An important group of horse racing books from the library of Sir Roderick William Cameron, founding member of the American Jockey Club at Jerome Park in 1866 and owner of Clifton Berley Stud in New York, will be auctioned at Christie’s in New York June 12.
Cameron, who was a central figure in the revival of horse racing in New York after the Civil War, imported an influential group of horses to North America from England in 1865, including prominent racehorse and stallion Leamington.
Known for his staying ability, Leamington won at Epsom, Goodwood, and Ascot before his arrival in the United States. He subsequently sired such accomplished horses as Aristides, winner of the inaugural running of the Kentucky Derby, and Iroquois, the first American-bred horse to win the Epsom Derby.
Among the group of books, which will be auctioned as lot 133, is the 1869 Catalogue of the Clifton Stud, inscribed by Cameron. The catalogue lists three of the farm’s stallions, including Leamington, 17 broodmares, and several 3-year-olds and yearlings that were auctioned that year. Many of the other books and catalogues in the collection are first editions signed and/or stamped by Cameron.
According to Kate Hunter, specialist in the books and manuscripts department at Christie’s, the books in lot 133 were passed down directly from one of Cameron’s descendents who has remained active in the Thoroughbred industry.
“There are many people who have an interest in sporting books, memorabilia, art--Christie’s has supported those fields for many years,” said Hunter. “Provenance is always a tremendous boost to any lot,” she added in reference to the books coming directly from the library of Cameron, whose family had been part of the elite social society in New York.
For more information about the June 12 sale, visit www.christies.com.