About Me

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Washington, United States
loves: you win if you guessed "pets" and "museums". Also books, art history, travel, British punk, Korean kimchi, bindis, martinis, and other things TBD. I will always make it very clear if a post is sponsored in any way. Drop me a line at thepetmuseum AT gmail.com !

Thursday, October 18, 2018

teddy roosevelt wrangles the pets

Theodore Roosevelt's letters to his children are a pleasure to read (except for descriptions of big-game hunting, at which you chalk it up to the times, wince, and move on).  They are affectionate, funny, thoughtful, and wide-ranging; there is a passage on Dickens as a writer vs. Dickens as a man which is not at all complimentary toward the latter.  The letters are also full of animal news, as the Roosevelt family was fond of pets.  Here's a couple of passages from January 1908 about two of the White House zoo, including a kitchen cat that invited itself to an official reception.
White House, Jan. 2, 1908.
. . . Mother continues much attached to Scamp, who is certainly a cunning little dog. He is very affectionate, but so exceedingly busy when we are out on the grounds, that we only catch glimpses of him zigzagging at full speed from one end of the place to the other. The kitchen cat and he have strained relations but have not yet come to open hostility. 

White House, Jan. 27, 1908.
Scamp is really a cunning little dog, but he takes such an extremely keen interest in hunting, and is so active, that when he is out on the grounds with us we merely catch glimpses of him as he flashes by. The other night after the Judicial Reception when we went up-stairs to supper the kitchen cat suddenly appeared parading down the hall with great friendliness, and was forthwith exiled to her proper home again.

-- from Roosevelt, Theodore, 1858-1919. Theodore Roosevelt's Letters to His Children. New York: C. Scribner's sons, 1919. pp. 217-8.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

wordless vintage wednesday

Purchased 1998 with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board funds

Sunday, October 14, 2018

a cat guards a sketchbook

courtesy of Wellcome Collection, CC_BY
1859:  Emily M. Madden opens her sketchbook, which she will fill with drawings of the cat Mouton, his (?) friends and his adventures.  And since it's his book, Emily thought he'd want to make sure everyone knew.  "This is my book.  Miau-u-u!" This is all I know about Mouton and Emily, but I could not pass either of them by this morning.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

vintage wordless wednesday

From The New York Public Library. NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b11708207

Monday, October 08, 2018

off the cuff

Drawing, Design for Embroidery, Gentleman's Waistcoat Pocket, ca. 1785;
Designed by Fabrique de Saint Ruf ; France; 18.4 × 31.3 cm (7 1/4 × 12 5/16 in.);
Gift of Eleanor and Sarah Hewitt; 1920-36-324 http://cprhw.tt/o/2BkT6/
France, 1785:  this could have been hand-embroidered on your waistcoat, and you could have enjoyed it for a season or two before you ordered one or two or six new fashion-forward garments.  Meanwhile, the political dynamic in France was shifting toward the Terror; in six years Louis XVI would be beheaded.  So much for your leisurely aristocratic days at the hunt, and for lushly decorated clothes, probably left behind when you bailed to England.

Sunday, October 07, 2018


Gift of Bishop Monad, 1869
This peaceful scene is an etching on blue paper from the late-Baroque artist Francesco Londonio (Italian, primarily Milan, 1723-1783).

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

vintage wednesday

image courtesy of LOC, assumed PD
"Stray dog seated at a desk in the congressional office of Representative Charles Wilson."

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

neko no hisu

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Felix Juda (M.73.37.419)
. . . or anyway that's what Google Translate said when I typed in "cat hiss".  (Please, if you speak Japanese, tell me what it really is!)  It's October, and that means black cats.  This woodblock print, "Black Cat Hissing," by Takahashi Hiroaki (Japan, 1871-1945) shows one in full fury.  Japanese culture doesn't weight black cats down with the spooky scary symbolism Westerners do; in fact they are considered good luck, which is only right considering black cats are known for being mostly mellow in nature.  Was this done for the Western market, or was Hiroaki enjoying the sinuous curve the cat makes?