In November 1905, the peak of foxhunting season across the Midlands of England and up and down the east coast of North America, two tiny towns in Virginia’s Piedmont, poor and nearly forgotten after the Civil War and a recent depression, saw the coming of illustrious and wealthy foxhunters to raise their hopes. There was to be a contest, a Great Hound Match, between two packs of foxhounds, one English and one American. The English hounds carried, on their great stout forearms and deep chests, the monumental weight of centuries of foxhunting in England and were expected to make their hound dog ancestors proud of their New World conquest. The American hounds were expected to show those stodgy old Brits how it was done over here—with spunk and intuition, individuality, drive, and nerve. This book, the story of an audatious contest between men cut from very different cloth and their hounds carved from very different stock, chronicles a metaphorical battle in America’s coming of age—her psychic independence from Britain’s lingering shroud at the turn of the 20th century.
Martha Wolfe holds a Master of Fine Arts in literature and creative writing from The Writing Seminars at Bennington College. She has published in The Bennington Review, The Boston Globe, Science News, and Science Digest as well as local and regional publications in Maine and Virginia. She has twice been a John H. Daniels Fellow at the National Sporting Library in Middleburg, Virginia where she conducted research for The Great Hound Match of 1905. Martha and her husband live on a farm in northwestern Frederick County, Virginia, where they’ve raised three boys, dozens of family dogs, cats, chickens, a few pigs, and a small herd of Connemara ponies. Each summer Martha “walks” foxhound puppies for Blue Ridge Hunt. Find Martha at www.marthawolfe.net.