as they looked in the mid-19th century. Comparing these early illustrations to present day photographs of similar breeds shows how they’ve developed over time and what’s changed and what has stayed the same.








Youatt also, discusses the characteristics of the dog breeds, diseases found in canines, social, cultural and animal welfare issues such as domestication, dog fighting pits and trafficking.

This text is discusses breeding and characteristics in a more general way rather than in purely scientific terminology and analysis of the genetics of the canine. However, many articles have been written over the years on the development and changes in the dog and a couple of recent articles are:  The canine genome by Elaine A Ostrander and Robert K Wayne in Genome Research. 2005. 15: 1706-1716 and from the Roslin Institute in April 2013: Population structure and genetic heterogeneity in popular dog breeds in the UK by Richard J Mellanby, Rob Ogden, Dylan N Clements, Anne T French, Adam G Gow, Roger Powell, Brendan Corcoran, Johan P Schoeman, Kim M Summers in  Veterinary Journal Vol: 196 Pages: 92-97

William Bateson’s Books in the Roslin Collection at the University of Edinburgh

In 1908, biologist William Bateson (1861-1926) became Britain’s first professor of genetics at the University of Cambridge. He was known for his interest in studying inheritance traits and Mendel’s research and was the first to translate his works into English. With Reginald Crundall Punnett, Bateson published a series of breeding experiments that extended Mendel’s theory to animals and showed, contrary to Mendel, certain features were consistently inherited together which was termed linkage.


We are lucky enough to have seven books in the Roslin Rare Book Collection that belonged to William Bateson. They are :  Instruction sur la maniere d’elever et de perfectionner la bonne espece des betes a laine de Flandre, 1763; Browne, D J, The American Poultry Yard, 1863; Dixon, Reverend Edmund Saul, Ornamental and Domestic Poultry, 1848 (showing the title page and flyleaf with Bateson’s signature); Dickson, Walter B., Poultry: their breeding, rearing, diseases, and general management, 1847; Croad, AC, The Langshan Fowl, it’s history and characteristics, 1889; Poli, A and G Magri, Il bestiame bovino in Italia, 1884; and ; Nathusius, Hermann, Vortrage über Viehsucht,1872.



As it is apparent from this small selection of books, Bateson’s interests were fairly diverse. He went on to accept the Directorship of the John Innes Horticultural Institute at Merton, England in 1910 and many of the books in the Roslin Collection contain the library stamp from this organisation, but whether it was Bateson acquiring these books or another scientist, it is unclear.  That Bateson’s books are found in the Roslin Collection highlights thelinks between the research scientists were conducting in both Cambridge and Edinburgh in the early/mid 20th century.

Beautiful Books Breeding in the Roslin Rare Books Collection

The Roslin Collection comprises a surprisingly wide-range of material from archival papers, the bound collection of scientific offprints and glass slides. It also includes 71 books on agriculture, animal breeding and genetics. The span of topics and time is remarkable – the earliest book in the collection is a book on Italian horse breeding from 1573 Roslin Il Caualerizzoup to a book on Scottish photography from 1999!  These books were used by scientists at the Institute of Animal Genetics Library, Edinburgh; Animal Breeding Research Organization and Animal Breeding Research Department, University of Edinburgh; University of Edinburgh Agricultural Department, Poultry Research Centre, the Commonwealth Breeding Organization, Imperial Bureau of Animal Breeding and Genetics and Roslin including Professor Robert Wallace and FAE Crew. Some books contain beautiful fold-out illustrations and may have some annotations.

