For the last several years, I’ve been working on a narrative history of canine celebrity in the late 19th century. As the project has moved along, I’ve centered the story on the “rivalry” between two train-riding dogs from Albany, NY: Owney and Railroad Jack.
Owney is still well-known. His body is preserved at the National Postal Museum and he has been the subject of children’s books, songs, and even his own stamp. Jack, on the other hand, had disappeared, both from historical memory and physically. In this book, I argue that both dogs are crucially important to our understanding of celebrity and pave the way for dogs like Rin Tin Tin or even Lassie decades later.
Since Jack has been long forgotten, it has been more difficult to answer some of the lingering questions about him. Most pressingly, what happened to his body after he was taxidermied in 1893? Where did he end up? This site is an attempt to crowdsource that answer.