DCHS Dows Collection

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In May of 2022, the Hudson River Heritage (HRH) Board voted for their Dows Collection to be relocated under the perpetual care and stewardship of the Dutchess County Historical Society.

The Dows Collection consists of thousands of photographs, decades of diaries, countless letters and books that had been given to HRH by Deborah Dows, the lifelong resident of Foxhollow Farm in Rhinebeck.

Deborah Dows, the daughter of Tracy Dows, and sister to the artist Olin Dows, founded what is active today as the Southlands Foundation, which is “dedicated to providing for and understanding of the environment and its creatures through outdoor recreational activities, particularly in the instruction of horsemanship, horse mastership and husbandry to people of all ages.”

The extraordinary insights we gain from the collection are from a family of obvious wealth and connections, evidenced by invitations to the White House or casual notes about Memorial Day lunch with FDR and his mother.

But the Dows family also lived a classic Rhinebeck life. The children are gathered on the roof of a car to watch the Dutchess County Fair performances. There are photographs of what would have been one of the earliest farm tractors powered by gasoline engine can be seen on the active Foxhollow Farm.

Deborah Dows died in 1994.  In 2010 HRH Board member David Byars studied the photographs and used them in a book that remains available to purchase, Our Time at Foxhollow Farm.

It is a pleasure, and of course a wonderful responsibility, to be stewards of the stories of this extraordinary family.

Album 002: 1906 to 1908

Album 003: 1908

Album 004: 1911

Album 005: 1912

Album 006: 1913 to 1914

Album 007: 1914 to 1915