Plymouth Rock Breed Standard

Taken from the April 1908 issue of The Poultry Fancier about the Plymouth Rock Breed Standard being the first single breed standard.

Secretary Hallock of the American Poultry Association announces that the Plymouth Rocks will be given the first Breed Standard under the resolutions adopted at the Niagara Palls meeting last summer. He states that 124 local poultry associations sent in certified reports. Under the provisions of the resolutions the record was to consist of the entries at all shows in the United States and Canada, but more than half of them are not represented in the contest. We presume that it was impossible to get reports from the full number but in view of the small margin over the Wyandottes which the Plymouth Rocks received, there is a reasonable doubt as to whether or not the Wyandottes might be the winners if the results of the 350 or more shows were known.

Following is Mr. Hallock’s notice: “In an interesting contest conducted by the American Poultry Association, with the officials of 124 poultry shows sending in certified lists of the number of entries of each breed shown, at their respective shows, for which the regular entry fee has been paid, the Plymouth Rocks win over the Wyandottes by 2194 entries, and will be entitled to the first separate Breed Standard to be issued by the American Poultry Association in accordance with resolutions adopted at the meeting at Niagara Falls last August.

Below is a detailed report of the total entries of each breed at the shows reporting:

Plymouth Rocks 14,514
Wyandottes 12,320
Leghorns 8,740
Rhode Island Reds 5,812
Orpingtons 2,857
Langshans 2,153
Minorcas 1,709
Cochin Bantams 1,590
Games 1,277
Brahmas 1,181
Cochins 1,010
Hamburgs 758
Game Bantams 637
Polish 618
Houdans 538
Indians 538
Anconas 464
Sebright Bantams 423
Andalusians 311
Rose Comb Bantams 144
Javas 117
Japanese Bantams 115
Dorkings 105
Brahma Bantams 104
Buckeyes 95
Silkies 85
Spanish 83
Redcaps 71
Sumatras 41
Polish Bantams 37
Sultans 18
Malays 12
Frizzles 7
La Fleche 7
Dominiques 5
Booted Bantams 4
Malay Bantams 3
Crevecoeurs 3

plymouth rock breed standardThe Resolutions adopted by the American Poultry Association and proposed by Mr. Grant M. Curtis are in part as follows:

First, that this Association undertake the publication of separate breed Standards, i.e., of separately bound Standards of Perfection for the Plymouth Rocks, the Wyandottes, the Leghorns, etc., beginning with the breed that is most popular in the United States and Canada at the present time, and taking up other breeds one at a time, in the order of their popularity.

Second, that each of these Standards shall be complete in itself as regards everything the purchaser and user should receive in the form of a standard for determining the individual and comparative merits of Standard fowl, including an appropriate introduction telling the origin and work of the American Poultry Association and citing the history of the breed and of each variety thereof, containing a nomenclature fowl and a suitable glossary, which shall define the technical terms used in the text of the book, an official score-card, a list of the general disqualifications applicable to the breed, a list of special defects, with prescribed discounts, the usual instructions to judges, so far as they apply to the breed, also quite full general remarks treating of breed characteristics and the beauty and utility values of the varieties of the breed.

Third, that each of these breed Standards shall be illustrated in black and white, to the best advantage, and shall also contain illustrations showing the natural or standard colors and shades of color of the different varieties of the breed. These colored illustrations to consist, so far as may be found practicable, of separate pictures as nearly ideal as possible, both in shape and color, of a standard shaped male and female of each variety, said pictures to be shown in full profile, and in the event that it is not found practicable or satisfactory to show the complete specimens in color, then sample feathers will be shown, and should these be found impracticable, then patches of color illustrating the correct shades, as per Standard requirements, shall be used.

Fourth, that each of these breed Standards, which treat of the so-called utility or semi-utility varieties, shall contain text and illustrations descriptive of the standard size, standard shape and the standard color for eggs laid by the breed and the varieties thereof; also text and illustrations descriptive of standard requirements, as regards shape, color of skin, etc., for dressed specimens, together with sample forms of score-cards to be used in judging eggs and dressed fowl of the breed and of each variety thereof.

