Gallery 5: Sit, Stay, Say Cheese! The Early History of Companion Animal Photography, 1850 – 1915

About the Curator:

Cultural anthropologist and former museum curator Mary Elizabeth Thurston has specialized in the history of companion animal relationships for over 25 years.  Her groundbreaking book, The Lost History of the Canine Race (1996) explored fifteen thousand years of canine-human relations as reflected in art, photos, documents and artifacts created by generations of dog lovers.  Her writings have appeared in both popular magazines such as Good Housekeeping and scholarly publications such as the Journal of the International Society for Companion Animal Studies.  She has contributed to a number of other books exploring the complexities of nonhuman history, including A Thousand Hounds: The History of the Dog in Photography (2000) and two editions of encyclopedia about animal rights and human-animal interactions edited by the eminent ethologists Drs. Jane Goodall and Marc Bekoff (2007, 2010).  Thurston also was a lead proponent for America’s first federal law stipulating a retirement and adoption alternative to euthanasia for military working dogs, and she was a founding board member of the Texas-based nonprofit organization, Animal Trustees of Austin.

Today she works as the Historian for Hartsdale Pet Cemetery in Westchester, New York, America’s oldest continuously operated animal burial ground and the first to be recognized as a National Historic Landmark.

 

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