Horses of the White City

Part II

By Charles and Jeanne Craver
First published in Arabian Horse World Nov 1989 pp 178-191,209-211

Return to Part I.


In spite of disputes with Customs, problems of location, and possible mismanagement within the organization, the Hamidie Society finally got itself a place on the Midway Plaisance at the Chicago World's Fair. In a context where everything was exotic, they were still standouts. A. G. Asdikian described their arrival:

"Early one bright may morning in the year of our Lord 1893 the neighborhood of Thirtieth Street and Michigan Avenue was shaken up as if by a terrible earthquake. The much heralded 'Hamid Hippodrome Co.' had at last arrived in Chicago, and before going to their resting place they had come to serenade the Turkish Commissioners. After tramping over a poor newsboy, upsetting three milk wagons and driving hotel employees into hysterics, there they were with their prancing steeds and flashing scimitars, men dressed in all the colors of the rainbow, directors sitting in open carriages with elegantly uniformed valets perched up with the drivers, donkeys braying, women screeching and the music the most deafening ever heard in any part of the globe. When 120 well trained throats commenced yelling "Long Live the sultan," we thought the big Lakota Hotel, like the walls of Jericho, would fall down. Thus the $3,000,000 Syrian show had landed in Chicago penniless." [25]

On June 17th a somewhat similar dramatic exhibition occurred at the time of what was described as the "Great Parade of Nations from Plaisance":

"... curious people filled up the roadway, driving back the Columbian guards in utter impotence. Ten minutes later they scattered before the sounds of clattering hoofs. Brown, black-bearded , loose-robed men, astride of clean-limbed Arab horses, came down from the west at a fierce gallop. They swung their long spears about their bodies and cried out strange commands to the horses, which turned just as it seemed they were about to dash into the crowd. They were the Bedouins of the Desert, and they moved with a wild, reckless freedom which told the story of their lives ... " [26]

Another description from the contemporary press followed the Fourth of July celebration at the Fair:

"One hundred of the number were mounted on horses and ten came out on camels. These were the first on the scene, and when Robert Levy appeared on an Arabian horse, wearing a red fez to distinguish him from ordinary people, he was roundly cheered by the crowd that had gathered outside the ropes waiting for the exercise to begin. The Turks and Bedouins were drawn up in line, except for half a dozen of the fancy riders from the Hippodrome. They galloped up and down before the crowd, brandishing long spears and frightening folks at either end of the line, who, not knowing how quickly they could turn, fancied they were going to be run into." [27]

Yet another description of the horses on the streets of Chicago was given by Homer Davenport:

"In 1893 ... at Chicago, just before the opening of that World's Fair, the Arab germs in my system got a fresh start. I was going with a reporter on some detail, while employed on the Chicago Herald, when, on State street, we heard some weird, queer music. Approaching us were some gray horses slipping and falling on the wet pavement; horses that actually had grace and beauty as they fell and regained their feet almost instantaneously.
"Though never having before seen a horse with a speck of Arab blood in his veins, I knew that these were Arab horses." [28]

As to the exhibition of these horses, emphasis seems to have been on the romance of the desert horseman. In a descriptive about *Nejdme written for or by one of our founding Arabian breeders, J. A. P. Ramsdell, the Hamidie show is described as follows: "This show ... was well worth a visit, as the game Jareed played on horseback by the Arabs, is a wonderful exhibition of skill and agility, to which even ordinary Arab horses can be trained."