Fifth, that the method of deciding on the breed or breeds shall be as follows: The secretaries of all poultry shows held in the United States and Canada, between the dates October 31, 1907, and March 1, 1908, shall be invited by the secretary-treasurer of the American Poultry Association to furnish him, in his official capacity, a certified list of the number of entries of each breed shown at the respective exhibitions for which the regular entry fee shall have been paid, and on April 1, 1908, these lists shall be gotten up and the breed that was exhibited in the largest number, at the shows thus reported on, all standard varieties of each breed to count, shall be supplied first in order with a separate breed Standard as herein outlined and ordered; and that during the winter show season of 1908-1909 the same method shall be followed in deciding upon the popularity of the second breed to be supplied with a second Standard, and so on year by year until such number of breeds have been supplied as may be deemed advisable by this Association. Said separate Standards not to be undertaken at a rate of more than one each year.identifying healthy chicksIt is much to be hoped that the long-desired and much-needed separate Breed Standards now being prepared for publication by the American Poultry Association will be completed with all possible speed consistent with correct ‘information and sound advice. So far as the text is concerned and with truly high-class work on the part of the two well-known artists, Mr. Sewell and Mr. Schilling. This committee is made up of exceptionally capable people and they have at their command writers of knowledge and ability, also delineators of standard fowl whose work for years has enjoyed top-notch approval the world over. Interested readers of the report herewith should bear in mind that nothing really equal to these A. P. A. Separate Breed Standards was ever before undertaken, either as a private business enterprise or by an organization, hence we need to be patient. On the other hand, these books are in urgent demand for successful use, also as a source of revenue to the association, therefore no time ought to be wasted in their completion, and cordial help in every reasonable form should be extended to the members of the committee and their associates by all interested persons.

On the opposite page is a group of down-to-date photographic reproductions, showing the nine men on whom the fancier-breeders of standard fowl in the United States and Canada now are depending for the Separate Breed Standards devoted to the Plymouth Rock Breed Standard and Wyandottes Breeds Standard, as same are being prepared by the American Poultry Association. Here we have a group of fine-looking men that are truly representative the poultry industry of English-speaking North America, especially the standard-bred branch thereof. One would have to look much farther to find a better looking lot of men.

Editor of Reliable Poultry Journal, Monday, July 2nd, spent part of the day with E. E. Richards, president of the American Poultry Association and chairman of the committee on Separate Breed Standards. Naturally we asked about the progress made in this important work and Mr. Richards answered all questions frankly. Not as good speed has been made as Mr. Richards would like, but he feels that real progress now is being achieved, not alone by the men who are preparing the reading matter, but also by the artists.

As chairman of the Separate Breed Standards. Mr. Richards, from the first, has taken a keen interest in the work. He is a lover of books and owns probably the best or most complete poultry library in the United States. For years he has been collecting poultry books, pamphlets, bulletins, etc., of every kind and description, also color prints, pen and ink sketches, reprints, autograph letters, etc. A man of this type should be well suited to act as chairman of a committee that is entrusted with the important work of getting out these Separate Breed Standards.

As many of our readers know, Mr. Richards for about a quarter of a century has been editor and publisher of the Western Poultry Journal, Cedar Rapids, Iowa; therefore he is an editor of experience and ability. Two years ago if it had not been for his temporary illness, he would have been elected mayor of his home town. He had to refuse the nomination, but the fact that he was the choice of the dominant party, indicates high standing in his community.

It has been President Richards’ chief ambition to get out these Separate Breed Standards and have them highly creditable. From the first he has been active in the work and he deserves the sincere and hearty co-operation of all interested persons in his desire to have these Breed Standards prove to be a monument to his administration. On that basis all should help him to the limit of their ability.

plymouth rock breed standardOther members of the original committee on Separate Breed Standards, as shown on the opposite page, are Arthur C. Smith. St. Paul, Minn., and W. S. Russell. Oakland, Calif. Other original members of the committee consisted of W. R. Graham, Guelph. Ont., Canada, and editor of Reliable Poultry Journal. Serving in their places are T. F. McGrew, Scranton, Pa., and H. A. Nourse, St. Paul, Minn.

Mr. Smith and Mr. Russell are well known experts on Plymouth Rocks. This includes that difficult and popular variety, the Barred Plymouth Rocks. Mr. Smith is preparing the bulk of the copy for the Plymouth Rock breed standard. His writings are submitted to other members of the committee, including Mr. Richards, for suggestions, additions. etc.

