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Randolph Huntington papers

Identifier: MSS15564

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of correspondence and ephemera from the estate of Randolph Huntington. Much of the correspondence pertains in some way to the history, breeding, raising, racing, or showing of the Arabian horse in the United States.

The papers contain letters from breeders and owners of Arabian horses, editors and writers for sporting periodicals of the period, and correspondents with others interested in horses; printed ephemera; financial and legal papers; pedigrees and breeding records, some printed and some hand-written; hand-written manuscripts by Avedis G. Asdikian and Randolph Huntington on horse breeding; news clippings; and several photographs.

Huntington became interested in using the two stallions given to former President U.S. Grant in 1877 by the Sultan of Turkey to breed a national horse for the United States. His breeding project, based on the Grant stallions and mares bred from the trotting horse “Henry Clay,” was not successful but it did bring the value of Arabian blood to the attention of other American horsemen, most notably Homer Davenport. This collection contains one letter from Homer Davenport to Randolph Huntington (July 15, 1902).

The depression of 1893 forced Huntington’s breeding operations into receivership and his stock was sold by Peter C. Kellogg and Company, auctioneers according to "The New York Times" February 18, 1894. Correspondence with Collis P. Huntington, railroad magnate, discusses his requests for loans to alleviate his financial difficulties and save his work. Huntington and several other backers had formed a company in 1891 for the breeding of "Americo-Arab" horses, but in 1893 the treasurer, Francis H. Weeks, embezzled most of the company’s assets and fled to Costa Rica. This embezzlement also contributed to Huntington’s financial troubles which plagued him the rest of his life.

This collection also contains about sixty letters or copies of letters written by Huntington himself, though about fifteen are incomplete. There are also several hand-written manuscripts by Huntington in his papers, many of them also incomplete. An eight page letter from Randolph Huntington, August 31, 1899, to George V. Cresson, was added to the collection in 2014 as MSS 15564-a.


  • Creation: 1860, 1873-1908


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

There are no access restrictions.

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Biographical / Historical

Randolph Huntington (1828-1916), born in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1828, was a New York City pharmaceutical manufacturer. After the Civil War, Huntington moved to a farm in Ontario County, New York, belonging to his wife, to breed and sell fine saddle and coach horses and became a leading American authority on the Arabian horse. Later he moved to Oyster Bay, Long Island, in 1891, before returning to central New York at Rochester, in 1905.

In 1854, Huntington married Louise Elizabeth Hayes (1833-1917) and they had several children, including: 1)Isabella Lord (1861-1932) who married (1892) the Reverend James Winthrop Hegeman; 2) Allie Louise (1863-1908) who married (1884) 1st Willis Fred Gove [died 1892?] and 2nd Frank N. Kondolf in 1893; 3) Nathaniel Wheeler (1865-1891); 4) Henry Gaylord Norton (1868-1876); and 5) Albert William (1870-1876).


3 Cubic Feet (6 document boxes, circa 1,000 items)


These letters are arranged alphabetically by the last name of the correspondent, with more frequent correspondents placed in their own folders. The financial papers, news clippings, pedigrees, manuscripts, and other miscellaneous material have been placed after the correspondence in the last box.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection, MSS 15564, was purchased by the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections, University of Virginia Library, from Tomberg Rare Books, Old Greenwich, Connecticut on April, 8, 2013. An additional letter, MSS 15564-a, was given to the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections, University of Virginia Library, by William W. Sihler, on October 28, 2014.

Related Materials

The Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections has an earlier and larger group of Randolph Huntington Correspondence and Ephemera, MSS 11844, with many of the same correspondents.


circa 3 cubic feet

Randolph Huntington papers
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Repository Details

Part of the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library Repository

Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library
P.O. Box 400110
University of Virginia
Charlottesville Virginia 22904-4110 United States