"Jareed" was a game of mock hand-to-hand combat between horsemen with spears. Another description of the nature of the show:

"The character of the entertainment was something on the order of Mr. Cody's show, consisting principally of daring feats of astonishing horsemanship, etc. given by a company of Bedouin Arabs. The novelty of the performance made it interesting. The group ... in feats of equestrianism held the audience almost spell-bound. Dashing like the wind across the open space reserved for exhibition purposes, these wild sons of the desert seemed almost like demons in their impetuous and fierce display of skill. Riding erect in the saddle, first one then another would suddenly throw themselves over on the side of the horse retaining their place on the steed by throwing one nimble leg over the animal's neck; every moment one would expect to see them fall and trampled beneath the horse's feet, but seldom such accidents occurred. These children of the desert are truly remarkable horsemen, and deserve credit for that much..." [29]


"In front of the encampment, on a small platform, a man who blew a small shrill pipe, a young woman who danced or postured, and a young man who accompanied her in the dance, performed before the open Plaisance, with a view of introducing visitors to the troupe, and piquing public curiosity. The evolutions of the spearmen and their sham battles were attractive to lovers of the turf, and not unpleasant spectacles to the masses. The troupe began operations on Sixteenth street, moved to Garfield Park, west of the city, and finally landed safely on the Plaisance, but its members left the city vowing to roast the first Chicagoan they met in the desert." [30]


It must have been a great show. Of course, part of it was fake. Dancing girls, elaborate costumes, and show-boat riding were not really typical of bedouin Arabia, but they were of the Orient, and the concept behind the show was grand: to bring to this greatest of fairs the most romantic part of the Middle East that the Ottoman mind could conceive -- to spend what to them was an enormous amount so that they would be represented by an exhibit that symbolized the beauty and vitality of their tradition. The display of bedouin Arabian horses was something no other country could send as its unique product. They were jewels of an empire, symbols of the romantic past that was part of the culture of Islam.

The show-biz part of the concession may have been fake. The dream behind it was real and a success because for one single time in the history of the Arabian horse in America -- maybe in the world -- these special animals had been brought directly from their originating desert land to the new world, to be shown as Arabian horses in the context of their native life.

As far as the public was concerned, the show appears to have been a mild success. It must have attracted some sort of general audience because it was commented on favorably by a number of writers about the Fair. But there was not enough success in the box office to pay as theatre. Maybe too much time had been lost before the show could actually be located on the Fair grounds. Maybe there was too much mismanagement. Maybe there were so many other exciting attractions at the World's Columbian Exposition that it got lost in the exotic atmosphere. For whatever reasons, the Hamidie Hippodrome Society failed financially. It became bankrupt. The horses were sold at auction. The people were sent home as a matter of charity.

A sad ending for a great dream.

This was one time, though, when the fantasy did not fully end with the dream. After the Arabs had folded their tents and been shipped away, it turned out that the dream had a life of its own. It became part of the beginning for the Arabian horse in America.

This strange foreign exhibit had acted as a magnet to draw the scattered elements of interest in the Arabian breed together in Chicago. A surprising number of our initial Arabian breeders were there. We know of Babson, [31] Bradley, [32] Ramsdell, Huntington, Bush-Brown. It would have been amazing indeed if Albert Harris, who was from the Chicago area, did not attend. Spencer Borden had an interest in Arabian horses at the time. Was he there? Of special importance was Homer Davenport who tells us he saw his first Arabians at the Fair. His subsequent interest in the breed had much to do with getting it established in this country.

Furthermore, the horses were not completely lost. A few were saved for Arabian breeding, and even though their number was small, the influence of their blood is still present in almost all Arabian horses of American bloodlines even today.


The individuals associated with Arabian horse events at the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 were a fascinating group of personalities in their own right. We do not know all of them, and what we know is incomplete, but it provides interesting background information for the time.

Abdul Hamid II (1842-1918): "Sultan of Sultans, Commander of the Faithful, Lord of Two Continents and of Two Seas, Guardian of the Holy Cities." [33] He was Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from `1876 to 1909. Abdul Hamid II was generally considered an oriental despot who fought tenaciously and sometimes darkly to preserve a fading empire. He was noted as an ultra-conservative and extremely suspicious person who personally managed very small details of his regime, relying heavily on internal intelligence agents to keep him posted on events in which he was interested. He enjoyed the music of Offenbach and Sherlock Holmes stories, contributed to the modernization of Turkey, and managed broader peace in the Middle East than has been present there since he was deposed.

