Photo: Huntin’ Dog, c. 1920

I don’t hunt, and what little I do know of hunting is bound into my Susquehanna River DNA. I figure the man reposing by the tree with his trusty companion has been hunting ducks or geese or other small game, like many of my family members. He’s likely my great great grandfather, William Ross Stephens. He was a stonemason from Lower Chanceford, PA, and likely worked the local Peach Bottom Slate, formerly famous for many slate roofs in the region. The trees behind him are scraggly and bare, pointing towards fall or winter. By his side is his partner, perhaps some mix of English Pointer and Beagle. My only acquaintance with hunting dogs comes from my memory of my grandfather’s beagle Sholtzie. I more remember her being fed leftover pancakes and sausage streaked with King Syrup and some Gravy Train added to the mix.

What grabs me is the thought that his human hunting partner, whomever it was, thought to bring a camera and capture him and his dog in repose.

WR Stephens possibly

About Becky Fifield

Becky Fifield is a cultural heritage professional with 25 years experience in institutions large and small. She is currently Head of Collection Management for the Special Collections of the New York Public Library. An advocate for preventive conservation, Ms. Fifield is a Professional Associate of the American Institute for Conservation, Chair of the AIC Collection Care Network, and former Chair of Alliance for Response NYC. She is also a scholar of 18th century female unfree labor and dress. There's a bit of pun in the title The Still Room, delineating a quiet space brimming with the ingredients of memory, where consideration, analysis, and wordcraft can take place. Ms. Fifield’s interests include museum practice, dress history, historic preservation, transit, social and women’s history, food, current events, geneaology, roadtrips, and considerations on general sense of place. Becky and her husband, Dr. V, live in the Hudson Valley.