To give you an idea of the scope of the collection:

Corte, Claudio, Il Cauallerizzo de Claudio Corte da Pauia, 1573; Instruction sur la maniere d’elever et de perfectionner la bonne espece des betes a laine de Flandre, 1763; Buc’hoz, Traité Economique et physique des oiseaux de basse-cour, 1775; Hunter, A., Georgical Essays, 1777; Bakewell and Culley, Letters from Robert Bakewell to George Culley, 1777; Great Britain Board of Agriculture, Communications to the Board of Agriculture, vol. 1-7,1797-1813; Salle-Pigny, F.A., Essai sur l’education et l’amelioration des betes a laine…, 1811; Desaive, Maximillian, Les Animaux Domestiques, 1842; Low, David, The Breeds of the Domestic Animals of the British Islands Vol. 1 & 2, 1842; Dickson, Walter B., Poultry: their breeding, rearing, diseases, and general management, 1847; Dixon, Reverend Edmund Saul, Ornamental and Domestic Poultry, 1848; Dickson, James, The Breeding and Economy of Livestock…, 1851; Youatt, William, The Dog, 1852; Doyle, Martin (ed), The Illustrated Book of Domestic Poultry, 1854; Wegener, J.F. Wilhelm, Das Hühner- Buch, 1861; Brown, D J, The American Poultry Yard, 1863; Charnace, Le Cte Guy de, Etudes sur les animaux domestiques, 1864; Youatt, William, Sheep, 1869; Bates, Thomas, The History of Improved Short-Horn or Durham cattle …, 1871; Nathusius, Hermann, Vortrage über Viehsucht,1872; Coleman, J, The Cattle of Great Britain: being a series of articles on the various breeds…vol.1 & 2, 1875; La Pere de Roo, Monagraphie des Poules, 1882; Tegetemeir, WB, Pigeons: their structure, varieties, habits, and management, 1883; Poli, A and G Magri, Il bestiame bovino in Italia, 1884; McMurtrie, William, Report upon an examination of Wools and other Animal Fibres, 1886; Croad, AC, The Langshan Fowl, it’s history and characteristics, 1889; Wright, L, The Practical Poultry Keeper, 1890; Tegetmeier, WB, Poultry for the Table and Market…, 1893; Gordon, DJ, The Murray Merino, 1895-96; Theobald, Fred V., The Parasitic Diseases of Poultry, 1896; Felch, IK, Poultry Culture. How to Raise, Manage, Mage and Judge, 1898; Hearnshaw, Roger R, The Rosecomb Bantam, 1901; Weir, Harrison, Our Poultry and All About Them, Vol. 1 & 2, 1902; Parlin, S W, The American Trotter, 1905; Axe, Professor J Wortley, The Horse: its treatment in health and disease, Vol. 1-9, 1905; Davenport, CB, Inheritance in Poultry, 1906; Gunn, WD, Cattle of Southern India, 1909; Committee of Inquiry on Grouse Disease, The grouse in health and in disease Vol. 1 & 2, 1911; Hewlett, K, Breeds of Indian Cattle, Bombay Presidency, 1912; Lewis, Harry R, Productive Poultry Husbandry, 1913; Bateson, W, Mendel’s Principles of Heredity, 1930; Punnett, RC, Notes on Old Poultry Books, 1930; Houlton, Charles, Cage-bird hybrids : containing full directions for the selection, breeding, exhibition and general management of canary mules and British bird hybrids, 1930; Prentice, E Parmale, The History of Channel Island Cattle: Gurnseys and Jerseys, 1930; Hays, FA and Klein, GT, Poultry Breeding Applied, 1943; Odlum, George M, An Analysis of the Manningford Herd of British Friesians, 1945; Heiman, Victor (editor), Kasco Poultry Guide, 1950; Schlyger, Hühnerrassesn, c1951; Hartley and Hook, Optical Chick Sexing, 1954; Tyler, Cyril, Wilhelm von Nathusius 1821-1899 on Avian Eggshells, 1964; Marsden, Aloysius, The effects of environmental temperature on energy intake and egg production in the fowl, 1981; Ford, Donald, Millennium Images of Scotland, 1999; Bayon, HP, Diseases of Poultry: their prevention and treatment, n.d.


This collection of books provide a valuable resource for the collection as it offers an insight into what the scientists were reading and researching over the years. Over then next few weeks I’ll be highlighting some of the gems of the collection!