His stud of horses included purebred Arabians for which the identity of breeding stock and its strain origins were preserved. He had given the stallions *Leopard and *Linden Tree to General Grant, both of which were eventually registered by the Arabian Horse Club of America.

He is reported to have had a personal interest in the Hamidie Society, which was named after him. Several early official documents indicate that he contributed two horses to the collection of horses brought by that Society to America. He is said to have been bitter that the Society's horses were not returned to Turkey after closing of the Exposition and, as a result, to have refused further such exhibitions of horses. [34]

He played a vital role in permitting and sponsoring the Homer Davenport importation of 1906. He granted permission for Don Hernan Ayerza to export horses from Arabia for his stud in Argentina, a series of importations which also eventually provided bloodlines to American Arabian breeding.

Avedis George Asdikian (1862-1935): He was one of the observers of the Arabian scene in America during its first years. Randolph Huntington wrote of him: "I know him personally and intimately so. His worst fault is generosity. He is a man who will give his last farthing to a friend or to a needy one, not knowing where he get another. He came from Cornell to my home in Rochester, an educated young man, a stranger in a strange land, loved by all who knew him at Cornell." [35] Attendance at Cornell University is also indicated in Asdikian's own correspondence, [36] and in Cornell records, where his name appears to be given with reversed initials showing him as "G. A. Asdikian" and indicating that he was a native of "Harpoot" ("Khapert" is the preferred modern spelling), Armenia in Turkey. He had attended American College and was at Cornell as a student of agriculture not for degree 1887-1889. [37] He was at one time an employee at the USDA from which he was detached for duty with the Turkish Commission of the Columbian Exposition.

Asdikian's adjustment to American life was such that he wrote very well in colloquial English. He was a writer on trotting horse matters for the New York City Morning Telegraph for 26 years. In 1918, writing on the letterhead of that paper, he references personal contacts with Homer Davenport concerning Arabian horses and mentions having in hand a letter from Davenport written from Naples, Italy, on the way home from his 1906 desert importation trip, "in which he gives the breeding of the twenty-seven head." Asdikian was consulted by W. R. Brown in preparation of Vol. II (1918) of the Arabian Horse Club Stud Book. [38] Spencer Borden, however, considered him an unreliable source of information about Arabian horse pedigrees and specifically about those of the Hamidie Hippodrome Society. [39]

As a staff member of the Turkish World's Fair commission, Asdikian had opportunity for first-hand contact with many aspects of the affairs of the Hamidie Society. He wrote an entertaining account of the fortunes of that group which was published in 1897, four years after the Fair. [40] He also indicates that he prepared the sale bill for the Hamidie Society horses, according to which they were sold as a part of bankruptcy proceedings, January 4, 1894. This sale bill is substantially identical with the catalog of Hamidie horses in his article published three years later.

It is very difficult to know what to make of Asdikian's published material on the Hamidie Society. He wrote with a real feel for the romance of the situation. There are, however, many apparent inaccuracies as to fact when it is compared with official documents and correspondence. He is wrong as to the number of horses, giving 45, [41] whereas only 40 were declared to customs on entry to this country. He omits mention of any horses of the Sultan. He is wrong as to number of camels. He says the duty was due because the horses "did not belong to any of the five families as stipulated in the McKinley tariff bill." Instead, official Government correspondence in the matter gives the reason for imposition of duty as the failure of the horses to be immediately located within the grounds of the World's Fair, which would have entitled them to duty-free entry. [42]

He dates the fire in which horses were burned as occurring when they were stabled at Garfield Park race track, [43] which was their second location in the Chicago area. Official correspondence of June 1st dates the fire as immediately after payment of duty on May 18th. [44] At that time they were stabled in two sections, at Wentworth and 36th and at Wentworth and 59th [45] and not at Garfield Park. He gives the number of personnel involved with the Hamidie Society exhibition as "120 men, women, and boys." [46] Instead the passenger manifest of the SS Cynthiana on which the exhibition arrived lists 274 people, and it is obvious that this manifest does not provide a complete listing of personnel associated with the Hamidie Hippodrome Society, so additional people must have arrived by different means.

