Penn Libraries Digitize Horse and Horsemanship Books

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Media Contact:Mindy Weinberg | | 215-746-1342October 18, 2012

            PHILADELPHIA -- The University of Pennsylvania Libraries announce the release of the digitized Fairman Rogers Collection, a library of rare and unique books devoted to horses and horsemanship.

Primarily published in the 19th century with some imprints dating to the 16th century, the collection of 1,054 rare volumes serves as a foundation for scholarly study of the role of the horse in the technical, scientific and social evolution of 19th-century Europe and North America.  The collection includes medical guides, stud books and books on shoeing, harnessing, training, riding, driving, racing, keeping a proper stable and breeds and breeding.

“Some of the old books often have a tenor of partnership with the horse that most modern books lack,” said Dean Richardson, professor of equine surgery and chief of large animal surgery at Penn’s School of Veterinary Medicine. “It is as if they used to truly believe that we needed the horse as much as they need us.”

            “The Fairman Rogers Collection is one of the largest collections, focused on 19th-century horses,” said Ann Greene, undergraduate coordinator and lecturer in the Department of the History and Sociology of Science. “It’s not just about breeding or one breed or riding or racing but offers access to many topics under one roof.”

The release of the digitized collection marks the first milestone in an ongoing project to reformat and conserve the materials. It’s also the first time the Libraries has digitized an entire printed collection.

Using the digital architecture developed by the Penn Libraries, the project offers faceted searching, high-resolution image viewin, and page-turning, features that simulate but also augment the experience of using the physical volume.

Biographical information about Rogers, a cofounder of the School of Veterinary Medicine, as well as context for the materials in the collection, are provided alongside full-text digital editions of the books.

Additional information is available at