Mr. Smith occupies the front rank among the best posted men in the country on Plymouth Rock shape, all varieties, and on the breeding of the Barred variety. Moreover, he is a licensed A. P. A. judge. For years Mr. Russell has been recognized, especially in the central-west, as a highly competent Judge of Plymouth Rocks, notably the Barred variety. For years he bred this variety with success. He also is a licensed judge.

Mr. McGrew and Mr. Nourse are widely known to the poultry fraternity of the United States and Canada. Mr. Nourse is editor of the Poultry Herald, St. Paul, Minn, a position he has held with credit during eight to ten years. He is well educated and before he took up poultry work and poultry writing, was admitted to the bar as a lawyer. He is a clear-headed poultry writer, likewise a breeder of long experience. At one time he was located at Barre, Mass, where he bred White Plymouth Rocks successfully and later he was manager of the poultry department of Fisher’s Island Farm, one of the big institutions in this line ten to fifteen years ago.

Mr. McGrew is a distinguished member of the old guard, so to speak. He was breeding Cochins, notably the Buff variety, before most of us wore long trousers. For thirty to forty years he has been a student of poultry culture, also a prolific writer on standard-bred and practical subjects. During the last seven or eight years he has been prominently identified with the International Correspondence Schools, Scranton, Pa., as dean of the poultry department and author of numerous books on poultry subjects. Mr. McGrew is to take the place of Professor Graham in the preparation of the utility sections of the two Separate Breed Standards now in preparation.

A year or more ago, J. H. Drevenstedt, Schenectady, N. Y., then living in Buffalo, was engaged to prepare the bulk of the copy for the Wyandotte A. P. A. Breed Book. He has put in a good deal of time at this work and is believed to be the foremost competent man in the country to render such service. For twenty five years or more he has been recognized as the best Wyandotte judge in the country, all varieties, and during most of this time he has specialized on the Wyandottes as a writer. He is editor of the Wyandotte book published by Reliable Poultry Journal, thousands of which have been sold. Mr. Drevenstedt is both an original thinker and a hard worker. No better man could have been selected to prepare copy for the Wyandotte Breed Book. Frank L. Platt. Swanton, Ohio, is now editor-in-chief of the two separate Breed Standards. He was employed by President Richards for this work, with the full concurrence of other members of the committee. For several months he has been “hard at it” and may he decided to give up all other poultry writings, thus placing himself in a position to devote his undivided time and energies to duties in connection with the Breed Standards committee. This included writing the Western News Notes and Comment for Reliable Poultry Journal. He also cancelled half a dozen or more judging engagements he had made. Only one poultry show is to be judged by Mr. Platt this coming season, namely, Washington. D. C.

Mr. Platt’s versatility as a poultry writer is well known to long-time readers of Reliable Poultry Journal. He is an original thinker, does not hesitate to write what he believes and President Richards informed us that Mr. Platt’s writings for the Breed Standards, so far as they have been submitted to him, are “full of the fanciers’ spirit” and will not only prove helpful and encouraging to readers of these Breed Books, but they “also contain much valuable thought.The two artists, Mr. Sewell and Mr. Schilling, are now putting in practically all of their time for the Separate Breed Standard committee. As is known to most of our readers, Mr. Sewell is doing the art work for the Plymouth Rock Breed Standard, while Mr. Schilling is performing the same service for the Wyandotte Standard. They are co-operating so far as an exchange of photographs, ideas and suggestions is concerned, but each is in full charge of the art work for the breed standard assigned to him, and naturally each will do his level best first, because they are built that way, second, because they love the work and appreciate the honor of being called on to illustrate these A. P. A. Breed Standards.

silver penciled plymouth rock
Photo courtesy of Murray McMurray Hatchery

Speaking of the work of the two artists, President Richards, at the time of our interview, July 2nd, said:

“The work that these men are doing for the Separate Breed Standards is truly magnificent. It really is the best work I have ever seen in behalf of standard-bred fowl. The pictures alone make these books worth $10.00 each to every true fancier, or dead-in-earnest breeder of standard fowl. They tell a story in themselves—a story that never before has been brought out in this manner, at least not to the same extent or in the same remarkable detail. As a collector of poultry’ books, poultry pictures, etc., I would give $160.00 for reproductions of pictures like these, just to keep them. As for breeders who mean business, they would be foolish to try to get along without information that is so plainly conveyed in these numerous reproductions of feathers in these numerous fowl of historic value, in the standard ideals, etc.”