In several important details, his published account is contradicted by latter letters written by him. In the published account, he gives eleven as the number of horses with pedigrees he saw and says the other horses were not purebred. [47] Later he writes that all the horses except two black stallions from Egypt were purebred and that "every horse had a written pedigree as to their blood lines and purity." That would have been a total of 40 or 45 pedigrees, depending whether his own statement as to the number of horses or the declaration to Customs is accepted. Of these pedigrees he writes that he "personally examined seven" and "had them translated to me several times." [48] Still later, in a letter to W. R. Brown, he gives fourteen as the number that had pedigrees. [49] So who can say what Asdikian really saw?

Asdikian's catalog shows the horse Halool, which he describes as "the choicest and best bred stallion in the lot" [50] as bay and makes no mention of markings. When the horse of the same name was delivered to Bradley in Boston, it was described in the Boston Herald as a chestnut with four white feet and discussed in considerable detail. [51] Either the Herald reporter or Asdikian was wrong about the color of this horse, if indeed, they were actually writing about the same animal. Maybe there had been a switch. Apart from that possibility, it seems odd that Asdikian's catalog did not describe the four white feet given by the Herald reporter. Even if a switch of horses occurred, four white feet are a very apparent feature of marking. It would seem that some horse in Asdikian's catalog of Hamidie horses would have been described as having them if the catalog was accurate and/or complete, but no horse of any color with four white feet was mentioned.

Asdikian's information concerning the background of the Hamidie horses must have been obtained under considerable disadvantage. We have no evidence that he was familiar with Arabic, and perhaps it is an indication of lack of familiarity with that language when he says he had to work through an interpreter to "read" those pedigrees which he saw. The odd point here is that the interpreter is said to have been for the "Turkish" language. "Turkish" is different from "Arabic." Generally speaking, Arabic-speaking people of the Arabian peninsula were resentful of the Turkish language, and it is by no means certain that native performers of the Bedouin exhibit would have spoken it. Any pedigrees of bedouin Arabian origin would have been very unlikely to have been written in Turkish, and, in fact, two pedigrees which have survived from the importation are written in Arabic. [52] Maybe Asdikian was merely writing carelessly.

One convincing aspect of Asdikian's catalog is that most of the horses had both strain and substrain identification. It adds to credibility that a fairly large number of the strains named were out of the ordinary although of present record as being known strains of the Arabian horse. A strain such as "Maneghi-Slaji" (properly spelled Mu'niqi-Saluki, according to Raswan), for instance, is unusual enough that it would probably not have been a fabrication.

Asdikian's material is included in this article for color but with little reliance for substance. He may merely have been a newspaper type who never dreamed that what he wrote would be looked at closely. In those days, journalists were free spirits who loved a good story and were not too inhibited by dull facts. Asdikian's article is good reading. Its factual content could easily have been gathered in an afternoon since what is presented is mostly a brief catalog with some puzzling inconsistencies plus a few anecdotes.

Huntington, sometimes also an uncertain source, describes preparation of Asdikian's catalog of Hamidie horses: "In company with Turk and Syrian... owners, Mr. Asdikian made out the catalogue, fabricating names and pedigrees as the Turkish fashion, or better Jambaze methods." [53]

Khalil A. Bistany (c. 1858-1940); Proprietor of an oriental rug business in Buffalo, New York. In a personal interview with Homer Davenport in 1906, he indicated that he had "lost upwards of $80,000 in financing the company known as "The Hamid Hippodrome Company,"... he having paid the money for the purchase of the horses and mares." [54] A subsequent letter of April 16, 1909 repeats statement of his involvement indicating "price was no object to us..." [55] According to AHC stud book Vol. IV, he was the importer to the U.S. from Syria of *Saada 721 in 1929, and *Al-Mashoor 965 and *Alya 966 in 1933. His obituary in the New York Times reports his death as of June 21, 1940: "Mr. Bistany died Wednesday at his home in Beirut, Syria, where he had retired in 1925. He first came to the United States in 1893 to install with his family an elaborate exhibit of Bedouin tribesmen, Arabian horses and Oriental rugs at the Chicago World Fair."

