The Way We Were:
Excerpts from the 1960 CFA Yearbook, Part 5

BY KATHY DURDICK
Ristokat Himalayans & Persians

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History of the Siamese, Part 1
by Carlon Boren

The history of the Siamese would not be complete without reference to the different Siamese cat societies which were founded for this popular breed. THE SIAMESE CAT CLUB of England was founded in 1901. The secretary was Miss Derby-Hyde, and the treasurer was Mrs. Backhouse.

The first list of members was drawn up in 1902; the membership was then thirty-one, and included such names as Mr. Gambier Bolton, Lady Marcus Beresford, Miss Cochran, Mrs. Vyvyan and the Hon. Mrs. McLaren Morrison. In 1904, Mrs. Mary Robinson became secretary, which office she held until her death in 1923. The Club owes her a very real and deep debt of gratitude - for nineteen years she fought to keep going what was then a very little known variety of cat, and she carried on through the difficult years of the war. The first standard of points for the Royal Cat of Siam was drawn up by the Club in 1902.

In 1923, Major Woodiwiss was elected secretary, and in 1924 he inaugurated and carried out the first Siamese Cat Club Show. This show was the first championship show ever held by a specialist club in the cat fancy confined entirely to one breed, and was a great success. On April 30th, 1924, Major Woodiwiss published the first Siamese cat register, which was a list of all the registered Siamese cats in England, giving as far as was known their sires and dams, dates of birth, breeders and owners. In 1927 he published Volume II of the register. Succeeding volumes were published every three years. The Siamese Cat Club of England today is the largest specialist cat club in Europe, and probably in the world. It conducts its annual show in London.

In April, 1909, the SIAMESE CAT SOCIETY OF AMERICA was founded by Mrs. Gertrude E. Taylor of Syracuse, New York. Mrs. H. G. Dykhouse of Grand Rapids, Michigan was president and Mrs. Taylor was secretary-treasurer; Mrs. Clinton Locke of Chicago, honorary president. Both Mrs. Taylor and Mrs. Dykhouse had imported many cats from the Siamese breeders in England, and had corresponded a great deal with them. It was only natural, then, that they should pattern the Society here in America after the Siamese Cat Club of England. The Siamese Cat Society of America made very little progress and lay dormant as a cherished dream for several years. Eventually, in September 1913, a formal meeting at Syracuse, New York, was called by the president, Mrs. Dykhouse. The group voted to recruit new members and make an all-out effort to succeed. Unfortunately, little headway was made and Mrs. Dykhouse resigned as president.

In February, 1914, the second formal meeting was held at New York City, and Mrs. Clifford B. Hartman was elected to the presidency. It was at this meeting that the members voted to discard the English Siamese standard and adopted its own. Since 1914, the Siamese Cat Society of America, having rid itself of the doldrums, embarked on an active campaign which gradually and eventually earned for it the prominence it enjoys in the cat fancy to this date. In 1927, the Siamese Cat Society of America was formally accepted for membership by The Cat Fanciers Association, Incorporated. The Society submitted a schedule of points to apply to its first Specialty Show as follows: "If 5 of the breed present in the show, 1 point; if 8, 2 points; if 10, 3 points; if 15, 4 points; one extra point to be allowed for the Best of the breed, male and female, at all 3 point shows or better. This includes kittens and neuters." The first Siamese Specialty Show in America was held in Detroit, Michigan, on February 3-4, 1928, in conjunction with the Detroit Persian Society Show. Best Cat in the Siamese Specialty Show went to CH. (IMP.) Siamese Star Nee, owned and exhibited by a Mrs. Baldwin who obtained the cat from Mrs. Naatz.

In 1935, the Siamese Cat Society of America had grown to a membership of 60, with a good bank balance and a fine cup list. Fifty to sixty Siamese entries were not unusual in the Siamese specialty shows held in some parts of the country; particularly in the East. The Siamese Cat Society of America appointed a committee to write a new Siamese standard in 1944. The chairman of the committee was Mrs. Virginia Cobb; other members were Mrs. Virginia Gibson, Mrs. Helen Fairchild, Miss Elsa Wunderlich and the late Mr. Price Cross. After a great deal of correspondence, the new standard was completed and adopted by the committee. The Society, by a large majority vote of the membership, approved the new standard and then submitted it to The Cat Fanciers Association, Inc., for final adoption. The Board of Directors of CFA, seeking a standard with much less detail, altered the standard submitted by the Society. This failure to agree upon the wording of the revised Siamese standard resulted in a split in the membership, and, on February 7, 1945, the Siamese Society of America withdrew or was suspended from membership in the CFA. Thus, since 1945, the Siamese Cat Society of America, Inc., has operated independently and has sanctioned exhibitions in connection with shows sponsored by the CFA and the American Cat Association. The Society has a well-rounded cup list and any organization staging a show may request it by arrangement with the secretary of the Society.

In 1939, the SIAMESE CAT SOCIETY OF CALIFORNIA was organized and immediately applied for membership in the CFA. It was independent of the Siamese Cat Society of America and was devised as a means of building up interest among West Coast Siamese fanciers. The Siamese Cat Society of California withdrew from CFA affiliation in 1946 to become one of the foundation members of the United Cat Federation, Inc.

It was not until 1946 that the CFA, seeing the need for a national Siamese organization to stage specialty shows in connection with All-Breed events, organized the NATIONAL SIAMESE CAT CLUB. President was Miss Muriel Glenz; Mrs. Karl B. Norton, vice-president; Miss Lillian Goodwin, secretary. Honorary president was Mrs. Gertrude E. Taylor.


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