It so happens that during last month editor of Reliable Poultry Journal saw both of the artists here mentioned and thus could interview them regarding the progress of their work for the Breed Standards, specifically the Plymouth Rock Breed Standard. Arrangements have been made so that Mr. Sewell and Mr. Schilling can give to this work practically all of their time up to the beginning of the 1917-1918 winter show season. This will be true of Mr. Schilling, with the exception of perhaps two or three weeks. In both cases an allowance needs to be made for vacation time.

Whether or not the artists can complete their work by December 1st to 15th, will depend on the success the committee has in securing additional specimen feathers, also on whether or not the artists are to make one or two further trips to secure feathers by personal selection. Delays have occurred in getting the necessary feathers. It is hoped that this condition can soon be remedied.

That these Separate Breed Standards, when published, will be worth far more than it is proposed to charge for them. Goes without saying, the pictures alone, as President Richards has stated, will far exceed in value the nominal sum of $2.00 per copy that is to be charged, retail, for each of the two Breed Standards (Plymouth Rock Breed Standard and Wyandotte Breed Standard). Accompanying the pictures will be extensive foot-notes written by the artists and edited by the committee, explaining the shape outlines, feather patterns, etc., and indicating the values represented.

As to when these Standards — Plymouth Rock Breed Standard and Wyandotte Breed Standard—will be ready for the public, we are not prepared to say. It is hoped that they can be placed on sale by next mid-winter in time for use of purchasers in mating their fowls for the breeding season of 1918. In order to do this, no time is to be lost and there will have to be energetic planning and hearty cooperation on the part of the committee. With the president of the association acting as chairman of the committee, the necessary speed should be forthcoming, especially so as Mr. Richards is strongly favorable to an early completion of this important work and wishes to make the publication of these Breed Standards one of the big achievements of his three-term administration. No doubt when these books are placed on the market the revenues of the organization will be much increased. A large amount of money has been put into this work and the sooner proper returns are obtained the better it will be for the organization, also for the industry at large.

Present Workers on the APA Separate Breed Standards Devoted to Plymouth Rocks and Wyandottes

  1. E.E. Richards, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, president of the American Poultry Association and chairman of the Standing Committee on Standard, which now has charge of these Separate Breed Standards.
  2. Arthur C. Smith, St.Paul, Minnesota, licensed A. P. A. general judge of poultry and instructor of poultry culture at the University of Minnesota, Department of Agriculture, also an expert breeder of Barred Plymouth Rocks.
  3. W. S. Russell, Oakland, Calif., licensed A. P. A. general judge and long-time breeder of Barred Plymouth Rocks.
  4. Thos. F. McGrew, Scranton, Pa., licensed A. P. A. general judge, dean of the poultry faculty of the International Correspondence Schools, and life-long student of poultry culture.
  5. Harold A. Nourse, St. Paul, Minn licensed A. P. A. general judge and expert breeder of Plymouth Rocks.
  6. J. H. Drevenstedt, Schenectady, N. Y., general judge of poultry, specializing for many years on the Wyandottes and recognized as the best authority on Wyandottes now living, domestic or foreign, also writer of long experience and exceptional ability.
  7. Frank L. Platt, Swanton, Ohio, licensed A. P. A. general judge, editor-in-chief of the two Separate Breed Standards, an original writer on poultry topics and a student of poultry culture.
  8. Franklane L. Sewell, poultry artist, the surviving member of the world’s three greatest poultry artists—Harrison and Ludlow of England, deceased, and “Frank Sewell” of Niles, Mich.
  9. Arthur O. Schilling, Buffalo, N.Y.. second only to F. L. Sewell in the world today as an all-around poultry artist and without a superior as a photographer of standard-bred fowl.

Arthur C. Smith is producing much of the copy for the Plymouth Rock Breed Standard, while Mr. Drevenstedt is performing the same service for the Wyandotte standard. Mr. Sewell is illustrating the Plymouth Rock Breed Standard and Mr. Schilling the Wyandotte book. Here we have an exceptionally strong committee and it is certain that their work will be high-class and truly valuable.