Henry Kirke Bush-Brown (1857-1935): An American sculptor just returned from study in Europe, he exhibited at the Fair a well-received statuary group showing a mounted American Indian shooting a buffalo. He was noted for his equestrian statues. Bush-Brown became the eventual owner of the Russian-Arab stallion *Gouneiad. He was a long-term director of the organization and kept registers for part-breds of various crosses with Arabians for several years.

Peter Butler Bradley (1850-1933): Bradley was a wealthy industrialist headquartered in the Boston area. Dr. Souther, a veterinarian from the Boston area, represented him at the receivership sale of the Hamidie horses in January of 1894. Purchased on his behalf were Halool, *Obeyran, Sirhal, *Galfia, *Mannaky, and Abbya. Others appear to have been acquired later.

Judging from the comments of the reporter who saw the Hamidie Arabs purchased for Bradley at the Chicago auction shortly after they arrived in the Boston area, one of the reasons for purchasing them was for use in breeding polo ponies by crossing with western and southern mares. [56] This interest seems to have persisted. In 1906, when Bradley financed the Davenport expedition to Arabia in partnership with Homer Davenport, Davenport wrote to a friend that one of the purposes of the trip was to acquire horses to use in the production of polo ponies. [57] Some time later, in an advertisement for the Davenport Desert Arabian Studs, which was a corporate arrangement between Bradley and Davenport, one of the goals of the corporation is given as breeding "the best polo ponies that ever chased a ball." [58]

Bradley's purchased of Hamidie Society horses initially resulted in a rather limited breeding program, as would be expected with so few mares. He did breed some Hamidie foals, however. Probably beginning in 1906, a long-term business relationship developed between Davenport and Bradley with the result that Bradley's remaining Hamidie stock went to Davenport. It is unclear whether this was a purchase or a matter of partnership.

Bradley's influence on beginning Arabian breeding in America was extensive. In addition to preserving the Hamidie bloodlines (with the exception of *Nejdme I, the registered Hamidie Society lines passed through his ownership), he was financial sponsor of the Davenport importation of 1906, and he was active in promotion and breeding of the Davenport and Hamidie bloodlines in partnership with Davenport. He conducted one of America's historic Arabian breeding programs at his Hingham Stock Farm at Hingham, Massachusetts. He was the second president of the Arabian Horse Club of America and was represented on the board of directors of that club for years following his term of office by his farm manager, Martin Towle.

Homer Calvin Davenport (1867-1912): He was a political cartoonist whose interest in real Arabian horses began when he saw the Hamidie Society horses at the World's Columbian Exposition. By 1906, he writes that he owned all surviving such horses or representatives of their bloodlines. [59] In 1906, under the sponsorship of President Theodore Roosevelt and with the financial backing of Peter Bradley, he went to Arabia to make his own famous Davenport desert importation. Subsequently he imported valuable horses from England. Davenport was a major force in establishing the Arabian Horse Club of America.

Upon Davenport's death, most of his horses of Hamidie bloodlines returned to the ownership of Bradley where they continued to be bred at his Hingham Stock Farm. Hamidie Society female lines at both the Davenport and Bradley farms were bred almost exclusively to stallions of the Davenport desert importation after 1906.

Horsemen of the Fair: Along with horses, the Hamidie Society imported riders to exhibit them. They were advertised as wild bedouin of the desert. That may have been true of some of them, but several of those of whom we have pictures look a little too fat to have been desert warriors. One wonders whether they were as authentic as the horses.

