Going to the Dogs

Peachy Taliaferro, 1908

I recently discovered the American Memory section of the Library of Congress. I was looking for an image of a wire-haired fox terrier and came upon an image of this ugly dog (above). I love this photo. It’s a horrible snarling little animal. As it happens, this dog Peachy, belonged to distant cousins, Mabel and Edith Taliaferro. Now, the even more shocking part; they were both actresses. Yes, I admit this. You may all recoil in horror and shame. Mabel was known as “America’s sweetheart” until Mary Pickford yanked that title from her hands. Edith was noted for her performance in Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.

This image was made in 1908. At that time, being an actress was one step above prostitution. I can’t imagine how this played out in my family. First, two actresses, then, they did film, not theater, and worse of all sins, they worked for a living. But the most important part of this discovery is the dog Peachy. Peachy is named after a distant grandmother, Susanna Peachey, who married Thomas Walker (father of Dr. Walker) around 1700. Since then, there have been may Peachy’s: Peachy Ridgeway Gilmer, Peachy Ridgeway Taliaferro, Peachy Walker Speed, Susan Peachy Bullitt, Susan Peachy Fry, and it goes on like that for a long time. Obviously, creative naming wasn’t a talent. This talent extended to the dog also.

For the sake of fairness, I am including other family with dog images. With names such as Count, Winston, Drusilla, Sanjay, George, Dudley, and Pie Pie, we can’t judge the past.

Mabel Taliaferro, 1905

Edith Taliaferro, 1900


Mary Kay Adams, Sylvia Flint Adams, Count, 1966

Sylvia Flint and dog, 1954

William Christian Bullitt and Pie Pie, 1940

Marion duPont and dalmation


Randolph Scott and big dogs, 1930s

our dog, Winston

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