Friday, July 22, 2011

Is This Soda?

This week I started a project to scan some of the many slides we've taken over the years. Along the way, I have encountered quite a few pictures I've never seen before, but none that piqued my curiosity so much as this one...


The Livingstons, particularly the last two generations, loved pets and always had a few dogs and cats around the house. As is sometimes the way with pets, a few of them met tragic ends, and the most heart-rending to me is Soda. According to a writing by John Henry, he was killed by "ruffians" in the nearby town of Tivoli.

Soda's story has long been one of the sad tales that we occassionally revisit. Once he was even part of our Legends by Candlelight Tours. His grave marker (shown at right) bears a prominent place in out pet cemetary within site of the mansion.

However, unlike many other dogs of Clermont, I have never seen a picture of this little guy. He died in 1901, five years before Alice (the family photographer) married John Henry and moved to Clermont. All I knew was that he was a Jack Russell terrier--the only one the Livingstons owned.

So when I came across this picture yesterday, I was very excited. Here is a Jack Russell Terrier, posed rather sweetly on the arm of an upholstered sofa.

Now, it could be any old photo of a dog, and not necessarily Soda, except for the fact that I am pretty sure (we'll say 90%) that that is the fireplace in Clermont's libary in the background. The ogee arch appears compressed, which could mean that it is a different fireplace entirely or could mean that this was taken a severe angle, creating that narrower appearance.

Unless I find the original photo (since this came from a pile of old slides) and hopefully find some writing on it, I can never be certain, but in the meantime, this earnest little face will represent to me that of John Henry's companion dog.


**See the update for this post here!

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