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Category: FS – Frederick Smith Papers

These papers illustrate the career of Frederick Smith, covering his days as a student at the Royal Veterinary College (1873-1876), as a veterinary officer for the cavalry in India (1879-1885), as professor at the Army Veterinary School, Aldershot, and then returning to service, rising through the ranks during the Second Anglo-Boer War until joining the War Office during the First World War. Papers relating to this work include official correspondence, case notes, diaries and research data. Smith contributed a great deal of literature to the veterinary profession, with papers regularly published in journals from 1876 until the year of his death. The papers include research notes and data, extracts from other sources, drafts and proofs, and published copies of the articles.
Smith’s research and publications covered a broad scope, but there were particular interests in horse anatomy and physiology; stable hygiene and nutrition; saddlery; the loss of horses in war; and the eye and foot of the horse. Smith was also concerned with veterinary education and the reputation and status of the veterinary profession as a whole, and this is reflected in his correspondence with his peers.
There is very little information regarding Smith’s personal and family life within the collection. Some mention is made in Smith’s autobiography, but these papers are wholly concerned with Smith’s professional life and activities.

We currently have digitised parts of the correspondence series of this collection, they are available below. We will be adding to this periodically so follow us on social media or check this space again to find out what new content has been added. For more information on the Frederick Smith papers please click on the archive catalogue link at the bottom of this page.

Manuscript notes made by Smith, whilst a student at the Royal Veterinary College

This notebook contains manuscript notes and sketches made by Smith, during his study at the Royal Veterinary College in 1873 to 1874. The notes are about the eye and the foot of the horse.
Smith presented these notes to the library of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons…

Photographs of Smith’s laboratory at the Army Veterinary School, Aldershot

Photographs relating to the Army Veterinary School in Aldershot, including Smith’s laboratory and vaccine institute.

1 – Letter to Frederick Smith from Francis Galton, 27 Nov 1897

In this letter Galton writes that he is researching horses, and has looked at the records of the American Trotting Horse, which are currently quite inaccessible. He is writing to Smith to ask about measurement of horses,…

2 – Letter to Frederick Smith from Francis Galton, 1 Dec 1897

Galton writes to thank Smith for his help. He suggests amendments to the method of photographing horses for measurement. He asks Smith to send him samples of horse hair, in order to help him create an optical instrument to…

3 – Letter to Frederick Smith from Francis Galton, 7 Dec 1897

In this letter, Galton suggests alterations to the position of photographing horses for measurement. He also mentions sending Smith (dog?) whistles, and suggesting Smith trial them on cats and children. He writes about experiments with sound, including using a whistle whilst visiting the zoo to observe its effect on animals…

4 – Letter to Frederick Smith from Francis Galton, 15 Dec 1897

In this letter Galton asks Smith to let him know before he continues photographing and measuring horses, as he has simplified and improved his method. He also mentions that he is sending an enclosure to be read at the Royal Society. [This was not found at time of cataloguing]…

5 – Letter to Frederick Smith from Francis Galton, 5 Jan 1898

In this letter Galton writes with feedback for Smith’s draft paper ‘Relation between the Weight of a Horse and its Weight-carrying Power’. Galton suggests that if Smith wants to submit it to the Royal Society, it will need to be shorter. He also mentions that his own article ‘Measurements of Horses by Photography’ will soon appear in ‘Nature’,…

6 – Letter to Frederick Smith from Francis Galton, 7 Jan 1898

In this letter Galton sends Smith a copy of his article ‘Photographic Measurement of Horses and other animals’, which was published in ‘Nature’ 6 Jan 1898. The article is enclosed.

7 – Letter to Frederick Smith from Francis Galton, 13 Jan 1898

In this letter Galton thanks Smith, and returns his results from measurements. He comments on his method, and mentions learning from Captain Hayes about a possible improvement for measuring ‘fidgety’ horses…

8 – Letter to Frederick Smith from Francis Galton, 18 Jan 1898

In this letter Galton writes in response to Smith asking about the height of the brisket (chest) of the horse. He also writes about the suggestion from a friend that…