Roslin Glass Plate Slides Digitisation Sample Project

Previously we’ve introduced the Roslin Glass Slides Collection and have posted a selection of the 3,465 images in various posts. It is a goal of ours to digitise the collection for easier access to these images and, also, for conservation purposes. While digitising the entire collection is a future project, we’ve managed to find funds in the Towards Dolly budget to have the photographer from the University of Edinburgh’s Digital Imaging Unit (DIU) do a ‘scoping project’  or ‘sample’ and digitise 50 of the slides! As she began work on the slides she found a slide with an interesting feature – it was an early example of someone using an early form of Photoshop on an image! To see her more in-depth discussion of the image read her blog post, Analogue Photoshop?

Maori Girl in Canoe

Admittedly it’s quite hard to tell from this small image; however, looking closely, she said you notice the way the light falls on the water on the background and the size differentiation between the girl in the canoe in the foreground and the other canoe in the background is off and the edging around the girl looks like she’s been cut out from one image and placed on another. This is just one example of the curiosities found and hopefully, once the rest of the slides are digitised, they’ll provide more insight into the quirky nature of this collection.

Professor Robert Wallace, (1853 – 1939), Scientific Agriculture and Rural Economy, University of Edinburgh


As I catalogued the Roslin glass slides collection and some of the rare books one name, and occasionally photograph of, kept appearing – Professor Robert Wallace. Wondering who he was and how he might have been involved with the animal genetics programme at the University of Edinburgh, I decided to investigate.

According to his biography on Archives hub:

 Robert Wallace was born into a farming family at Wallace Hall, Glencairn, Dumfries and Galloway, on 24 June 1853. He was educated at Tynron School and Hutton Academy. He studied at Edinburgh University and was awarded the degree of M.A. in December 1920, and thereafter managed farms for his father and farmed for himself and his brother. He was interested in every aspect of farm livestock recognising the importance of scientific agriculture, and throughout his career he sought to improve the standard of agriculture in Britain and the Commonwealth. Professor Wallace Highland Show 1913In 1882 he was appointed Professor of Agriculture at the Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester and then in 1885 he returned to Edinburgh University as Professor of Agriculture and Rural Economy. In the early years of his office a course in Forestry was added to the curriculum for students, then a course in Agricultural Entomology, and in 1892 and an Ordinary B.Sc. was instituted. He also established the Edinburgh Incorporated School of Agriculture and this led to the official recognition of Edinburgh by the then Board of Agriculture as an agricultural teaching centre. Later on, the East of Scotland College of Agriculture, founded in 1907, merged with the University School to form the basis of the modern School of Agriculture. Wallace occupied the Chair of Agriculture and Rural Economy until 1922. In that year too, an Honours degree in Agriculture was instituted. He was also the Garton Lecturer in Colonial and Indian Agriculture, 1900-1922. In the pursuit of his study and interests, he travelled to CanaProfessor Robert Wallace on Porch in BCda, Australia, New Zealand, India, Southern Africa and Malaysia, Professor Robert Wallace in Africaas well as the United States of America, Egypt, Greece, Mexico, and Japan. Towards the end of his career, between 1914 and 1917, Wallace engaged in correspondence with Woodrow Wilson, President of the USA. The subject of his concern was the treatment of prisoners and hostages in Germany. His publications include Farm live stock of Great Britain (1889), The rural economy and agriculture of Australia and New Zealand (1891), Argentine shows and live stock (1904), and, Heather and moor burning for grouse and sheep (1917). Professor Robert Wallace died on 17 January 1939.

Professor Wallace with Sheep in EgyptWhile some of his papers (1 volume; 2 small bundles; c. 1914-1920) may be found in the Centre for Research Collections, Main Library, University of Edinburgh (Reference number: GB 237 GB 237 Coll-87 / Location Gen. 554-555; Gen. 867F).; there are also numerous glass slides from the Roslin collection used by him as teaching material as well as images of him in East Africa, Egypt, Canada and the United States and several books that were owned by him on horses and Shorthorn cattle. There is even a photograph of him teaching Canadian soldiers about agriculture at the University of Edinburgh during World War I!  Professor Wallace Teaching Canadian SoldiersProfessor Robert Wallace, what’s known about him, seems to have been an important figure in agriculture, rural economy and the natural sciences at the University of Edinburgh with his passion for exploration, documentation and knowledge.

