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Dairy Bovine Practitioner, circa 1932
Veterinary medicine has been informally practiced by individual livestock owners since the early days of our country. Some who were more successful gained notoriety for their skills and became known as practitioners or "animal doctors". As livestock became a source of income for many owners and their numbers grew, so grew the demand for educated practitioners. Private schools became the source for formal education and the first was the Veterinary College of Philadelphia in 1852. The first land grant college to open a veterinary school was Iowa State University in 1879. The United States Veterinary Medical Association was founded on June 9, 1863, in New York City. At a meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1898, the name was changed to the American Veterinary Medical Association as it is known today. The American Association of Bovine Practitioners was founded in 1965. As an international association of veterinarians, its mission is to increase the knowledge of the membership in the field of dairy and beef cattle.
Winthrop W. Chenery of Massachusetts bought a Holland cow from a Dutch ship in 1852. This Dutch Black Pied cow was an excellent milk producer and soon Chenery and other dairymen began importing Dutch cattle. An outbreak of foot and mouth disease eventually stopped exports from the Netherlands until 1906, when over seven thousand Dutch-Friesian cattle were imported to North America. Breeders soon developed their own type of Friesian, called the Holstein-Friesian. To distinguish between the North American breed and the European breed, in 1978, the American breed was officially changed to Holstein. Of the eleven plus breeds of registered dairy cattle in North America, the Holstein comprises approximately eighty percent.
The dairy depicted shows the milking and separation process of what may have been a typical farm of the 1930's. Anne Crawford in her original oil on canvas evokes memories of hard work and the satisfaction of accomplishment of times past.