About the author
Clarence Hawkes (1869–1954) was blinded at the age of 13 after a hunting accident; he had earlier had part of one leg amputated. He studied at the Perkins Institute in Boston, where he was a contemporary of Helen Keller. After trying several different ways of earning a living, he settled on poetry and lecturing. This was an uphill struggle, but he did eventually succeed in having a poem (How Massa Linkum Came) published by the Springfield Republican.
He married Bessie Bell in 1899. She was vital to his work; after a story about their collie was published, Hawkes began to write stories about the countryside he remembered, using Bessie to read him information on the animals and areas he wanted to research. Time magazine compared him to Kipling, saying: “For imparting personality to his animal characters, he is another Kipling, though without that writer’s fanciful propensity for endowing beasts with unscientific abilities”.
He wrote five horse books, and many other animal titles.
Finding the books
All of the books are reasonably easy to find, and, unless you want a pristine first edition, generally reasonably priced.
Links and sources
Terri A. Wear: Horse Stories, an Annotated Bibliography, Scarecrow Press, 1987
Biographical information, Time Magazine
James A Freeman: Clarence Hawkes: American’s Blind Naturalist and the World He lived In (White River Press, 2009)
Many thanks to Susan Bourgeau, Alison and Lisa Catz for all their help with this section.
Bibliography (horse books only)
Piebald, King of the Bronchos
George W Jacobs & Co, Philadelphia, 1912, 287 pp, illus Charles Copeland
Reprinted several times. The edition pictured dates from 1923.
Dapples of the Circus: the Story of a Shetland Pony and a boy
Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, Boston, 1923, 230 pp, illus L J Bridgman
A wide ranging story which starts in the Shetland isles with the pony Dapples. Dapples moves far away from Shetland, has a career in the Great American Circus.
Pal o’mine, King of the Turf
Milton Bradley, Springfield, Mass,1925, 228 pp, illus Charles Livingston Bull
An historical novel. Hero of the story, Halsey is recues his cousin Peggy from disaster, and he is given a chestnut colt called Pal o’mine as a reward. The horse is a fine present: he proves himself on the racetrack and goes ont o be a military horse in the Civil War.
Patches, a Wyoming Cow Pony
Milton Bradley, Springfield, Mass, 1928, 268 pp, illus Griswold Tyng
Larry’s uncle owns a ranch, and that’s where Larry is taught to ride. Everyone on the ranch needs a horse, and so Larry is given a pinto horse called Patches.
Roany, the Horse Who Smelled Smoke
Milton Bradley, Springfield, Mass, 1935, 251 pp, illus Griswold Tyng
Hal is 14, and has been given a roan colt for his birthday. Hal and his colt, Roany, have many adventures including serving in Cuba in the war, and serving as forest rangers in Montana as part of the National Forest Program.