Play It Again, Dolly – An Audio Interview with Playback Magazine

Masterpieces III Recently, a wonderful opportunity arose for me to promote the Towards Dolly Project and the Masterpieces III exhibition to the visually impaired community through an audio interview with John Cavanagh and Playback Magazine for the June 2013 issue. The specific feature is:

Masterpiece 3 Exhibition John Cavanagh speaks to Kristy Davis about this Exhibition taking place at Edinburgh University Library. Acting as a sequel to Masterpieces I and II, shown in 2009 and 2012, Masterpieces III continues to explore and expand the concept of a “masterpiece”, but this time approaches it from the perspectives of science and medicine.

During the interview I describe the glass slides from the Towards Dolly Project and one of my favourite objects in the collection – Mansur ibn Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Yusuf ibn Illyas’s 14th century illustration Tashrih-i Mansuri  (The Anatomy of Mansur of Shiraz) – the human body in Islamic medicine:

Glass SlidesAhmad illustration









Playback Magazine is part of Playback Recording Service, a registered charity, based in Glasgow at the Centre for Sensory Impaired, created to provide a free service to blind and visually impaired people to provide professional-quality recorded material to the UK, as well as parts of the USA, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. A more comprehensive history of this wonderful organization can be found on Playback’s website. Presenter John Cavanagh is an independent broadcast media professional with over 20 years of experience in the voice artist and broadcasting industries.

I hope you enjoy listening to the feature as much as I enjoyed talking to John and having the opportunity to promote this fascinating material to the visually impaired community – I’ll certainly be listening to future editions of the excellent Playback Magazine and I hope that others will as well!

Images were created by the Digital Imaging Unit, Centre for Research Collections, Edinburgh University Library and are © The University of Edinburgh.

From Bukhara to Texas – Dr. CC Young and His Karakul Sheep

The Karakul is one, if not the, oldest breed of domesticated sheep that originated in Central Asia and is known for its ability to withstand harsh environments. Karakul Market, BukharaWhile the fur pelts of the Karakul were prized, they were also used as a source for milk, meat, tallow and wool. The breed was named for the village, Karakul, which lies in the valley of the Amu Darja River in the former emirate of Bukhara, West Turkestan (now Uzbekistan). This region is one of high altitude with scant desert vegetation and a limited water supply causing the sheep to adapt to the harsh environment.

Dr CC Young and Karakul LambsWanting to introduce this hearty breed of sheep known for the quality of its fur, Dr. CC Young, a Russian physician who immigrated to Texas in the United States, imported the first Karakul rams and ewes into the United States in 1908. From accounts, it was quite an endeavour! After travelling to Russia armed with letters of introduction from President Theodore Roosevelt to prominent Russian businessmen, Young returned to New York City with several Karakul rams and ewes of which the Secretary of Agriculture ordered  to be returned to Russia or slaughtered; however, after being in quarantine, they were shipped to his father’s ranch Harem to Texasin Texas. Then, in 1912, Dr. Young ‘joined the International Sheep Congress in Moscow, Russia and purchased several Karakul rams and ewes from various exhibitors; these sheep arrived in Baltimore, Maryland in 1913, but he had to sell many of them to recoup his finances. He started the Young Karakul Fur Sheep Company with some men in Prince Edward Island, Canada and tried to re-purchase the sheep and move them to the island. Since there was so much interest in this breed of sheep, the company sent Dr. Young to Bukhara to secure a larger flock. He traversed the desert, the southern and central plateaus of Turkestan (Uzbekistan) and along the Amu-Daria River. With his connections to various Russian officials, Dr. Young was able to select the finest specimens and so, a flock of 21 sheep (15 rams and 6 ewes) were shipped to the United States quarantine station in Beltsville, Maryland, where 5 of the rams died and the rest of the flock was shipped to Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.

