THE BERESFORD CAT CLUB (1899)
The Beresford Cat Club of America, Inc. was organized in Chicago, Illinois, in 1899. The folowing year, the club held its first cat show in January, 1900, reportedly awarding 176 prizes3. According to Cats Magazine, "The Beresford Cat Club is the original organization upon which the Cat Fancy in America is built."1 The club survived despite political coups and insurrections, and in 1906 it formed the basic structure that became the American Cat Association.
Beresford was not the first organized club in North America, but it certainly was the fastest growing and became the most powerful. Earlier clubs included the American Cat Club, formed in 1896 in New York City, and the Chicago Cat Club created in January, 1899. Beresford Cat Club was named after Lady Marcus Beresford of England who had formed The Cat Club, a registering body, in 1898. It was through the guidance and help of Lady Beresford that a number of quality cats were imported from England to breeders in the Chicago area.
One of the greatest achievements of the Beresford Cat Club was their work to establish a registering body for pedigreed cats. In 1900, the club published the first Stud Book and Registry of The Beresford Cat Club, with registrations from July 1899 to July 1900.
A total of four volumes of the Beresford Cat Club studbook were published, with the final Volume IV including entries up until July 1905. The first entry in the registry is number 101, Lake-Shore Vashti, a blue Longhair female born March 11, 1899; the final entry is number 1039, for White Bunch, a white Longhair male born July 7, 1903.
Miss Lucy C. Johnstone was the registrar of the Beresford Cat Club, and she continued in that position with the newly organized American Cat Association.
While the Beresford Cat Club was considered to be a national club, the controlling executive remained with members within the Chicago area. The first club officers3 were:
President: Mrs. Clinton Locke
The Beresford Cat Club exists to this day, and remains an active member club of the American Cat Association. 4
Registers associated with this article include The Incorporated Cat Fanciers Association of Great Britain (TICFAGB), National Cat Club (NCC), The Cat Club (CCR), Beresford Cat Club (BCC), Feline Federation Francaise (FFF), Siamese Cat Registry (SCR), US Register & Studbook for Cats (USR)including Supplement(USRS), The Studbook of the American Cat Association (ACA), and the Studbook & Register of the Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA).
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