Perhaps it was as well if they were not, as forty wild bedouin might have looted Chicago. Identified pictures of riders include "Mere Ali Harfush," described as a sheik of a small village near Baalbek, about thirty-five miles from Damascus, "Hallad Abdalah" described as "a petty Sheik of a small band of Bedouins inhabiting the hills near the ancient city of Damascus," "Prince Mere Hemcy" described as filling "the position of Sheik of the village of Mettauli, which lies near Mt. Lebanon... He is a fearless rider, and excited the admiration of all beholders by his feats of daring horsemanship at the Wild East Show..." [60] (The French-sounding "Mere" is probably a transliteration of "Amir.")

Such men probably lived on the edge between town and desert. That the desert culture was still a part of them is illustrated in Davenport's writing about an experience while at the Fair: "One day I went to the stalls in the Bedouin camp and made a sketch of a gray stallion they called Obeyran... I had stupidly drawn it while the horse was in his stall, with the tail hanging as an ordinary horse's tail would hang. The Bedouins recognized the picture, and most of them exclaimed 'Obeyran!' but in a moment there was a rumpus raised because the tail was carried low. One of them struck the picture with a sword and cut it in two, and another ripped at it, and finally it was knocked out of my hands and torn in pieces. The Lakelands (Davenport's companions) and myself were thrown bodily out of the enclosure." [61]

If some of the horsemen of the "Wild East Show" were a bit removed from the life of the bedouin raider, they nevertheless must have been good horsemen in the bedouin tradition to perform at fancy riding while handling the swords and long bedouin spears shown in their pictures.

J. R. Dolbony: It is very difficult to know how to place this man. He turns up as writer of some fascinating letters which found their way into Government files in connection with Federal recognition of the Arabian Horse Club when it was first trying to put out an official stud book. According to his letters, as well as some by Homer Davenport, Dolbony was with the Hamidie Society exhibition at the Fair. He writes that he had owned and even bred some of the horses in Syria before the Fair, giving pedigrees and considerable detail. Was he for real or another person spinning a good tale about Arabian horses? Intriguing question. The passenger list for the SS Cynthiana, upon which Hamidie Society personnel arrived in this country, shows a man named M. Dilbani, age 27, citizen of Turkey, native of Baalbek.

Hadji Hassan: He is described by Asdikian as an Anazeh who had become a horse detailer in which capacity he had been hired by the Hippodrome Company to purchase eleven horses for exhibition in America. Asdikian describes him as an old man and in association with the mare *Nejdme, whom he is described as riding and as possessing her pedigree. It is specifically stated that he purchased the mare. [62] This is probably the same person as the Hadje Memmed touchingly described in Ramsdell's brochure about *Nejdme as the person who raised Nejdme in Arabia, an old man, and her very devoted attendant.

Obviously both stories cannot be correct, and maybe neither is. No one by the name of either "Hadji Hassan" or "Hedji Memmed" appears on the passenger manifest of the SS Cynthiana on which the livestock and most of the personnel of the Hamidie Hippodrome Society came to America. However, the ship "Suevia" arrived on May 1, 1893, at New York City with over 800 passengers, including nine Syrians from Baghdad destined for Chicago. None could read or write. They were all male and were described as "artists," which together with destination and the fact that they were the only transients out of all the passengers, is a tip-off that they were headed for the Fair. One of them was 51 years of age. That is as old as any of the passengers on the SS Cynthiana. His name is given as "Hadj Mahomed." If he was the man of that name from the Hamidie Society, he had somehow gotten separated from his faithful steed, *Nejdme.

K. Haik: This man appears on the passenger list of the SS Cynthiana as a 24-year-old from Lebanon. No baggage indicated. The interesting question is whether he was the same Khalil Haik who subsequently participated in the 1906 Davenport importation, assisting in its Damascus phase.

Randolph Huntington (1828-c.1914): He was the first American to breed a horse registered with the Arabian Horse club (Anazeh 235, foaled 1890). It was a matter of pride with him that his breeding activities using Arabian stallions began in 1879, about the same time the Blunts began Crabbet, although there was the difference that Huntington's first decade was with part-Arabs. Nevertheless, Huntington felt that he was as senior a breeder of Arab blood as anyone in Western society.