Dr CC Young in Uzbek dressDr. CC Young’s article, “Origin of the Karakul Sheep” in the Journal of Heredity, American Genetic Association is a fascinating first-hand account of his adventures in Central Asia and in his description of the breed.

Animals and Disease

Another theme within the Roslin Glass Slides Collection is physical manifestations of disease and abnormalities in animals from genetic diseases to viral and bacterial infections to insect borne illnesses. Some of the most prevalent in the images are scrapie and scab with some images of Spirillosis in a horse, a double headed calf and cattle meat infected with tuberculosis. Additionally, there are images of animal hospitals and disease prevention methods. This was certainly a vital area of research and interest to these scientists since understanding the genetic aspects of the various diseases could lead to improved treatments and prevention methods to ensure the animals survival and to benefit the economic impact in animal breeding.

Sheep with ScrapieScrapie is a fatal, degenerative disease that affects the nervous systems of sheep and goats. It is one of several transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs), which are related to bovine spongiform encephalopathy.


Sheep with ScabSheep scab is a highly contagious skin disease caused by a mite called Psoroptes ovis causing scaly lesions to develop on the woolly parts of a sheep’s body making them itch resulting in them rubbing or biting themselves causing wool loss.


Spirilosis in HorseSpirillosis is a disease caused by the presence of spirilla in the blood or tissues. Spirilla is a ‘genus of large (1.4–1.7 mcm in diameter), rigid, helical, gram-negative bacteria (family Spirillaceae) that are motile by means of bipolar fascicles of flagella. These freshwater organisms are obligately microaerophilic and chemoorganotrophic, possessing a strictly respiratory metabolism; they neither oxidize nor ferment carbohydrates. ‘

Double Headed Cheviot LambThe double-headed Cheviot lamb suffered from Diprosopus or Cranialfacial duplication which is a rare congenital disorder whereby parts (accessories) or all of the face is duplicated on the head.


Tuberculous MeatTuberculosis is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis which infects the lungs and occasionally other parts of the body.



There are also images of disease prevention methods though mostly of cattle dipping to prevent ticks and one of an animal hospital in India.

India Animal HospitalCattle Dipping Texas with President Taft




While I’ve catalogued many scientific off-prints and glass slides on animals and disease in the Roslin Collection which are available for you to see if you make an appointment to see the material, I’d also recommend having a look at the DEFRA website for more information.

Dining ‘Al Fresco’ in the Early 20th Century

In anticipation of the (hopefully) approaching warm weather, I’ve found a selection of images of people dining al fresco in Uruguay, Argentina and British Columbia, Canada in the early 20th century.

Two of the images are from Fray Bentos, Uruguay – one showing a group of men standing around a traditional South American barbeque pit/campfire roasting three animals on spits and the other shows the same men, joined by women, sitting around a picnic table. Unfortunately, no one is identified in either image; however, one of the group members may be Oldfield Thomas, a zoologist who travelled to South America around the late 19th / early 20th century. If anyone can identify the people in the group, it would be greatly appreciated!


Cooking on an Asado for lunch near Fray Bentos, Uruguay

Cooking on an Asado for lunch near Fray Bentos, Uruguay

Camp lunch near Fray Bentos, Uruguay

Camp lunch near Fray Bentos, Uruguay







In contrast, the next two images show groups of gauchos, sitting around their camp fires on the Argentinian plains outside of Buenos Aires.


Shearers Midday Meal, Cabana Foriane, Argentina. Photograph of a group of sheep shearers sitting and standing around a cook fire and pot for their midday meal on the plains in the early 20th century.

Shearers Midday Meal, Cabana Foriane, Argentina. Photograph of a group of sheep shearers sitting and standing around a cook fire and pot for their midday meal on the plains in the early 20th century.

