O, FOR HISTORY: Scipio, the Wright dog

Happy adoption day to Scipio!

On March 10, 1917 Orville brought home a St. Bernard puppy he named Scipio. Orville’s father, Milton, wrote about Scipio in his diary that day: “Scipio came. He weighs 16 pounds. He is a St. Bernard dog. He is a good-looking puppy.”

[From National Pure Bred Dog Day] “Orville Wright bought his St. Bernard puppy from Nina Dodd’s White Star Kennels in Long Branch, New Jersey in 1917. He paid $75 for the dog which today, would be about $1400. He collected the dog he would name “Scipio” with his nephew, telling the boy only that they were going to the train station to meet “Mr. Bernard.” By then, his brother, Wilbur, had been dead for five years, having succumbed to typhoid fever.

We think it means something that so many pictures of “Scipio” were taken. There are photos of “Scipio” stretched out on a Persian rug, photos of “Scipio” frolicking among the hawthorn trees, photos of “Scipio” snoozing on a front porch, or riding in a canoe on Lake Huron. Even more revealing is that when Orville Wright died many decades after his beloved “Scipio,” there were pictures of the dog tucked in his wallet.

We think there’s another important aspect of these pictures. Breeders have done a fine job of preserving type.”

Images: Scipio also shown with Orville Wright, and his sister, Katharine Wright, at their Oakwood, Ohio, home, Hawthorn Hill, and at their Canadian retreat, Lambert Island.

About Wright Flyer Guy

Darin is a single adoptive father, a teacher, playwright, and musical theatre director from Kettering, Ohio.
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