Huntington was a born old-timer. He knew all the answers, and was intolerant of many things, including several other breeders of his time and practically all horses not owned by him. He called *Obeyran a "mongrel," *Shahwan an "anatolian and a failure," *Ras Aloula a "dunghill," Kars a "bull necked pony stud," *Linden Tree a "pure Barb," Mesaoud a "pony," *Shabaka a "mongrel mare," *Gouneiad a "dunghill." [63] He was not an admirer of the Hamidie Society horses, and may have been the person who started the story that they were tram horses from Damascus. (If he didn't like them, at least they were in good company.)

The tram horse and similar accusations were pretty well handled by two writers on the subject of the Hamidie Society horses. Davenport wrote that "as there were no trams in Damascus, the point was not very well taken." [64] Asdikian's commentary was "That the World's Fair Arabs were gathered in the desert there is not the least doubt or suspicion. This refers to all stallions and mares with the exception of two black studs which were purchased at or went to Bairut (sic) from Egypt... These horses by all odds ought to be considered as much entitled to consideration as any horses that ever came out of the Desert; furthermore, the descendants of these horses should receive the same treatment as those of others which have a place now in the stud books... The statement that they were tram horses from Damascus is too idiotic to deserve any notice from persons in the full possession of their mental faculties." [65]

Moderation of opinion was not among Huntington's gifts, especially in his later years. He was active in promoting his own horses and intolerant of most others. Off these subjects, he was often an insightful observer of events connected with the Arabian horse.

Huntington's Arab breeding developed into one of the most successful strain breeding programs of record, specializing in the production of the Mu'niqi strain. It is one of the tragedies of modern Arabian breeding that this breeding effort was not continued. In other breeding patterns, however, some of the lines descending from his horses have been among the most successful in America.

Part of Huntington's life-work with horses was the development of a cross between American trotters of the Clay bloodline and his Arabians. He hoped that this cross would become a national horse for America. From surviving pictures and catalogs, there is ample proof that beautiful horses were produced, but his dream was lost in the financial depression of 1893. He did not exhibit at the World's Fair, as he had planned, [66] and his horses of the Clay-Arabian cross were sold at receiver's auction in January of 1894, just a few days after the Hamidie Society horses went through the same process. His purebred breeding continued some years longer.

J. A. P. Ramsdell: An important founding Arabian breeder. He attended the Columbian Exposition, following which he purchased the Hamidie Society mare *Nejdme, later to be honored by receiving the first registration issued by the Arabian Horse Club of America. He was also noted as the importer from the Blunts of the stallion *Shahwan 241, who was the only Ali Pasha Sherif stallion ever to come to America.

F. F. Vidal: A clergyman, Reverend Vidal was one of the early English breeders of Arabians, along with the Blunts and Miss Dillon. He combined horse breeding and dealing with ministerial duties and furnished pure and part-bred breeding stock to Randolph Huntington and Spencer Borden. He judged the Arabians and Partbred Arabians at the World's Fair. Huntington noted that he had arranged for Vidal to do the judging. [67]

Duke of Veragua: Direct descendant of Christopher Columbus, the Duke of Veragua was naturally the Guest of Honor at the Columbian Exposition, and was present to open the Fair with President Grover Cleveland. [68] His family, including his fourteen-year-old son, also attended as honored guests of Chicago. [69] This boy, Don Cristobal Colon Aguilera, later inherited the title of Duke of Veragua, and somehow became so enamored of the Arabian horse that his collection of them forms a notable part of the gene pool of the Spanish Arabian horse today. He would likely have seen the Hamidie horses in Chicago as the family was paraded through the Fair. Perhaps the future Duke of Veragua and Homer Davenport both first felt the romantic pull of the bedouin horse at the unlikely venue of the Chicago World's Fair.

Continue to the third part of the article.