Photograph of a group of men, gauchos, eating breakfast in their camp on the plains in Argentina in the early 20th century.

Photograph of a group of men, gauchos, eating breakfast in their camp on the plains in Argentina in the early 20th century.

Photograph of a group of men and a woman standing around a camp fire in camp in British Columbia, Canada in the early 20th century. One of the men may be Professor Robert Wallace, another man may be Alex Easton and the woman may be Isabel Easton.

Photograph of a group of men and a woman standing around a camp fire in camp in British Columbia, Canada in the early 20th century. One of the men may be Professor Robert Wallace, another man may be Alex Easton and the woman may be Isabel Easton.









Finally, there is an image of Professor Robert Wallace, who taught rural agriculture and natural history at the University of Edinburgh in the early 20th century, next to a camp fire in British Columbia, Canada.

These images illustrate a fascinating aspect of social history at the turn of the 20th century – that scientists on expeditions around the world documented what and how they ate when ‘out in the field’ provides an interesting insight.

Thrills and Spills and Just another Day at the Races – Motion Studies, Breeding and Cloning in Horse Racing

Now that spring has arrived and with National Hunt season ending and Flat Season beginning, I thought I’d show you some horse racing images we have in the Roslin glass plate slide collection.

Horse racing and animal genetics go well together since issues of genetic traits and physiology are of interest to both breeders and scientists. These images illustrate the ‘body in motion’ – from Muybridge’s film still of a horse running at a gallop to a race horse in the midst of a fall during a steeplechase – they can illustrate how race horse breeding has developed by being able to compare the points of the horse in the slides.Gallop Motion StudyWhite Cockade falls




Looking over the slides I found that they fell into three sub-genres within horse racing :

The first, ‘Racehorses at Rest,’ shows various individual well-known horses in profile which is very useful to see and compare favourable traits found in winners. Additionally, the text beneath the image provides a bit of history on the particular horse.

Dan Patch Horse

The second, ‘Racehorses during a Race,’ shows the horse and jockey in motion on a flat-track or jumping over fences during steeplechases. These images are very useful to see the physiology of the horse in motion. Prince of Wales on Pet DogMovich America's Fastest Racehorse

Grey mare's leap





The third, ‘Racehorses – Accidents’ – is just that- from showing suffragette, Emily Davison’s pulling down George V’s horse at the Epsom Derby in 1913 to horses falling after taking a jump during a steeplechase. Just as a caution – these particular photographs are not particularly pleasant to view; however, they are fascinating to see how the camera has captured the moment and to see how the horses’ body moves.

No Damage DoneSatan and Gamecock fall over the fencesDavison Suffragette Horse 4





Another issue arising is the one on cloning racehorses – can it be done (yes); is it done (yes); are cloned racehorses allowed to race (no); and why clone racehorses (to preserve winning horses genetic lines).  Mike Bunker wrote in his article, “Cloning may be Horse Racing’s Next Horizon” on the 2007 Centre of Genetics and Society website,

Although cloning of food animals has become relatively common since 1996, when Scottish scientists made a DNA duplicate of a sheep named Dolly, the notion of copying racehorses for entertainment purposes is a controversial one. The Jockey Club, which writes and enforces thoroughbred racing’s rulebook, and the American Quarter Horse Association both prohibit the practice.

The first horse cloned was “Prometea,” in 2003 by Cesare Galli, at the University of Bologna in Cremona, Italy, though it was considered to be mostly a ‘scientific experiment’; then, in 2005, – the first champion racehorse, “Pieraz2,” was cloned by the same scientist to preserve its genetic lines. In 2008, Charlotte Kearsley (supervised by John Woolliams) wrote her PhD thesis for the University of Edinburgh on Genetic Evaluation of Sport Horses in Britain in which her “aim of this project was to derive models for predicting breeding values for British bred sport horses and hence develop procedures for their evaluation.”

There are more articles and websites on the genetics of breeding and cloning racehorses and there are more slides in the collection as well, so I hope that this has provided some interesting insight!